In today’s conversations about guns and government, one idea is especially absurd. It’s the idea that the U.S. government — or any government, past or present, on the planet — supports a right to overthrow itself through armed revolution.
Abstractly, everyone can agree there is a right to revolution — in other places and times. But no government will ever voluntarily put the means of its destruction in the hands of those it governs.
All of us love freedom. Women, men, people of all races. Yet right now, thousands, perhaps even millions, of U.S. citizens, mostly white men, not only claim the legal right to arm themselves beyond any self-defense need, but even to overthrow the government, because of their thirst for freedom. Those men are disorganized, have no clear program, and are following the lead of elected officials who will never be revolutionaries. (Of course this does not describe “all white men.” There are white male liberals, radicals, and even white race traitors, as I aspire to be.)
In the last century, U.S. citizens who are not white men have fought successfully to gain dignity and standing — darker-skinned people, women, people with disabilities, sexual minorities, non-Christians, and others. In the process of these struggles, most white men have also gained more dignity and standing as democracy and human rights expanded. But many of us still crave the old advantages we had back in the day. And that makes some of us subject to manipulation into an incoherent armed force — a force that will never make revolution, but does intimidate its neighbors.
Who’s doing the manipulating? It’s the super-rich, trying to stay on track to squeeze our planet’s fossil fuel wealth dry at any cost, using corporate media and sophisticated messaging.
Jeff Davis, to defend massive wealth in human flesh, needed men in gray, so he told a thrilling set of lies. Today, our corporate rulers lie to everyone, persuading one group that the other group are kooky rightwing gunmen, and persuading the others that the rest of us are sleazy and immoral. All of us are told only our designated hero politicians can save us from The Evil Other.
Far too many on all sides look at real people and see fake news stereotypes. And when we are treated as stereotypes, we each just get angrier.
We white men need to adjust ourselves to the independence of women, to the full humanity of all ethnicities, to respect for gender and sexual minorities. This is taking way too long. But I don’t believe confused armed white men are my real enemy, especially when billions are spent to promote confusion.
The enemy are who manipulate them — and also manipulating liberals with fables about Russia and about spy agencies being their friends. The super-rich are protecting the power their stunning wealth gives them. They know that if enough of us actually see “the man behind the curtain,” we might go on to finish the long struggle of democracy and turn to working together to heal our world.