Thursday, February 21, 2013

Guns and immigration reform: the NRA makes the connection for the next round of xenophobic hysteria

Dave Neiwert and Charlie Pierce show how the NRA is linking their "culture war" issues of guns, guns and more guns to the "culture war" issues of hating on Latino immigrants with the usual mindless nationalism that comes with xenophobia in, respectively, NRA's Latest Outburst: Evil Mexicans Are Coming to Kill You! C&L 02/15/2013 and Charlie Pierce, All The Latest Rage Esquire Politics Blog 02/20/2013.

Dave, who actually knows what he's talking about on these matters, declares, "I think it is now safe to assert that the National Rifle Association is now officially a far-right extremist organization. It began its final descent into this realm -- where it had been teetering increasingly in the recent years -- this week, and with this latest outburst, it's now official." He uses as Exhibit A this video featuring Wayne LaPierre that the NRA distributed to their members, which is basically a several-minutes long xenophobic, Patriot Militia sort of propaganda piece about scary Mexicans and A-rab terrorists pouring across the US-Mexican border.

I was struck by how the piece tries hard to discredit the factual reality that "cut-out" purchases of assault weapons in the United States have massively fueled the killing among drug gangs in Mexico itself as many of those weapons are smuggled south across the border. Both universal background checks and the banning of the manufacture and importation of assault rifles would definitely mitigate that particular problem.

That's also a classic "tell" for the far-right thinking going on here. The NRA's only real purpose is to sell guns and ammo and more guns and ammo. And if large portions of those sales go to Mexican drug cartels, the Great God Free Market doesn't care at all. So it's not in the immediate profit interest of the firearms industry for which the NRA is the chief public face to limit the supply of weapons and ammunition sold in the US for smuggling to Mexico. So rather than try to duck the problem, this NRA ad tries to redefine it as (1) not a real one, and (2) one that it would be offensive to American patriotism to even try to solve.

Which fits with the xenophobia and white racism to which the ad panders and encourages. The small arms traffic to Mexico fuels the violence of the drug gangs there, which then allows the NRA and their culture-war allies to paint Mexicans and Latinos as violent thugs coming to git us innocent Amurcans, and so we Amurcans need to buy us even more guns and ammo to protect ourselves from the scary, scary Spanish-speaking people.

Marketing of death via hatred and fear: because for the NRA, to steal from a well-known sports saying, selling and ammo isn't the most important thing, it's the only thing.

For the Republican Party, defender of (their versions of) family values and True Christianity, hatred and fear can also produce turnout and votes. And, as Pierce explains, their are position hatred of immigrants as their main issue to get out their Grumpy Old Party base of aging white people for the 2014 elections:

If you want to know where the abandoned wrath is going to focus in the next election, this is the issue — and there's nothing Marco Rubio can do to stop it, in case you were wondering. It is now past cliche to note that the Republican party, and the conservative movement that gives it most of its money and all of its intellectual energy, is presently reaping what it sowed, that the chickens have returned clamorously to the roost, and that crows doth sit upon the capitol. However, for that dynamic to have a material focus on the 2014 midterms, it needs a focus. Now, you might think that would be guns, but the party and most of its elected members are on roughly the same page as the NRA as nearly as I can tell. However, the Republicans have looked at the demographics of the last election and they have made a concerted -- and very public -- effort to reform themselves on this issue because they would rather not become the Whigs of the 21st Century. As is obvious from the highlighted excerpt above, guns have their salience as an intraparty issue only when they can be connected to the issue of illegal immigration, not the other way around. In this formulation, you will note, the right to bear arms is yet another "free government benefit" that the "illiterate invaders" want. [my emphasis]
And, as Dave's piece shows, the NRA is doing their part to merge the love of guns, guns and more guns to fear of the scary Mexicans anyway.

Meanwhile, here in the real world, what happens when a state loosens up on gun regulations at the demand of the xenophobes and conspiracy-mongers of the NRA? Zack Beauchamp looks at that very question in Gun Homicides Increased 25 Percent After Missouri Repealed Background Check Law Think Progress 02/13/2013.

Here is the NRA video accompanying Dave Neiwert's post:

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments: