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In his big pitch in Colorado on Wednesday for further gun control, President Obama made an astonishing statement about gun rights advocates’ fears of governmental gun seizures. He said that such worries would just feed “into fears about government. You hear some of these folks: ‘I need a gun to protect myself from the government. We can’t do background checks because the government’s going to come take my guns away.’ The government’s us. These officials are elected by you … I am constrained as they are constrained by the system that our founders put in place.”

There are two odd angles to this statement. The first is Obama’s overarching theme: government violation of rights is impossible because “the government is us,” and we can’t violate our own rights. Were this true, we could do away with the Constitution altogether. We would also never have to worry about democracies turning tyrannical, or electing tyrannical rulers. In this odd vision, Germany, Italy, and Spain remained liberal democracies throughout the twentieth century, World War II never happened, and Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Turkey are all thriving centers of freedom.

The government is most assuredly not us – at least not all of us – which is why our system of government is designed to protect the rights of minorities while still allowing majorities to legislate without violating those rights. Obama’s defense to charges of incipient tyranny is that tyranny can never happen here. Which, of course, makes it more likely that tyranny will happen here.

Truth be told, even Obama does not believe that the “government is us.” If he did, he would never worry about pro-life legislation (he does, and would challenge such legislation in court), heterosexual marriage legislation (he does, and challenges such legislation in court), or anti-Obamacare legislation at the state level (he does, and will likely challenge such legislation in court). Even in Obama’s vision of rights, populism is limited, although his vision of rights is skewed.

The second odd angle is Obama’s insistence that the Constitution constrains him. The natural inference seems to be that if it were not for the Constitution, Obama would indeed pursue a federal gun seizure. Like the villain at the end of every Scooby Doo cartoon, Obama’s offhand protest suggests that if it weren’t for those darn kids, he would have gotten away with it. Except that the kids are the founders, and “it” is massive gun control.

by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 8:53 PM
Replies (71-72):
by Gold Member on Apr. 11, 2013 at 1:45 PM
But the people aren't deciding, the federal government is deciding for us. The constitution was formulated specifically to prevent the federal government could not take away our rights, but this loose interpreting of it is causing just what it was made to prevent.

Quoting MsDenuninani:

There is an ongoing debate as to how the constitution ought to be interpreted. 

Like any great written works (including the bible), the key should be interpreting it to accompany a growing, modern population.  Trying to figure out what they felt should govern at the time given what the world actually looked like to them (not to mention their own preconceived notions about race and gender) isn't really helpful.  What they would've felt about rapid fire ammunition, background checks, drones, international treaties, abortion, bible study groups in schools. . .who knows?  Frankly, I think they would've been too confused at the sight of a Negro in the White House and a woman as Secretary of State -- not to mention their respective iPhones - to really get around to forming a coherent thesis. 

But after they did pick their jaws up off the floor I think they would say -- let the people decide. 

Quoting kailu1835:

I don't need to interpret the constitution, because it is very clear, especially when you combine it with what the people who actually wrote the constitution (and not what people who were nowhere near being alive when it was written) had to say about it.  It could not have been any clearer. 

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by New Member on Apr. 11, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I am for the 2nd amendment as well as gun control. You don't care for our president great, I do. I also am part of "moms demand action" I do. I want background checks, I want there to be a ban on semi automatic weapons and a ban on magazines that hold over 10 bullets. I would love to spend a day with you and dissect all you say and let you know what you really meant. Our president was elected by the people and "We the people" is who he represents and if you pay taxes or your kids go to school or drive on roads then you are part of the government everyday

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