Patriotism is back.
Just think, it wasn't long ago that many of our young adults were still rejecting the so-called hypocrisy and sterile materialism of America. They had been taught by guilt-ridden academics to believe that nearly all of the world's troubles (everything from the infant mortality rate in the third world to every war on every part of the planet) was somehow the result of conspiracies between this nation's major corporations and our government.
Well, America's young and not so young adults have grown tired of this false guilt trip. They have taken a fresh new look at the world and realized that the United States is not the sinister evil empire that they were led to believe. In fact, many of these Americans are discovering for the first time that we are a pretty decent people and that our positive influence on the world community has far outweighed any negative.
However, while many of our fellow citizens have had to rediscover their patriotism, there is one group that seems to have never lost it and that group is America's gun owners. It appears that gun owners and hunters, in general, are among the most patriotic citizens around. In the not too distant past when the patriotism of the average person was dragging, one could usually find some relief by visiting the local gun club, firing range or hunting association. I'm not entirely sure as to why hunters and those involved in the shooting sports are always so bullish on America, but I can venture what I believe is a good guess. Firearms, in addition to being tools of self-defense and sport, are also symbols. They symbolize self-reliance, independence, individualism, and because of the way that our country had to fight for its freedom, they literally represent liberty in its most basic context. Therefore, those citizens among us who maintain a steadfast devotion to those fundamental virtues responsible for the creation of the greatest bastion of individual liberty in the history of civilization are going to be attracted to anything that symbolizes those virtues.
On the other hand, this concept of guns, as symbols, seems to also explain why so many liberal anti-gunners believe as they do. The basic principles that the true liberal mind embraces are nearly the polar opposites of the fundamental American virtues mentioned in the preceding paragraph. The liberal does not believe in self-reliance; he instead would rather have the population always looking to the government for support and solutions. Independence is also something that the liberal mentality cannot tolerate, because by definition being independent means being free to choose. Since the liberal elite always know what is best for us, they have never been hesitant to push for legislation that will narrow our choices down to only those that are consistent with the liberal's prevailing social agenda. The remaining fundamental American virtue of individualism is particularly repugnant to the orthodox liberal.
To the liberal, there is no longer any such thing as an individual, and consequently, no such thing as individual freedom. The liberal can only recognize so-called group rights. To the elitist mind, there is no such thing as a particular man, there are only men, and likewise no such thing as a particular woman, only women. A nation of individuals cannot be tightly controlled. But, in a society where people are dealt with only on the basis of some type of group identification (sex, race, national origin, etc.), it becomes much easier for social engineers to control the future.
As you can see, firearms symbolize the very things that stand between this country's liberal elite and the absolute power that they long for. So, of course, they hate guns and this is why the cry for more gun control comes almost entirely out of the mouths of liberal politicians, bureaucrats and academics.
This current wave of patriotism, however, represents more to gun owners than just simply a refreshing reaffirmation of America's greatness. America's firearms fraternity must realize that this positive climate is also an opportunity to be taken advantage of, because support for more gun control usually drops sharply during periods of heightened patriotism. Now is the time to take the offensive and undo the damage that the anti-gunners have inflicted upon us during more psychologically depressed periods. Because overt patriotism so adversely affects their cause, you can expect the gun control crowd to denounce it with the same fanatic fervor that compels them to want to take away our guns. Liberals in general are also counterattacking against what they see as a popular repudiation of their "enlightened" social agenda.
Evidence of this liberal counterattack can be seen and heard as it is now flowing freely from the media. This country's elite, and of course, predominantly liberal journalists are committed to raining on your patriotic parade. For example, did you enjoy watching the Olympic Games in Los Angeles? Did it feel good to see American athletes win all of those medals? Did you feel proud, perhaps even patriotic, as a result? Well, if your love of country did get a shot in the arm because of America's victories in the Olympics, you really should now be ashamed of yourself! That's right; according to a Mr. James L. Huffman, such feelings of chauvinism are unworthy of us. Who is this Mr. Huffman? Why, he is an associate professor of history at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.
Mr. Huffman recently returned to the United States after spending a year in Tokyo. It appears that Mr. Huffman, upon his return, was appalled to find Americans indulging in a newfound patriotism. This academic was apparently so upset that he felt compelled to scold us for our childish behavior. Mr. Huffman made his dissatisfaction known in an editorial that appeared in the Houston Chronicle on September 7th, 1984, on page 21 of section 1. The following quotes are from Mr. Huffman's editorial. "On returning to the United States after a year's absence, I am troubled by the unabashed, unreflective, zesty--yet somehow childish and insecure--style of patriotism that seems to abound these days."
After giving us a couple of examples of how our childish patriotism can lead to evil deeds, this self-appointed national conscience from the ivory tower goes on to say the following. "All of this is dangerous in a world grown interdependent. And it is unworthy of a nation that claims great power status . . . Narrow-minded, self-seeking patriotism or chauvinism will undermine a nation, leading it into actions that alienate and embitter others . . ." Mr. Huffman seems to assume that when Americans let go and unashamedly express feelings of unqualified exuberance about the good old U.S.A., they are incapable of simulatenously caring about the problems that plague the rest of the world. Based on his editorial, he like so many other academics appears to believe that the only thing that can follow a period of flag waving is evil.
All that I could find in Mr. Huffman's diatribe is an academic's righteous indignation, because the thing that was really waiting for him upon his return to this country was the American people finally freeing themselves from the guilt-ridden influences of the liberal elitists and their cohorts in the media. Whether he realizes it or not, I believe it is this loss of influence that has upset Mr. Huffman so much, not the refreshing rebirth of genuine patriotism.
Make no mistake about it, the anti-gunners and liberals (usually one and the same) are not going to take this current wave of patriotism lying down. They will and are fighting back by attacking anything that stimulates the growth of national pride.
The summer of 1984 will probably be remembered by many as the time when this country's growing patriotic sentiments finally pulled together into one unified expression. I will always remember last summer for the three things that I believe were primarily responsible for causing the majority of Americans to again unite behind the flag. The three things that I am referring to are the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the candidacy of President Reagan, and finally, the highly successful pro-gun and pro-America movie Red Dawn. I know that these three things were important in helping to coalesce today's wave of patriotism because of the vicious attacks brought against them by the liberal elements in our society.
Everyone seems to agree (myself included) that the ABC television network did an excellent technical job of broadcasting the Olympic Games. Often during the games it seemed as if you were right down in there huffing and puffing with the athletes, and the coverage of the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies was likewise superb. So, what was there to complain about? Plenty, if you happen to be an elitist-type liberal who is far more concerned with what others think of us than with what we think of ourselves. ABC correctly concluded that its principal audience (the American public) was hungering to see primarily U.S. athletes in competition and, of course, U.S. victories in the games. This did result in somewhat lesser coverage of foreign athletic triumphs. As a result, the usual critics of America had something to seize upon and whine about.
According to the critics, we should first view ourselves as citizens of the world and then possibly as Americans. They would have much preferred a type of coverage that de-emphasized the fact that the games were being held int he U.S. and, of course, I'm sure that the correct liberal approach would have been to allocate coverage in such a way as to allow each nation its proportionate share of air time, regardless of the number of medals won. Perhaps the next time that an event like the Olympic Games takes place in the United States, we can pacify our liberal apologists by forcing the television networks to use an affirmative action-type quota system for broadcasting. We could, for example, require that for every minute of coverage given to American athletes, at least two minutes of coverage be given to our foreign competitors. Because our liberal critics have such a great fondness for quotas, this should make them very happy.
ABC Television should be commended for broadcasting the Olympic Games in such a positive manner; they did a great deal to help uplift America's self image. But, there was one very notable bias in ABC's coverage, at least where gun owners are concerned. The rather extensive shooting events of the games--where were they? I watched many hours of Olympic programming and found references to the shooting events to be few and far between. If ABC was scheduling its coverage around those events that held the greatest potential for American success, then we should have seen a considerable amount of Olympic shooting on the TV.
Even though the American Olympic team produced more than its fair share of shooting medalists, I am convinced that the powers in charge at ABC Television were not about to give anything having to do with guns any more positive coverage than they absolutely had to. Let's face facts, the people at ABC made a correct business decision by slanting their telecast of the games so as to appeal to the patriotism fo their primarily American audience. There is, however, at this time no reason to believe that the patriotism of the American Broadcasting Company has increased to the point that would cause it to do a political about-face and suddenly become a progun network.
By the time this article appears in print, the 1984 elections will be history, and the role that patriotism will have played in them will be more clearly understood at that time.
Those charged with the responsibility of planning President Reagan's reelection campaign for the summer of '84 concluded that the President could lay claim to the new patriotism as his issue, and that the majority of voters would be willing to give him credit for having stimulated much of the rejuvenated pride in America. On the other hand, the designers of former Vice President Walter Mondale's campaign apparently figured that the voters could be persuaded to view the summer's buoyant patriotic climate as a shallow and fashionable thing. Mondale's people set up for their candidate the task of convincing the voters that, if reelected President Reagan would only use such a patriotic vote of confidence as a device to justify dangerous and despicable acts of adventurism.
Unfortunately for Mondale, early attempts in his campaign to grab a piece of the patriotic pie for himself failed, leaving him no choice but to adopt the aforementioned negative strategy. Through the summer, the former Vice President and his running mate hammered away at the voters, preaching in essence that the current atmosphere of well-being is false and that there is still plenty wrong with America. From all indications, thus far, this strategy has proved to be about as popular as a boogey-box-toting Bambiist during deer hunting season.
Now, on the other side of the political picture, not only has President Reagan been able to lay claim to America's rising tide of confidence, I am convinced that if the crowds had been able to get their hands on him, they would have painted him red, white and blue and saluted him. Ronald Reagan has turned out to be not just the beneficiary of last summer's patriotic fervor, he also became the very symbol of it.
Although the media never mentions it, a great deal of President Reagan's support comes from America's gun owners and hunters. The President has never wavered from his staunch support of the second amendment and, as a reward for this loyalty, he has enjoyed the unified backing of the National Rifle Association and its nearly three million members. This is very significant when you consider that in some past presidential elections, the difference between the winning and losing candidates had been less than three million votes.
If you were unable to get down to the theater last summer to see the movie Red Dawn then you missed a truly unique film. If for no other reason, you should have seen the film because it has undoubtedly become one of the most viciously attacked movies of the past 30 years. When the liberal media's film critics saw this one, they must have gone absolutely berserk in the theaters. They must have, because the reviews that most of them authored about this film could only have been written by people who were out of control and foaming at the mouth.
To truly understand the impact of Red Dawn, it is necessary to realize that latent patriotism can be brought to the surface usually by one of two ways. First, one's national pride can be pumped up by spectacular and impressive achievements. An excellent example of this would be the stellar performances of the American athletes in the Olympic Games. Except for shooting, I have almost no interest in sports, yet if I had been in L.A. during the games, I'm sure that I would have been more than a willing participant fully immersed in the patriotic frenzy. The second means by which one's patriotism can be caused to swell is danger. The old axiom that says that people do not truly appreciate what they have until they lose it is particularly true where national security is concerned.
The danger can be immediate and real, like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. I understand that within days after the attack there were lines at nearly all recruiting stations and that these lines were primarily composed of young men who, in most cases, had rarely expressed patriotic sentiments before the attack. The danger may instead be potential or theoretical in nature. Even though there may be no actual or immediate threat of hostilities, patriotism can be stimulated by mere possibilities when they are presented in a logical and convincing manner. The scenario upon which the film Red Dawn is based is perfectly logical and absolutely convincing. This is why the media's liberal film reviewers hated the movie and did not want you to see it.
In addition to the above, the media's anti-gunners also got all bent out of shape after seeing this film, because Red Dawn may very well be one of the most potent progun movies ever made! Before discussing any of the specifices of this film, let's look at what a couple of the critics had to say about it.
"This movie, however, is so absurd, so bungled and poorly written that it makes old John Wayne cowboy flicks seem like genuine, multilayered works of cinematic art . . . I'm not certain I caught every detail of the storyline, because there are major distractions. One of them is an incredibly dumb script, so contrived and cliched that it's a real laugh, a parody of itself throughout the film."--Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle.
"It's a long commercial in which the Marlboro Man has become the American Guerrilla, with his good buddies, good guns and a bottomless case of Coors."--Jack Kroll, Newsweek.
These quotes are typical of what the majority of the big-time critics had to say about Red Dawn. Without asking you to endure more quotes, I would simply like to point out that the media's elite movie critics made abundant use of words and phrases like, "ridiculous," "ludicrous," "absurd," "paranoid," "muddle-headed," "dumb machismo," "incorrigibly gungho," and in one case, a critic even called the director of the film, John Milius, ". . . a self-styled Zen fascist." I'm not at all certain that these critics saw the same movie that I did. I saw a movie titled Red Dawn; judging from their reviews, it sounds more like they saw a film titled Torturing Puppies for Fun and Profit.
The movie Red Dawn is about a Soviet invasion of the United States. The story concentrates on the small fictional town of Calumet, Colorado. As the town is being captured by Cuban and Nicaraguan commandos in an early morning surprise attack, some of the town's teenagers manage to grab some supplies (including a few hunting rifles) and escape to the mountains. While in the mountains, the Calumet high school kids fashion themselves into a guerrilla unit and then they begin to fight the Cuban, Nicaraguan and now Russian occupying forces. This in thumbnail from is the basic premise of the film.
In terms of pure cinematic or literary achievement, the film Red Dawn rates about average. The quality of the dialogue and the depth of the characters are on par with the typical war adventure-type movie. Those who would condemn this movie for not being another Citizen Kane or because it obviously falls short of the profound complexities of a Shakespearean play are simply elevating the standards (in this one case) so as to follow themselves another avenue of attack.
But, if Red Dawn is just another run-of-the-mill war flick, wouldn't it have gone almost unnoticed by the media's premier film critics? Usually yes, but there is more to this movie than just the common formula plot normally associated with this genre of filmmaking. This "more" consists of two elements both of which are tailored so as to cause even the most committed anti-gun pacifist to resort to violence. These elements are a decidedly uncompromising pro-gun message and a frighteningly believable scenario on just how someday we may find ourselves facing Russian soldiers on American soil.
The fact that Americans will need to be armed so as to enable them to resist such an invasion is an assumption easily detected in this movie. However, writer-director John Milius evidently wanted to make sure that the audience didn't miss the point, so he drove it home in two dramatic scenes. In the first scene, the Cuban and Nicaraguan commandos are mopping up after the battle for Calumet. The camera zooms in and pauses for a moment on the rear bumper of a pickup. On this bumper there is a sticker that reads, "They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold head fingers." Then an invading soldier enters the scene and rips a 45 auto from the hand of an American defender lying dead in the street.
In the next scene, the Cuban colonel commanding the invastion force is giving instructions to some of his subordinates. He tells them to go to the local sporting goods store and collect all of the federal 4473 forms (the yellow form you fill out every time you purchase a firearm). He explains that these forms will help them to locate most of the gun owners in the area. In the theater that I was in, both of these scenes were followed by muffled gasps and groans from the audience. It is obvious that John Milius (in just these two scenes alone) has delivered a stinging rebuff to the advocates of more gun control. No wonder the media's liberal and anti-gun critics are so upset over this movie.
Before going to see Red Down. I was of the opinion that a Soviet-backed communist invasion of the United States was an implausible, perhaps even silly, premise. But, because John Milius and his colleagues did their homework, my confidence about the future sanctity of American heartland is somewhat less secure than it was. In constructing the film, Mr. Milius consulted Alexander Haig, the former chief of NATO, and also visited the Hudson Institute, the famed Washington-based think tank. They didn't think his scenario was silly at all. In fact, the possibility of such an invasion has been seriously studied by the Pentagon and contingency plans do exist for dealing with such a catastrophic disaster.
The creators of the film carefully lay out the conditions and world events that lead up to the dark day of the invasion. The frightening thing is that these conditions and events are not the wild-eyed concoctions of some science fiction writer, but rather they are simply the logical progressions of those stories that fill today's newspapers. As the movie begins there is a type of preamble that appears on the screen. This preamble tells the audience the following: "NATO has fallen apart under the threat of Soviet attack. The Soviet Union has had several very bad agricultural years in a row and is desperate. Central America falls to communist-backed revolutionaries. Mexico finally succumbs to revolution, causing a flood of refugees across our southern border." Later in the film we learn that hidden in this tidal wave of refugees are thousands of trained saboteurs that effectively neutralize much of our nuclear deterrent. In general, America is shown to be without allies; it is surrounded, alone, impotent and ripe for the taking.
Consider for a moment some of the realities that support the conjectural basis of this timely film. For example, the NATO alliance is tenuous at best. In conventional terms, the Warsaw Pact nations have NATO out-manned and out-gunned at nearly every turn. Even though the West enjoys certain significant technological advantages, the result of any prolonged conventional conflict would be the utter devastation and loss of Western Europe under the Soviets' massive military machine. Currently, the only thing that holds the Russians at bay, from a military standpoint, is the ability of NATO to employ the use of nuclear weapons as a last resort.
This last resort, although a very effective deterrent so far, does little to bring the Europeans peace of mind, because no matter who the winner of such a war would be, the fact that both Western and Eastern Europe would be a mess goes without question. It is this fragile stalemate that worries many analysts. The fear is that should our European allies learn that an invasion is imminent, some of them may choose to break ranks with NATO in order to seek some kind of accommodation with the Soviets, thereby sparing themselves from the bloodbath.
Pre-revolutionary rumblings can now be felt coming from Mexico. It appears that large land owners have, in some cases, been forced to hire foreign mercenaries to protect their holdings from newly-formed revolutionary groups. It is also my understanding that caches of small arms (of communist bloc manufacture) have already been found in Mexico. The situation begins to look like a textbook case on how a country can fall prey to communist exploitation when Mexico's extreme economic problems and poverty are added to the picture. It is estimated that should a violent revolution break out in Mexico, the U.S. can expect as many as 20 million refugees to flood across its southern border in just a few short years. And there would be little that could be done to stop the flood.
When I left the theater after seeing Red Dawn, I knew that John Milius had very skillfully pulled my patriotic strings, but somehow it didn't matter. He reminded me that the freedoms that we often take for granted, in this country, are fragile things and that there are sinister forces in this world (and in this country) that seek to destroy them. Normally, I dislike going along with the crowd, but in the case of today's patriotic fever, you can consider me a willing conformist. Let's hope that this is one fashion that doesn't fade for a long, long time.
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|Title Annotation:||pro-right to firearms|
|Publication:||Guns & Ammo|
|Date:||Mar 1, 1985|
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