Some folks can’t win for losing. These days I’m shedding a tear for the rifle industry. Smith & Wesson, Remington and the other long-gun mongers have seen AR-15 sales drop by nearly 50% since their Manichaean Candidate barged into office.
You have to wonder how that’s possible. The NRA, their lobbying arm, stuffed $30 million into Trump’s tiny hands, not to mention the tasty treats served up to their congressional lap dogs.
The lawmakers have turned a blind eye to the horrors of Parkland, the slaughter in Las Vegas and the tragedy at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. They’ve resisted all but the most minimal methods of keeping a wall —that’s right, I said it— between dangerous weapons and dangerous minds.
One would think that the killings would raise fears among people, sending them to the gun shows for a quick restocking. Just the opposite has happened. The mass shootings have not terrified gun owners, while schools remain on red alert.
The spokesmen for the owners attribute it to a fall-off in the fear factor. We’ll know for sure if Andrew Gillum, the African-American Democrat, wins the Florida governorship in November.
Gillum and Ron DeSantis, his Republican opponent, wasted no time diving into the mud. After his primary victory, DeSantis set off a firestorm with the following statement:
“The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state. That is not going to work. That’s not going to be good for Florida.”
Gillum seized upon the word, “monkey,” as dog-whistle racism. DeSantis refused to apologize, saying that his statement had nothing to do with race.
Monkey? DeSantis could have used many other words, more accurate and less inflammatory: mess up, screw up, foul up, louse up, as a few examples. How did DeSantis, clearly no dummy, happen to land on a word that was not even in context?
If we assume that DeSantis is not a racist, then the word must have bubbled up in his brain for some less obvious reason. If he said it unconsciously with no bad intent, then it is a function of white privilege. People who miss the racist undertones in a comment are accused of exemplifying white privilege. If DeSantis is tone-deaf in his choice of the word, “monkey,” so that he was not even aware of the pejorative meaning, then he is insensitive “because he doesn’t know better.”
Gillum justifiably called DeSantis out on his poor choice of words, but his argument would have been more convincing if it hadn’t been so broadly stated.
In the age of Trump, it’s all about the tribe.