Trouble Ahead

By now we've all probably heard of Jim Porter, the new president of the N.R.A. and his interpretation of the War of Northern Aggression. Porter also reveals that—so far as he is concerned—the NRA’s purpose should be to train us all in the use of military weapons for wars both home and abroad.

Why, one wonders, when we have a perfectly good military - the best in the world, according to almost every pundit right or left - do we all need weapons training? What possible wars at home is the right wing talking about?

I have a suspicion. I've written before about how change in our world, which so inspires hope in some of us, inspires outright fear in others. One sure-fire statistical change that faces the American future is a drastic demographical switch. By the year 2050, it is projected by the Pew Research Center that the American white population will shrink to 47% - under half. Jim Porter and those who think he makes sense will scoff at global warming predictions, but this prediction is something against which they believe they can arm themselves.

I fear that we underestimate the racism that informs that portion of our population that I like to call the "people who don't get out much." These are people who have almost purposely deprived themselves of quality education, of expanding their own horizons beyond their own county lines (through which the likes of Drudge and Rush penetrate with ease), and who, although they may feel left behind by the rush of modernity, pride themselves in their refusal to catch up. They don't see an interesting world out there. They see a world in which they don't matter as much as they thought they did. They are scared to death.

For the greater part of our population - and I do believe it is the greater part - the election of an African-American President was a sign that we have turned the corner from the long dark street we have been traveling for 400 years. For far too many others, I fear it is something quite different.

For them, Armageddon has already begun. And what does every movie and TV show tell you to do when the end times arrive? Get a gun.