As The Daily Wire reported yesterday, the comically leftist Board of Supervisors for the city of San Francisco took it upon itself to deem the nation’s oldest continually operating civil rights organization a “domestic terrorist organization.” That organization, of course, would be the National Rifle Association (NRA) — a group originally founded in 1871, following the nadir of the Civil War, to help promote rifle marksmanship. At the time the NRA was founded during Reconstruction, white supremacists in the South were still engaged in a systemic and conscientious effort to deprive blacks of their Second Amendment rights — rights which had only recently been secured for free blacks via the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868 and overruled the infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision of 1857. As then-Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit wrote in a 2003 dissent from a denial to rehear a case en banc:
Disarmament was the tool of choice for subjugating both slaves and free blacks in the South. In Florida, patrols searched blacks’ homes for weapons, confiscated those found and punished their owners without judicial process. See Robert J. Cottrol & Raymond T. Diamond, The Second Amendment: Toward an Afro-Americanist Reconsideration, 80 Geo. L.J. 309, 338 (1991). In the North, by contrast, blacks exercised their right to bear arms to defend against racial mob violence. Id. at 341-42.
Put another way, at the time the NRA was founded, its mission to promote rifle marksmanship was inextricably linked with its activism in helping promote the inalienable right to self-defense for the nation’s most vulnerable population — a population unconscionably subjected en masse to chattel slavery during the first seven-plus decades of the American republic, and whose abolition had just torn a beleaguered nation asunder and resulted in the deaths of over 600,000.
Indeed, to this day, the NRA, in addition to its much-ballyhooed pro-Second Amendment lobbying presence in the nation’s capital and in state capitals across the country, helps train and educate the public in terms of gun safety, competency, and ownership responsibility. Anyone who has ever visited a firing range has likely seen advertised the presence of a “NRA-certified instructor.” In terms of national firearms training certifications, there is likely no more universally recognized or prestigious honor. The NRA remains the gold standard certifier for the noble business of assisting Americans in the exercise of one of their cherished, textually enumerated constitutional rights.
Alas, the radical Jacobins on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors do not care about any of these niceties. As The Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien reported, the Board’s farcical resolution concludes: “RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco intends to declare the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization … the City and County of San Francisco should take every reasonable step to assess the financial and contractual relationships our vendors and contractors have with this domestic terrorist organization … the City and County of San Francisco should take every reasonable step to limit those entities who do business with the City and County of San Francisco from doing business with this domestic terrorist organization … the City and County of San Francisco should encourage all other jurisdictions, including other cities, states, and the federal government, to adopt similar positions.”
It is nearly impossible to describe how reckless this stunt is. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion mill, is systemically engaged all across the country in the shameless promotion and enactment of taxpayer-funded prenatal infanticide. If anything, that eugenicist-inspired genocidal organizational history might theoretically lead a conservative city, such as Oklahoma City or Wichita, to declare in a resolution that Planned Parenthood is a “domestic terrorist organization.” But the careful reader will note that, to date, that has never happened. And it is shameful for the woke white liberal denizens of San Francisco to disingenuously defame a decorated, longstanding civil rights group — one founded in the aftermath of the Civil War to, in part, secure the newly enshrined constitutional rights of black freedmen — with such a label.
Our collective rhetoric comprising the national discourse is dangerously overheated in this country. As I lamented last month, “Our markedly polarized polity — divided like never before between the monolithically anti-Trump bi-coastal clerisy and the deigned rubes and yokels of the American heartland — feels like it is at a breaking point.” Via such a disdainful, divisive, and utterly dishonest resolution, the uppity white leftists of San Francisco — the very embodiment of that “bi-coastal clerisy” that looks scornfully upon the gun-owning “yokels of the American heartland” — have done their small part to only further tear apart our nation’s social fabric. We conservatives, who are less cynical and morally superior to our leftist brethren, have a general responsibility to refrain from engaging in such unscrupulous tit-for-tat crossfire. At the same time, conservatives can only be expected to unilaterally disarm so much. With each grievous blow leftists deal to our polity’s sense of unity and camaraderie, the closer we inch toward a dark outcome that all parties should surely wish to avoid.
At a bare minimum, in the year 2019, is it too much to ask that everyone refrain from labeling as “domestic terrorist organizations” those groups founded to secure for a free citizenry one of their constitutionally enumerated rights?