I can save you a lot of time tonight, when the President will deliver his State of the Union Address. The entire affair is completely predictable.
First, the President will tell us that the State of the Union is strong. He will then go on to address its points of weakness: jobs, immigration, education, voting, and guns. He will offer practical strategies for addressing all of these, and he will go out of his way to do so in a manner that studiously avoids offending anyone.
Next, the GOP will tell us that the President is a socialist who represents the worst of “big government” intrusion into our private lives. His economic plan will hurt small businesses. His immigration policy amounts to nothing more than a free ride for illegals on the backs of hard-working Americans. He’s taken God out of the classroom – which explains both poor test scores and school shootings. He’s coming to take your guns away and his wife wants to outlaw corn syrup.
Then they will go home to their districts, where they will proceed to manipulate the democratic process to a state of near-inversion wherein one man has $1 billion votes and most of us have none. Their gerrymandering at the state level will give sparsely populated white Republican districts each their very own representative, while starving the more densely populated urban districts down to just a few. They will change the way their states vote to eliminate the possibility of Democratic victory.
They will continue their prodding – literally – of women along The Handmaid’s Tale path toward losing all reproductive autonomy. They will work to overturn Roe v. Wade, to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, to revive Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and to constitutionally prohibit gay marriage. They will scale the clock tower and turn the hands of time back at least half a century, and they will do it all while proclaiming themselves to be “the party of small government.”
An unwilling coalition of Ayn Rand capitalists and Christian fundamentalists, they are the New Theocracy. The only thing small about them is their minds.
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. — The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, ratified 1791
They might have been smart men, those Founding Fathers, but they sure used some poor grammar. The sentence above is clearly lacking an initial preposition; something like Since would have been helpful. As a teacher, my inclination is to try to correct what’s wrong here:
Since a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
There. That’s better.
Now how about a little context? When this amendment was ratified in 1791, it had been less than ten years since the American Revolution and the fact of an English invasion at a time when an American military did not yet exist. There was nothing to be done but join the local militia to fight the British. There was no Army. There was, at the time, not yet The United States. There were independent entities (the colonies) in collaborative revolution against the same colonial power. They needed their guns, crappy as they were.
There is no threat of this occurring again in America.
We need not worry about invasion. No one wants to colonize us. We all know the threats are technological and economic; it’s not about land these days.
We have a nationalized military. If you want to defend your country, you can join it. They’ll give you a gun.
We have local law enforcement authorities. If you want to participate, you can join them. They’ll give you a gun.
The second amendment assumes a situation where a land invasion will compel individual Americans to grab their guns and run out into the streets to defend their lives and their land. At present, this is a highly unlikely scenario.
It cannot be used as a rationale for justifying the carnage that modern weapons have unleashed in our society. It is senseless and ignorant to pretend otherwise. The guns themselves have become several times more lethal.
If you want to argue that the Founders were genius enough to write standards that could be applied forever, I can counter-argue that they were actually genius enough to be so specific as to state exactly what the arms could be used for. The militia, obviously.
Perhaps they did foresee the future. They just never imagined we’d be so ignorant of the past.