“He’s not who you think he is,” said my father upon learning that I had given my support to Bill Clinton for his first term.
At the time my father and I had what you might call an adversarial relationship – which means that it was always a classic clash of two opinionated males, neither of whom would give an ideological inch. I didn’t support Gulf War I, and I found Rush Limbaugh (Dad’s favorite radio program) to be devoid of subtlety and deep thought. I mean… “dittoheads?” This betrayed a lack of individual thought, in my mind. Being chest-deep in design college, I was also being steeped in full bore socialist rhetoric too… though it was never revealed as such, and frankly I didn’t know at the time that my professors were working on my head.
So Dad’s a dittohead and we have GHWB, a whiny, uninspiring man and a spook at that, running the country. Clinton sounded great at the time. Articulate, charming, thoughtful, Southern, and on a campaign stop I had a chance to have a short conversation with the guy, even. Sounded like change we could use. (Sound familiar?)
I distinctly remember, of all things, that Clinton made a big deal on the campaign trail about the Haitian refugee situation at the time. He would help the poor Haitians. Then he was elected, and one of the very first things he did was to NOT help the poor Haitians.
Now, I might have been lib-rul and wet behind the ears and stubborn besides (an awful combination, looking back) but I knew a LIE when I saw one and I wasn’t behind ol’ Dollar Billy because I thought he was a liar. But there it was, bold as ever… a flat-out lie. This gave me pause.
“He’s not who you think he is.”
To be perfectly honest, I was too busy with my own problems, right around the time of the Clinton Omnibus Crime and For The Children bill (aka the Assault Weapons Ban) to even know that was happening. My live-in girlfriend was killed in a freak highway accident, and I was young and completely enveloped with grief. That year is a dark blur to me.
However, time marched on and yet again Dollar Billy was shown to be a big fat liar, this time with perjury, no less. The Clinton charm had long since left the building and I was rebuilding my own life and my own brain, and I was taking none of my old assumptions for granted anymore. I no longer trusted my “programming” and I was on an extremely serious journey of self-examination and rebuilding.
“He’s not who you think he is.”
In my youth I had been sent off to summer camp a time or three, and as my parents were always dead broke, I went during the “discount week” which meant I shared the cabin with the Lumbee Indians. These Lumbee kids were given a free week of camp by the generous organization who owned the campgrounds. The Lumbee kids were notoriously rowdy and profoundly poor, so the camp tried hard to get other kids in there with them as a normalizing factor. So it was that I learned to shoot rifles with the wild Injuns – and not a bad shot was I, typically winning the camp match every year.
In 2000 or so I realized that, lib-rul that I was, I really enjoyed shooting. It was a positive part of my life, something I wanted to re-integrate into the “new me” that I found in the mirror all the time.
I’m not who I thought I was.
So I popped down to a local gun store and was dropped into the usual “gun store culture.” The old crotchety know-it-all owner, the gorgeous young girl working behind the counter with a Kimber on her hip, the mildly paranoid talk at the counter – it was all brandy new to me then. Now, had Dollar Billy been who he said he was, and hadn’t been a slick globalist and not-so-slick liar, this may not have ever happened. I may never have walked into that store and bought my first rifle. But he wasn’t who I thought he was, and I had come to reclaim my shooting heritage.
I paid maybe $250 for an SAR-1. It was cheap and fun and so was the ammo. It was a serious, martial-looking thing and the wood was actually reasonably nice (those of you buying SAR-1s now may not believe it but those first ones weren’t furnished in the raggedy crap available now.) I really dug the thing. It was my first rifle – not a borrowed camp gun. Mine all mine.
And boy oh boy did my lib-rul friends NOT like it. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I had an “instrument of death.” I had a bona fide misery machine, killer of Sudanese babies, oppressor of peoples, weapon of war, you name it. BOY did I hear it from my “friends” at the time.
But you see, I knew better. I knew that the metal and wood I owned was subservient to my will, just like the single-shot .22 rifle I had at camp was. Just like the Smith pistol my Mom had – the one her Democrat political figure father had given her in 1969, that she has to this day. Just like the .45 my Dad had.
I was not who my friends thought I was.
I made new friends. Gun friendlies. People who understood what I learned as a kid.
Not one gunny, by the way, gave me a big load of garbage for being a gun owner, and also voting for Bill Clinton that first time. I was free to make the transition and learn reality with a rifle in my hand, and the hyperbolic protestations of the lib-ruls in my ears. In my eyes, the American Liberal had now fully made the transformation to ungrounded rhetoric spewers – rhetoric now aimed at me; rhetoric I knew to be wholly untrue through my old and new experiences as a rifleman.
Rifle in hand, the scales had fallen from my eyes, the high-sounding rhetoric of the left had all been lies, and here I stood a transformed man; a Rifleman.
Now we have a new generation of people, steeped in the rhetoric of socialist programming, still in the (rapidly decaying, I’ll wager) honeymoon period of a slick politician.
It is my opinion that we should allow these Change lovin’ folks access to our range time and encourage them to shoot with us, learn from us, and grasp the truth after they grasp the weapon – that the hardware has no will of its own, but that of the user. I sincerely believe that if we can tamp down our MORE than righteous anger over the destruction that the current administration is sowing (and… my god, is that ever hard to do) we can get more people to realize the real truth by experiencing unadulterated liberty at the range. It is too compelling and transformative an experience not to share.
After all… your humble author was once where the Change merchants are now.
He’s not who they think he is.