St. Louis, MO—
Local conservative Frank “Bubba” Caliban recently realized he had not actually ever read the US Constitution, despite his professed love for the historical document, and he wanted to be able to say he had read it.
“I endeavored last week to read the whole document from front to back, just to make sure I was up to date with all of the lingo,” explained Caliban in a phone interview with The Halfway Post. “And yesterday I finally got to the part with the Amendments. It didn’t take long to arrive at the Second Amendment, and what I found it actually says has really challenged a lot about my politics related to guns.”
[The full text of the Second Amendment:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”]
“I’m almost starting to think that the Founding Fathers never intended to vehemently protect individual gun rights to weapons with technology well beyond their 18th Century comprehension,” Caliban said. “The term ‘well regulated’ really was a curveball for me, if I’m being honest. I always thought it was just the “right to bear arms’ phrase, but, quite transparently, the third word of the Second Amendment clearly calls for gun regulations and the second word ‘well’ explains that the focus on gun regulations should be serious. It also kind of implies the right to bear arms only in the sense of militias or, rather, the ideal of collective, plural defense in a state-by-state basis. After all, at the time of the Revolution and even the Constitution-drafting, the states certainly viewed themselves as much more independent than they are now, and it should be noted that we seem to be honoring the rights to militias enshrined in the Second Amendment with our state National Guard organizations. But anyway, that got me to thinking that I suppose our Second Amendment right is a collective right to rebel against oppressors together as states or a united nation—the United States if you will—and now I think that this fear of a tyrannical government I’ve lived my entire adult life wanting to be able to protect myself against is in many regards misguided.
Mr. Caliban paused here, but The Halfway Post reporter stayed silent to encourage this revelation he was having.
“Because if we really want to follow the Constitution according to our democratic republic ideals, our government should never be tyrannical in the first place. The whole point of our experiment in democracy was to prove that people could self-govern without some kind of deity man-god, absolutist king, or other form of political tyranny taking disproportionate power and control. We practically invented institutional checks and balances while the rest of Europe was afraid their kings would be dispossessed and private property of the aristocracy seized by mob government. And to be honest, the republic part of our government is still a check on true, populist democracy. I support the republic theme of our government of course, as my life-long belonging to the Republican Party suggests, but I think we should take this all in context. As to the democratic aspects of our democracy, it’s pretty clear that our government is very clearly stated to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. So if at any time our government becomes tyrannical, the people, according to our Constitution, have the political and democratic right to vote people out of people in positions of power. There doesn’t need to be guns for internal, domestic arguments or debates because we are one people. We should be pursuing our own civic interests against special or private interest. Unfortunately, this is where my beloved contemporary Republican Party has failed wholly and completely, as they’ve inspired and used fascist populism as a surfboard to ride the wave of electoral success in order to brazenly advance the interests of the super wealthy at the expense of rationality and sanity in the national discourse at large. The Republican Party in many respects is becoming a tyrannical, oligarchic ruler of an American late-stage capitalism aristocracy, and our democratic experiment was literally designed to never allow that to happen in our United States. Regardless, though, the best possible response to a tyrannical government or a polarized political era is not in hoarding some kind of radical-neighbor-arsenal and a cornucopia of fears in your head of everyone around you, but rather civic engagement, belonging, participation, and attention. If America is going to live up to its ideals, the people should never want to rebel against the government at all. And if people want to rebel, it shouldn’t necessitate armed mobs or bloody revolutions, but rather principled, sober and rational discourse powered by serious elections and informed votes. Our self-government aught to respond to our frustrations and disappointments in the public government, and choosing to stock up on guns only exacerbates our society and democracy’s failures. That is literally what our Founding Fathers wrote. I should know, I just finally read it and actually understand it now. So don’t buy a gun to defend your democracy and the Constitution: go to city council meetings, join your kids’ parent-teacher associations, plant flowers in your local park, adopt a highway, regularly call your Congress representatives and senators.”
Thanks for the phone call, Mr. Caliban.