Congrats to Dan the Man for live blogging CNN’s “Guns in America” town hall, featuring President Obama. It takes a special kind of human being to sit through an event that rivals bee keeping for dramatic tension. That said, apiculture offers the possibility that someone will get stung. Right from the beginning of the GiA special it was clear that no one in that hand-picked, pre-screened audience was capable of putting the President into the rhetorical equivalent of anaphylactic shock. That said . . .
He almost did it to himself, thanks to his abject inability to utter a reasonably pacey coherent compound sentence without telepromptation. If the President was a Disney Audio-Animatron (you heard it here first) his electrical connection was on the fritz. Mr. Obama was intermittently inarticulate, prone to pauses pregnant enough to keep Kate Gosselin in a family way for decades. Which leads us to the most important “Guns in America” takeaway: Americans are wimps.
Slightly more charitably, CNN produced a TV program by wimps, for wimps, with wimps, saying wimpy things about guns. Other than a couple of half-hearted opening parries by moderator Cooper: indirect questions that he singularly failed to press home. Like this:
COOPER: There’s a lot of people out there who don’t trust you, obviously, on the issue of guns. You keep saying you don’t want to take away everybody’s guns, but there’s a lot of people out there tonight watching who don’t believe you. There’s a lot of people in this room who, frankly, don’t believe you. And it’s not that you don’t really have personal experience having owned a gun, but it’s that things you said — support for Australia’s tough anti-gun policies. They banned semiautomatic assault rifles, they — they banned even shotguns in Australia.
COOPER: You praised their policies over and over. Back in 2008, you said — you talked about bitter Americans clinging to their guns. Even now, these executive actions tended to cause a lot of concern among a lot of people. What can you say to somebody tonight to convince them that you don’t want to take away everybody’s guns? That you’re not coming for their guns?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, Anderson, I think it’s useful to keep in mind, I’ve been, now, president for over seven years, and gun sales don’t seem to have suffered during that time.
COOPER: If anything, actually, you’ve helped.
OBAMA: They’ve — they’ve — gone up. I’ve — been very good for gun manufacturers.
And . . . that’s it. The President’s admiration for The Land Down Under’s gun control regime – wherein handguns are banned for civilian usage, for example – was lost in the midst of an answer so stilted and convoluted you wonder if the President learned his diction and debating skills from watching the first hour of The Queen’s Speech. Even so, once the “town hall” got started – direct from Thorazine Town – no one dared confront the President of the United States about his desire to degrade and destroy Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Not Chris Kyle’s widow. Not Pinal County Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu. And not the gun dealer guy. They all wimped out.
All someone, anyone had to do was look the Commander-in-Chief in the eye and say “Mr. President, what do the words ‘shall not be infringed’ mean to you?” Or “If you’re not trying to take away our guns why did you call for a ban on so-called ‘assault rifles’? Come to think of it, Mr. President, why do you keep calling them ‘weapons of war’ when millions of God-fearing, law-abiding Americans own them – as is their right under the protections provided by the Second Amendment? Huh Mr. President? Mr. Constitutional scholar. Why? Tell me why . . . Wait. I’m sorry Anderson. With all due respect Mr. President, answer the God damn question.”
Respect. There was WAY too much of it on display at the “Guns in America” special. I’m not saying the questioners kissed the President’s ass (although they did). It was worse than that. The President kissed the questioners‘ asses. First, let me thank you for getting shot. Or not getting shot. Or knowing someone who was shot. Or wanting to shoot someone who raped you. Or not shooting me. After blessing his erstwhile interrogators with his anti-ballistic beneficence, the President waffled and wafted through interminable verbiage, all of which lacked sound and fury and signified absolutely nothing.
If you don’t agree that the GiA special portrayed America as a nation of wimps, consider the fact that CNN showed the President of the United States watching the President of the United States crying “because he was angry” about “gun violence.” I’m sure there’s a Russian bodyguard somewhere still trying to clean off the coffee Vladimir Putin sprayed onto his jacket when the Russian leader saw that bit. Personally, I felt ill. And knew exactly why Americans are seriously considering elevating a mindless megalomaniac to the nation’s highest office. The Donald may cheat at golf, as may Obama, but at least Mr. Trump doesn’t cry in public. And then fight back tears watching himself cry in public. In public.
In the The Hollow Men, poet T.S. Elliott wrote “This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang but a whimper.” TTAG’s writers and commentators do their best to tell the truth about guns, no holds barred; intellectually, passionately and humorously. But after watching that non-debate debacle on a national news network, I get the feeling that the end is nigh. Just saying.