When Donald Trump says what he really thinks, all kinds of crazy things happen.
First, you can be certain that what he really thinks is going to be controversial. It will. it’s not like he’s going to offer his genuine, unvarnished thoughts and everyone is going to be like “oh sure, well no, yeah that makes perfect sense.” No, it’s going to be hair-pulling time.
Take his genuine unvarnished thoughts on gun control (I say totally casually as if you didn’t know this was going there). He said yesterday that the age to be able purchase rifles should be raised to 21, he said that due process was no big deal if it was an impediment to taking away guns, and he said that the failure of Congress to enact these ideas that he sees as obvious and reasonable is because they are “afraid” of the NRA.
After he said that, everything of course exploded. The media/left flirted with “maybe he has a great idea and will do it” while also playing “hey that’s not what you voted for is it, dumb Republican hicks?” Both intolerably annoying.
People on the right who have opposed Trump all along and who are sometimes lazily and pejoratively referred to as “nevertrump” said that this shows they were right all along and that he has always been a betrayer and DOOOOOOOM. (If you’re score-keeping: Nobody was always right all along, yes Trump is a proven betrayer, but no this probably won’t be dooooom.)
As for Trump loyalists… well they only had a few possible routes to take. They could say “he doesn’t really mean it”, they could say “he has a point you know”, or they could say “hmm? Gun meeting? No, I didn’t hear about that, hey have you seen Black Panther?”
I saw a lot of ” he didn’t mean it” yesterday. The notion here is that Trump just talks out of his ass and it doesn’t matter if he says the most heinously anti-gun thing ever and gives both aid and comfort to the left on gun control and takes a shot at the NRA right when they are under seige, essentially abandoning them to the wolves, because well gosh you guys, he just says stuff sometimes, take a chill pill and be cool.
It’s true, a lot of the crazy stuff he says never makes it to policy. That’s why I say the prophecies of DOOOOOOM are off the mark. But it doesn’t mean he doesn’t think it should. It doesn’t mean he didn’t mean it. It doesn’t mean he wouldn’t do it if he weren’t being constrained by the position he’s in. It just means that a lot of it never makes it to policy (thank God.)
But the fact that it often doesn’t become law is no reason to be sanguine about it. I really can’t even comprehend that thinking. The anti-gun rhetoric he spewed yesterday requires pushback. It would require it (and would get it) if any Democrat said that, be they an important member of congress or an anonymous person on Twitter. Conservatives never let the slightest slight againt guns go. To think that we should just smile and say “who else but Trumpmire” is an absolutely riduculous expectation.
Yet that is exactly the expectation of the Trumpian right. They would rather, in the wake of his comments, complain about people complaining about it. Trump attacks guns, so Trumpies attack … pro-gun conservatives who object? Makes perfect sense, right?
Of course it doesn’t. Nobody made Trump say or think these things. He did it all by himself. It’s not even the first time. Reacting is natural. Attacking the people reacting seems totally dumb.
But that’s what happened.
If your first instinct when Trump attacks the second amendment, due process, and the NRA in a single meeting is to attack the people who object to his doing so, you may have your priorities twisted.
But this twisting is not all that will happen, though. There will inevitably be (and may already be) #MAGA Tweets and posts that say “he has a point.” They’ll say the NRA *is* too influential or that the GOP *is* afraid of the org. They will say it as if it is a natural evolution of their hate for the deep state. They will say things like “I’ve always opposed lobbyists, even this one”. But none of that will be the reason. The reason will be to retroactively correct themselves to be on the same page Trump is on, whatever page it happens to be that day.
Will Trump get his anti-NRA, gun confiscation will enacted? Well he sure looks like he’s going through with his spontaneous utterance on bump stocks, even though we are all supposed to pretend his spontaneous utterances are just “Trump being Trump.” We’ll see where the rest goes.
In the meantime, if you actually do support the Second Amendment and your rights protected by it, it’s your responsibility to freak out about what Trump said. Do that. Freak out.
He and his administration need to know that it freaks you out and is not okay. This should be obvious. The worst possible thing you can do is follow the advice of those tamed and broken members of the conservative media telling you to just nod and smile. They’ll do or write anything to maintain that one precious thing that keeps them warm: their absolute belief that they are morally superior to anyone who differs from them on Trump.
Don’t be that. Be a person who says “I believe in this, and when you attack it, I will stand against you, no matter who you are.” That’s American.