Tuesday, July 05, 2016


A moment in the parade

Here in Minnesota, pretty much everything and everybody gets to be in the 4th of July parade-- including the Zamboni from the hockey rink. 

There was a fascinating moment in yesterday's parade that I have been mulling over. First of all, keep in mind that Edina is, for Minnesota, a relatively conservative place. It is split fairly evenly between Democrats and Republicans, and Keith Ellison represents part of the town while Erik Paulsen, a Republican, represents the rest.

There was a group in the parade called "Moms Demand Action," which was pretty clearly a pro-gun control group. After them were the "Chicks on Sticks" and the Good Samaritan Methodist Church, followed by "Gun Owners for Civil Rights."

When the Moms went by, they got loud applause, and people called out to them. They were all women (moms, I guess), and seemed pretty committed to the cause. They had a lot of support from the crowd That didn't surprise me; one would expect that some people would agree with them.

What was surprising was what happened when the Gun Owners for Civil Rights group, who appeared to be all-male, came by. 

It was silent. Just, quiet. No one yelled out in protest or support; there was no sound at all from the crowds.  Which is kind of weird and eerie in a parade. 

Eventually, they passed by and the Girl Scouts marched in and things were loud and lively again. But that one moment... it was like a funeral.


Not surprising to me at all. Seems like any intelligent conservative would know to keep his (especially his) cards very close to the vest in that situation. Part of the chilling effect for conservative thought you have been pondering lately. No reasonable conservative would want to be remembered as the guy who applauded the gun nuts in the parade that time.
Hmmm... but given the relative balance in the population, why would that go more one way than the other? I suspect that many conservatives, at least in this area, are sympathetic to the Moms.
real conservatives, the silent majority types, are not demonstrative. They don't believe in public displays of controversial positions
IPLG makes a really great point that reminds me of a story from 1990, just as we were about to enter into the Gulf War. I was on the job driving across the San Fernando Valley in a Chrysler Lebaron convertible with the top down (I was working for Thrifty Car Rental at the time). And I came upon a major intersection with a fairly massive demonstration going on. And they were pro-invasion demonstrators. And they had signs that said "honk if you support our troops." "Honk if you support America." "Honk if you support the President." And then some guys seemed to get right in my face (or at least way too far into my space), waving their signs and yelling that I should honk. Well, of course, I too was pro invasion ("this will not stand" and all that), and I was for our troops, and I did support the President. But, for the life of me, all I could do was stare back at them with an icy "go to Hell" look--and I would be damned if they were going to make me honk. Honestly, I have never quite understood my resolve to not vocalize my enthusiasm for the troops, America, and George Bush 41 in that situation. Perhaps IPLG has finally offered up an explanation of my reticence after all these years.

As for my original point (and Mark your puzzlement), conservatives see the nation changing at lightening speed. And we know that many liberals believe that their causes are on the right side of history and, as the arc of the moral universe bends toward their concept of justice, there will be consequences for those the wrong side of history. And they will deserve what they get, as they are haters and xenophobes and homophobes and racists and anti-simites and anti-Muslim and misogynists. Error on this magnitude has no rights.

In short, the public space for dissent for these morally defining issues is growing much smaller. Many conservatives (cautious by nature) think they can see where this gun thing is going. Gun owners and gun rights sympathizers have blood on their hands. Those who enable the gun peddlers facilitate the carnage and are complicit in distributing the weapons of massive human destruction that splatter human flesh; they are culpable, and they will be held responsible when reason reigns and the NRA is put in their place.

Silence is a very complicated form of speech.

Hey! IPLawGuy had a Chrysler LeBaron! I guess it all makes sense. Well, the car thing.

I'm not sure I am buying the "Conservatives are silent" truism, though. They sure aren't outside of abortion clinics, or in the demand to support the troops, as you note. Plus, I am the same way you are-- I have never been in a protest march or anything like it, and was not one of the people yelling out for the Moms in the parade on Monday. Of course, I guess I have other ways of letting my views be known!

Maybe that silence has more to do with culture than politics. We three all look like guys who might drive a LeBaron, after all.
It really was a great car in its own way.

And, of course, I think when IPLG asserted his truism regarding "true conservatives" he surely gave himself an out for any number of examples you might offer up to cast doubt on his thesis.
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