Gun rights activists and the tea party movement took center stage last week to demonstrate how angry they are at the current administration. While both groups are, on the surface, unrelated to one another, they share something more than just being on the right of the political spectrum; they are outraged at the perceived role of government in our lives.
First, gun rights activists claim that their constitutional right to carry a firearm is being threatened, and thus felt it necessary to march on Washington with weapons exposed, albeit unloaded, to remind people of their second amendment freedoms. However, it is unclear as to where this deep anger is stemming from. Under the Obama administration, gun control laws have expanded. In March of 2009, the Congress passed a law that allowed guns to be carried in national parks and wildlife refuges.
Besides his remark during the campaign that some Pennsylvanians, when job creation is stagnated and economic times are bleak, cling to their guns and religion, this administration has been mum on any sort of second amendment rhetoric.
If more reason is needed to topple any misconceptions of having gun rights taken away, then review the Supreme Court’s decisions as of late. The current justices’ track record is highly in favor of supporting the second amendment. In March the court ruled 5-4 in favor of putting limits on what the federal government may do to regulate guns in the McDonald v. Chicago case.
This to piggy back the already conservative decision behavior that has been consistent with this specific judicial branch.
There are plenty of gun rights activists that advance the notion of a more prohibiting governmental approach to gun laws, but to this point, the Obama administration has done nothing to provoke those concerns.
For many in the tea party movement their anger has been deep-seeded since Jan. 20, 2009, when they assumed that with a new Democratic President taxes would surely rise and thus liberty removed from the fabric of the country. Their movement’s name, the Tea Party, is based on a tax revolt in Boston in 1776 that was outraged over taxation without representation.
Today, however, we have representation, along with the power to vote in new representation if need be. Our ongoing vote of confidence or no-confidence is representation in and of itself.
A tax revolt might gain some rational bearing if taxes, especially on middle-class families were shooting through the roof. However, on April 15, national tax day, 98 percent of American working households received a tax reduction. Obama’s tax rate is roughly 38-39 percent, which were the rates under President Clinton.
The Republicans’ knight in shining armor, Ronald Reagan, had his lowest tax rate at 28 percent, but for only his last 13 months in office.
During the six years previous, it ranged from 60 percent down to where Obama’s currently stands, according to dailykos.com.
If I misconstrued the whole premise of the movement, and it is in fact a revolt against lower taxes, then rational discourse may begin.
But when marchers are holding signs of Obama as Hitler while still considering him a socialist, two arenas at the complete opposite ends of the political spectrum, it is difficult to understand their motifs.
What makes this country desirable is that there is a sphere for groups such as these to voice concerns, whether they are completely illegitimate or have the footing to change a dynamic of our country. But it should be assumed, if you are going to raise concerns, and march on Washington, then a basic understanding of the issues is required.
For instance, a recent Rasmussen poll found that only 15 percent of likely voters knew that Obama has lowered taxes for more than 95 percent of Americans.
Both issues are garnering much attention, but to this point have not had much reasonable backing, and if protesters’ primary concerns have not been regulated or cut or dispensed of all together, then why such the anger?
Kevin Garrity, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.