DEMOCRATS AND THE GUN CULTURE  [HUNTER GRAY / HUNTER BEAR - SEPTEMBER 12 2008] MANY COMMENTS

 

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR: 
 
Quite recently I had a brief visit with a very good Idaho friend whose Western identity and commitments are as solid as mine -- a staunch labor unionist, avid hunter and outdoorsman [outdoorsperson], and a faithful Democrat.  [On the latter point, he's probably more faithful than I -- since, on rare occasions, I've digressed into sensible third party ventures at the Presidential level.]
 
His position on the foregoing matters was unchanged -- a supporter of Obama [and Biden].  But he was troubled.  He'd been hearing things from some of his friends that disturbed him and, while his basic optimism remained intact,  he was, again, troubled.
 
I knew why.
 
Ms. Palin and spouse have an Image as genuine outdoorspeople:  hunting and fishing enthusiasts, snowmobilers, trekkers and roamers of the wilds. And Alaska certainly has its own appealing Image in that quarter.
 
My credentials in the "gun culture" are, if I may say so, sterling.  I've had firearms since I was seven years old -- and I presently have a good select collection -- all of which are pretty traditional: Western lever action rifles, an old-style singlebarreled shotgun, a revolver.  I've hunted [almost always as a loner in the deepest wilderness settings] and successfully so.  At several points, I've trapped extensively and, although I have only one remaining Victor Number 4 Double Spring from my 200 or so of such going back to my last big trapping venture of half a century ago, I do support trapping when it involves the living subsistence of its practitioners [e.g., Natives].  Although I can digress from the National Rifle Association on political choices, I'm an NRA Life Member [like Ms. Palin and, as far as that goes, Howard Dean] and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment who welcomed the recent United States Supreme Court ruling clearly establishing that as a full member of the Bill of Rights.
 
And, as far as that goes, I've written and spoken extensively, from the perspective of life experience, on the use of firearms in matters of principled self-defense [civil rights activists, labor organizers.]  That, I should add, explains my keeping a couple of loaded firearms here in Idaho where most people are just fine and friendly -- but not all.
 
The history and images of Obama and Biden don't involve firearms and hunting.  Obama has occasionally drifted into the outer edges of "gun control", Biden even more so.  [The Clinton's stance -- despite anything Hillary has said recently -- has been almost consistently anti-gun.]   All of this can play well with a certain kind of "Eastern/Coastal" liberal -- whose ignorance of firearms and related matters could equate with my ignorance of, say, quantum physics.
 
But for many in the Real West, and in rural and small town settings, this lack of familiarity by Obama and Biden disturbs -- can even frighten -- good people who, like myself are sensible and strongly committed firearms owners and hunters and  travelers in the natural wilds.  Despite this, many -- like my aforementioned good friend here in the Gem State -- will vote on the disastrous economy, endless war, paucity of health care, gross violations of civil liberty and all the rest that cry out for substantive relief and downright cure.
 
But many of my colleagues in our gun and hunting culture will not -- unless Obama and Biden et al. can substantively address these issues in a very genuinely reassuring and positive way.  It can't be the token one-trip "hunt" or "shoot" that Bill Clinton, Gore, and Kerry attempted -- none of which were convincing to anyone.
 
I think Obama -- and Biden -- and their attendant key advisors should engage, pretty damn fast, in a genuinely thorough crash course in gun and hunting rights and the corresponding attitudes on those and related matters in the West and small towns and rural areas around the country -- and in urban areas as far as that goes.  Obama made a good start when he endorsed the USSC ruling upholding the Second as an individual right.  But he et al. have to do far more than that -- including a great deal of close attention and sincere listening.
 
And when they talk on these issues, it can't be just contrived.  It has to be truly genuine, from their hearts.  And, if their ears are good, their empathetic attunement [which they display well on other people-concerns] will carry with reasonable effectiveness.
 
Ms. Palin and Co. are, by any rational standards, "limited" folk -- and obviously selfish ones at that.  McCain continues to remind me -- [and a knowledgeable one of my two younger brothers agreed with vigor] of an inhabitant of the oldster reservation at  Sun City [Phoenix environs],  How seriously gun and hunting folks take him as a "friend" is speculative.
 
The Palin masks are beginning to slip significantly.  Her attitude toward endangered animal species -- polar bears -- is at best callous.  She supports pervasive oil drilling -- even in the most nationally sacrosanct areas of pristine wilderness.  Her positions on key Native  issues -- including among them subsistence hunting and fishing in the context of tribal sovereignty -- are poor,
 
But her hunting and gun culture credentials are solid.
 
Her siren song, if one doesn't look too deeply, can be appealing -- very much so.
 
And  Barack Obama and Joseph Biden et al. have their work cut out.
 
 
Solidarity,
 
Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
 

COMMENT

 
James H. Williams:
 
Amen! Amen!
Maybe they need to go and see Ted Nugent for a tutorial like one hapless gun writer rec3ently did after he said some unkind things about the AR-15.
Jim

__________________________________
 
Bob Gately:
 
Top o the morning to you Hunter,

Ah, you must have been on the third cupa your 90 weight java when you wrote this buzzing assessment of our presidential candidates stand/lean/bend-over on the right to bear arms. This piece needs to be on the op-ed page of every newspaper and blog in America as well as on the international wires.

 Indeed, Obama/McCain and their et al's must acknowledge that the Second Ammendment is sacred writ and that the rights of the sovereign First Natives to fish and hunt for sustenance is a God given right that cannot be abridged by politicians or special interest legislators.

Thank you again Hunter for the enlightenment.

With fondest regards, always,

Bob Gately
Phoenix, AZ
 
_______________________________________

 
Steve Proctor:
 
Good points.  I agree and will pass them on, best I can.  Thanks.
Steve
 
______________________________________
 
Jyri Kokkonen [Finland]:
 
Hunter,
This may be a stupid question, but as you know I'm a foreigner so please bear with me. I'm occasionally kind of baffled by the whole gun debate over there. What exactly are the major difference among the positions re. gun ownership and use over there? I know it all revolves around the Second Amendment, but surely no one wants to repeal that. We Euros may not really understand this side of it, but that's a different story.
What does the anti-gun side exactly want to ban or limit? Is it specifically the right to have firearms for personal protection? Or does it extend to limitations on owning firearms for hunting? Or on certain types of firearms? I'd really appreciate a link or two so I can read up on this. The Net is hopelessly broad in this respect.
Sensible people use firearms sensibly, and most hunters are sensible, at least the ones I know here and in Australia. Criminals can lay their hands on guns no matter what is done by the authorities.
Kind of dumb to ask about this but as I said, I'm a bit lost on this.
More later about some pretty draconian stuff going on in the Finnish paper and pulp industry - again.
All the best,
Jyri
 
Response by Hunter:
 
Jyri -
 
Although there are individuals and groups that seek a ban on all firearms -- there's some such feeling in certain local jurisdictions such as a few big cities and a little of this in a national sense -- most Americans feel some guns at least are OK.  Although there are, again, some people and some groups that would love to repeal the Second Amendment, their ranks are very thin.  That's safe enough.  The issues are essentially, "How broad should be gun rights?" And "How much gun control legislation?"  And this can get very complex.  Geographical factors often enter into this -- the West and South and Midwestern areas are generally much less for gun restrictions; the big urban areas generally more so.
 
The National Rifle Association, strongly supporting the Second, is opposed to most restrictions on gun ownership and use.  I favor that view.  There are others who would support such measures as gun registration and trigger locks, bans on handguns, are against permits to carry concealed weapons and more.  In the Bill Clinton administration, there were many severe attacks on gun owners and gun rights which resulted in some dangerously restrictive legislation. That's one of the reasons that Gore and Kerry had problems -- and Obama could.
 
Most gun owners, including myself, are concerned about the "slippery slope" -- one restriction can lead to another to another.
 
The recent USSC ruling upholding the Second as an individual right is a major victory.  But vigilance is still necessary.
 
Here as a starter is our Gun Rights page [which carries, among others, comments by yourself.]  You may have already seen it -- it grows and grows -- and there are many basic points therein.
 
 
 
I'll keep you posted.
 
Take care good friend -- and all best,
 
Hunter
 
________________________________________________
 
Austin C. Moore III:
 
 
I agree in the rights to bear arms. However you drilled into me that those arms were to be used only to protect yourself and your family. As I recall you maintained your weapons at Tougaloo but presented a picture of non-violence in our quest for civil rights, which I bought into then and I continue to buy in now. Non-Violence was not a choice it was a condition of survival .  As you are aware I was raised in the mid-west, where guns were a weapon that was used to terrorize and control a community. Those who came from other regions of the country were brought up differently. In Mississippi they were used to terrorize a people. 
 
I do not want to be critical  or offend anyone who feels that they need to kill innocent animals (Deer, bear or fowl)  for their pleasure under the guise of sportsmanship, were I  may enjoy sportsmanship on a equal playing field. Such as Golf, Tennis or Basketball where skills are equally matched. I don't think it should be a qualifying  factor for Obama or Bidden to kill a deer to be president. I will defend your right to the end to bear arms, to inflict your power on the innocent animals for your sport and Palins pleasure were by I feel she is a air-head and Mc Cain has Alzheimer's coming  fast if not already there. I don't feel that qualifications for President should depend on your willingness to kill a deer or more at issue,  than being a Prisoner of War. All guns are not used for sport e.g. Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy , Robert Kennedy and almost John Randall Salter.
 
This is an election to be President of the United States no a beauty contest or a popularity contest. I am voting for Obama not because he happens to be 1/2 Black but he is the most qualified. Where I feel that 80% of the public is voting for Mc Cain not because he is the most qualified but because he is not Black. I come to tears as I see so many outstanding people come to the aid of  Obama because you know this is a time that I felt that I would never see in my life time. Hunter I owe that to you.
 
Austin

Response to Austin by Hunter:

Thanks very much, Austin, for your good and full post.  I always appreciate a good word -- and you have provided me with several.  Things get a little isolated these days and I'm always glad to hear from tried and true companeros like yourself.  Never hesitate to give you, yourself, full credit.  You're a very good person who Eldri and I always remember in the most positive fashion.
 
It's pretty obvious that it's going to be a very tight race, at least as all the signs now point.  I think Obama/Biden are going to need every single vote they can get.  I do agree that they don't need to kill a deer to prove themselves.  But I do think they need to formulate an approach aimed at sincerely reassuring folks in the hinterland that they, Obama et al., are essentially OK on things such as hunting [which is often for meat, sometimes as a key subsistence factor] and guns [often kept for self-defense.]  Medgar had nine firearms and carried a pistol in his Oldsmobile.
 
Here, if you have time, are a couple of links [from our website] that explore those issues:
 
 
 
The latter is a much reprinted article of mine, "Civil Rights and Self-Defense"
 
Anyway, enough of that.  You sound just fine, same as always.  All things considered, we are essentially OK. 
 
But it does get isolated -- and it's always very good to hear from old friends such as yourself.  We hear pretty regularly from Bette Anne Pool [Chicago], Mary Ann Hall Winters [Chicago], Joan Trumpauer Mulholland [Arlington, Va].
 
Anyway, take care, Austin.  Our very best from Eldri and myself!
 
WWW [We Will Win -- you remember, our Jackson Boycott slogan]
 
Hunter or John

__________________________________

 
My Far Northeastern [ Maine] Cousin On My Father's  Side:
 
Dear Hunter Gray,

Your Penobscot cousin is writing to let you know that the Obama-Biden ticket
is having a difficult time for too many reasons. Namely, America's racism is
alive and well wherever it lives, and within the hearts of most. Some can
overcome its powerful forces; others never try or know the difference.

I know your stance on racism: it is the same in my life and home. As for
Obama-Biden? i'm afraid the white female, Hillary-backers will prevail. If
so, i'm officially changing my political status to "gop." That's right,
Hillary's refusal to run as vp and the Clinton's lack of support means
defeat for young Obama. Most of us hoped there would've been a Obama-Clinton
ticket for this election -- a great advancement to all minorities and
especially women. Too bad: we are looking at another loss to hideous
emotions and gruesome righteousness. Thanks for keeping me informed!

 
George, tribal elder
 
____________________________________
 

And Again From George:

 
Hunter Gray,
I appreciate your thoughtful words and perspectives on racism, particularly where it relates to the 2008 presidential elections. Ms. Palin really pissed me off when she said, "They even think differently than we do." I was shocked to hear her fascist words: her expression was cheered by the McCain-Bush audience.

I don't look forward to feeling eight more years of Bush-like repression that was known by most non-white ethnic people. Not only was Bush's audience carefully screened, but people could lose their jobs for vocalizing their displeasure with Herr Bush's war. In Maine, a middle-school teacher eventually lost his job when his remarks were made public. The National Guard's Commander cast the teacher as "aiding and abetting" on the front page of Maine's rural newspaper, The Bangor Daily News.

To anyone reading my email, never let anyone own you or terrorize you to the point of losing your freedom of speech. It is a constitutional right, absolutely. In contrast to my past fears of America's possible inability to accept Obama as their President, I believe there is a chance. Based on local GOP officials casting doubt on credible voter registration throughout America, I see last minute actions showing the GOP's disbelief that Obama has a very real chance of becoming the next U.S. President. Thanks for keeping us informed,

George T., Tribal Elder, Indian Island, Maine.

 
 
From Hunter:
 
Dear George:
 
This from your itinerant half-breed cousin in the now somewhat snowy Snake River country.
 
Thanks very much indeed for your very good, solid letter.  It's a good shot of bright sunlight that I much appreciate.  It's clear we see things in a very similar way -- including, very much, freedom of speech.  I think Obama will win -- though it could be close, probably closer than for many of the Democratic challengers in the Congressional races.  Idaho is still pretty pervasively Republican -- though it wasn't until fairly recently.  In the '90s, lawyer Larry EchoHawk [Pawnee], based in this region [the base of the late Senator Frank Church], was state Attorney General -- a Democrat -- and came very close to winning the gubernatorial race.  This particular area, Southeastern Idaho, is pretty strongly Democratic. Fairly strong labor union base and most of the folks at and around the nearby Ft Hall res [Shoshone/Bannock] are mostly Democrats.  Lots of small ranchers, some small farmers, all over this region.  But some racism is still all too present in the Gem State -- as it often is in "America north of Mexico."  Anyway, we support the Democrats -- who will do well in the local races in these parts but for the remainder of the state it's uncertain.  Guns are big in the West -- as they are in many other places.  I have a bumper sticker on our Jeep that says, "I'm A Gun Totin' Idaho Democrat."
 
The early snow is bringing game down from the higher country.  We live 'way up on the far western edge of Pocatello -- with U.S. Bureau of Land Management/US Forest Service lands only a good stone's throw from our house. Lots of wild game can come quite close.  Before I was hit so heavily with Lupus a little more than five years ago, I used to hike six miles in the pre-dawn/early morning in the very high hills immediately above us.  Did that almost every day with my dog [usually on a leash.]  Often followed at a short distance by the same several coyotes and occasionally by a curious, maybe even friendly, mountain lion.  I'm a good, traditional hunter for meat [have been since I was seven years old] but really can't do it physically at this point.  Our youngest, Josie, and her husband, Cameron, hunt regularly this time of year and keep our freezer filled with elk meat.  They live nearby.
 
Other family members are doing OK -- most still scattered into western  Minnesota and eastern Nebraska. Thomas and his spouse are now in Minneapolis.  Eldri is fine and Maria and her daughter, Samantha, continue to live with us.
 
Well, let's hope Obama et al make it.  If I were a gambler [I'm not -- whether casinos or the stock market] -- my money would be on a victory for Barack and Biden and for a good many Congressional Demos.
 
I haven't seen Anything on a national basis like Palin since George Wallace came north in '68.  Well before John Lewis [who I know slightly] drew that analogy, I had made it a number of times following her "emergence".
 
Well, hang with it, amigo -- as I know you do and will.  Glad you like the things I send -- and, again, I much appreciate your encouragement.
 
Hunter or John or Whatever
 
 

AND MY [HUNTER] WIDELY POSTED PIECE, "AMERICAN RACISM / ETHNOCENTRISM", OCTOBER 12 2008:

 
Like all back and forth discussions, this on RBB regarding race and racism can -- probably unavoidably -- become a little diffuse. One of the problems involved is obviously the interesting mix of cynicism with various political perspectives, some of which are obviously sharply critical of Barack Obama on ideological grounds [to say nothing of the Democratic Party in general,]

As I've indicated, I support Obama -- in the sense of critical support. I can appreciate all of the other perspectives. But let's not overlook the tremendous importance of this historical moment. If the United States [and Canada as well] have a still all-too-pervasive sickness, it is dehumanizing racism and that related and intertwined ill, cultural ethnocentrism -- the many varieties of alleged "cultural superiority/inferiority". Long after the initial and explicit [and, again I say explicit] economic foundations of these have eroded, the quack theological justifications ["primitive children of the Devil"] and the equally quack biological rationales ["inherent, genetic inferiority of non-whites"] -- all of this to justify genocide against the Indian nations in order to secure lands and resources, and the enslavement of Blacks, and the seizure of Mexican territory, and all the rest --, racism and ethnocentrism have continued with consistency, taking on and carrying their own ill-life forward: profound infections in our national minds and our national bodies. Often all of this still retains, however veiled these days, an economic foundation -- but these durable poisons can certainly survive purely "on their own" and do so in a vast number of cases. [See http://hunterbear.org/AMERICAN%20RACISM.htm ]

True, in the past few decades, we've come a very long way in a very short time toward digging much of this out, exposing it all to healing forces, "overcoming" -- albeit far too slowly. But, as everyone of us on these discussion lists knows, there is one hell of a long way to go.

When Barack Obama won the Iowa Democratic Primary, I commented on a number of lists: "It wasn't so long ago that we had to fight to survive at a Woolworth lunch counter."

But this Good War is far from over.

In Solidarity,


Yours, H.
 

_________________________________________________
 

Sam  Friedman:

 
I had a conversation about gun politics at our weekly anti-war vigil last Saturday with a guy who strongly supports Obama and is planning to spend time volunteering in Ohio for the campaign.  He was an example of a person who is clueless about the use of guns even in much of the East.  He had no idea that for many people, their ability to shoot a deer or two for the family freezer was an important part of their food supply, and that this is important in a lot of Eastern and midwestern cities.

Of course, there are Westerners who support gun rights who also seem not to understand this about the East...  :)
 
Sam

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Reber Boult:
 
"But her hunting . . . credentials are solid," says Hunter

I've wondered about that.  I haven't paid enough attention to satisfy the wonder because I've been resisting the guilty pleasure of sating my morbid curiosity about the Palin phenomenon (I've said: Every minute we spend, every key we strike, on the subject of Palin is a minute or keystroke lost from the task of supporting Obama or opposing McCain.  Hey, that's why they put her on the ticket--to distract us from the real issues.  And the Republicans get the additional benefit that most of the things we slam her on, righteously, are things that, especially after our slams highlight them, will get more white people to support her.  Has anybody not yet noticed that the race is about racism?)

But I remember some stuff about her shooting animals from aircraft.  Is that accurate?  Is that hunting?  Doesn't "hunting" mean you looked for the prey?  If it's just a flyover, where's the "hunt"?  Wouldn't the more accurate word be "shooting" or "killing"?  Like when businessmen and Vice Presidents go to "game ranches" in Texas where they're given animals and birds to shoot at?

- Reber Boult
 
Response by Hunter Bear:
 
I think Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, do have solid hunting credentials, Reber.  [See Reber's, attached.] They appear to know, from the ground, their way around the woods.
 
I don't know if she's done aerial hunting -- or not.  I've never done that -- and I never would and I've never, in decades of hunting and traveling in wilderness settings, ever known or even heard of anyone who did that.  On game preserves for  the Big Mules of politics and corporate business, I have only scorn.  I have known a very few people who've "gotten their bear" via the very sad "bear baiting" approach: i.e., planting food out on a regular basis and thus "conditioning" the bear to come regularly -- until it's finally dispatched into Eternity and triumphantly photographed.  Never my style, believe me -- no way.
 
I don't consider any of those foregoing approaches to constitute Real Hunting.  As I've indicated, my style involves a "loner" approach.  Sometimes I'll carefully track game, sometimes wait by a watering place, often just hike slowly and quietly and see what I can turn up. 
 
And I'm my own guide.
 
Yours, Hunter [Hunter Bear]
 
Comment by Bob Gately:
 
Well said, Hunter, Mano y Animal, it gets real personal, real spiritual when two species meet in one or the others environment. Shooting fish in a barrel is to add lead to your diet. Meeting a bear in the wilderness is to steel oneself for the challenges that will surely lie ahead in life. Lucky for us ,you met your Bear at an early age and learned that to meet with a powerful foe, you best be armed to equal the odds.

Best always
,

Bob Gately


 
cowboysonmars.com is coming back to earth at the speed of light...Welcome aboard !
 

Comment by Mato Ska:

This is the explanation from the Humane Society and the state of Alaska. I don't support aerial hunting but am not opposed to it. There are few times when a hunt is really on equal terms for both the hunter and the hunted, but I agree with Hunter that there is a ritual as ancient as humanity within it. This discussion is what got me in trouble with the Secular Humanist e-list, so please don't think I expect people to agree with me or am taking this as a personal crusade. Far from it. But, I am not just saying it to outrage people. The situation in Alaska is unique.

Mato
 

___________________________________

 
Alex Briscoe:
 
Hi Hunter,

Thanks for the article, it's always interesting to read your thoughts on the second amendments and elections, etc.

As for myself, I'm voting Nader/Gonzalez to show others what we need, to educate for a future third party movement, etc.

Obama and McCain are like heart disease and cancer.  McCain is not anti-2nd like Obama and his lib backers, but he and the NRA have done little to pass carry laws (ie truly enforce the 2nd) in the large cities of the U.S., where 2nd amendment rights are truly needed, especially for labor and political activists like myself, let alone those living the in the ghetto or the barrios.  The NRA huffs and puffs about gun ownership, but has done little on this front.  It's a big bureacracy, which has been more interested in lobbying clout and protecting past gains and more fundraising than it is about taking risks to restore our rights in the areas where most people live.

Of course McCain's foriegn policy is more openly reactionary than Obama's as seen in his positions recently over Bolivia and Venez.

Obama, on the other hand, comes from Chicago, home of one of the most corrupt and violent political machines in the U.S.  He and Daley have always supported disarming honest workers from carrying, even increasing the penalties from misdemeanor to felony, as gang wars worsen due to the destruction of public housing, the social safety net and the recession.

I'm happy these hypocrites are being forced to repeal their reactionary laws, but I don't trust Obama.  He wants a sugar-coated neo-liberal regime and the 2nd amendment for the majority does not accord with that.

I did ask Nader what his position was on the 2nd, and he said that Heller v DC was positive, that it was restoring the 2nd amendment.  He also said that he'd like to see more safety features for guns, such as locks, to protect children and that he was in favor of gun registration.  I pointed out that Howie Hawkins, was against state registration of polit party membership, as the state is not neutral in the battle for democracy.  Similar points could be made for gun registration.

I feel Nader has listened in the past (the issue of civil rights for gays) and he will listen in the future.

Anyway, organizing around the 2nd amendment in Chicagoland is difficult b/c of so many white blockheads who believe in almost nothing but individualism which defaults to institutional racism.  The Black community is dominated by Sunday preachers who fall in line with Daley for patronage.


So, anyway, we've still got a way to go and I don't trust either of the corporate candidates to help us along.

Yours,

Alex
 

COMMENT BY HUNTER BEAR [SEPTEMBER 14 2008]:

Thanks very much, Steve, for posting the relatively depthy piece on Sarah Palin in today's New York Times magazine.  It's well worth passing around to our lists and I'm doing so via this post.
 
But not a great many in the American hinterland [heartland] read that.  And while a few TV folks -- notably Olberman and Matthews on MSNBC -- are currently pursuing the "limitations" of Ms Palin with some commendable zeal, she's generally being handled pretty carefully by most media.
 
It's not an original assessment now to say that Obama's campaign is in considerable trouble -- and we're beginning to pick up substantive concerns at the level of Democratic Congressional races.  Expectations of a Demo sweep there are now being scaled back.  Apparently the once fiscally flush Obama campaign is now having funding problems which seem to have begun following the end of the primaries.
 
I'm neither impressed nor reassured when some pundits say in effect, "Well, if the Obama campaign can take these three [or those four] battleground states, they can make it."  Obama/Biden are going to need every damn vote they can garner -- and that's obviously very much the fact at the Congressional level.
 
It's too easy to say that the issue is "race."  While only the most myopic would discount that as a key factor, there are obviously other dimensions playing a significant role as well.  The failure to add Hillary to the ticket is most likely one.  But the others involve, as I've [and others] have noted. the fact that -- almost immediately following the primaries -- Obama shifted "to the center", abandoning some of his previously solid positions and giving the explicit impression of a guy who vacillates.
 
I posted my piece, "Obama et al. and the Gun Culture" a few days ago.  That drew a number of thoughtful comments -- from Maine to California. [I've posted only some of those on our new webpage.]  From the pretty much pro-Obama SNCC list, aside from Sam Friedman's thoughtful and  broadly posted thoughts, there came only one response in two sentences:  "But of course the real question is why can’t people afford the food they need?  The issue of guns or not is a diversion."
 
And that's myopic.  But I suspect that's a view all too common in many contemporary liberal circles.
 
This is a big country with many cultural strains and a great many sub-cultural ones.  If Obama can stake out some bold and meaningful positions and stick with them, if the good fires in the colleges and universities can be refueled -- and if he [of Chicago identity] and Biden [an urban Easterner] can reach out on a number of fronts [including guns and hunting] -- genuinely and sincerely -- to the small towns and rural settings,[as well as those such-minded in the larger urban areas], I think Obama et al. stand a good chance at victory.
 
And Ms. Palin & Co. are, through the glitter and shine, disturbing entities for sure.
 
Hopefully,
 
H.

__________________________________________________________________

Mary Ann Hall Winters:

Hi Mr. Salter ,

Interesting observations. Must admit that I know very little about the NRA with the exception of having read a little on the conservative stance politically of some of its leaders .
Nevertheless , I am for firearms as a mean of self-defense but all too often they end up in the wrong hands  in the wild wild urban jungle. My dad and my brother hunted when we lived in Mississippi and we always had a gun in our home.
I'll still take Obama/Biden over McCain/Palin any day and it has little to do with Obama being an African-American, although I'm quite proud of that fact.
Regards to the rest of the clan.
 

WWW,

Mary Ann

 
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John M. Solbach [A Cousin on my Mother's Side and a Leading Kansas Democrat:

Hunter,

Thanks always for the stream of thought cascading through your rich, mature, riparian political woodland. Refreshing, cool, clear, teeming with trout . . . invites good fishing; enough to share some with others.

John M. Solbach  

______________________________________________________________________

COMMENT BY HUNTER BEAR: MINNESOTA [SEPTEMBER 15 2008]:

 

For me to say much more at this point -- and maybe even into the near future -- about the important need for the Obama campaign to reach out, and fast, to small town and rural people and very much to hunters and gunpersons, would be redundant.  As many Indian elders are prone to say following their specific topical exposition, "I have said all I have to say."

 
But the fact that Obama, who was substantively ahead in Minnesota, is now abruptly even with McCain/Palin, is a hell of a shocker and one can only hope that it's interpreted by the Democrats as a very, very signal wakeup Cry.  The poll results were issued by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a thoroughly reputable newspaper.
 
Minnesota is a state we know very well -- right to the contemporary moment.
 
Despite its current Republican governor, Minnesota has long been a basically dependable Democratic bastion -- home of vigorous farmer/labor sentiment.  Its union labor movement has survived better than that in many other settings. The Native population is relatively large.  While racism is certainly alive there, as it across the land, it's not a historically potent force in Minnesota -- certainly not compared, say, to Ohio and Indiana and many other places.
 
Why this Obama tumble?
 
Whatever the specific complex of factors, Minnesota is a very strong hunting and fishing and gun state.  Again, this involves a topic which makes many coastal liberals uneasy -- probably liberals generally.  It may seem easier to simply "not get into that."
 
But, again, I think the Obama campaign is going to have to address that particular dimension, constructively and sincerely -- in "The Land of  Ten Thousand Lakes".
 
And very, very much nationally as well.
 
[Eldri, who has many early Minnesota and North Dakota roots, was born at Moose Lake.  As a young person, she lived at one point in Minneapolis and is a sociology graduate of Augsburg College which is based at that city.  Her brother, Arnold, was chair of Philosophy at Moorhead State University for three decades.  She has close kin in the state.  Our oldest son, John, has lived at Glyndon for years.  I taught for an academic year at Wisconsin State, Superior, where I met Eldri -- right across from Duluth.  When we were based at Grand Forks, North Dakota, for 16 years, we lived just across the Red River from Minnesota. Our grandson/son, Thomas, now finishing his fourth year of Med School at University of Minnesota at  Minneapolis, put in his two initial years at the Duluth campus.   The state abounds with former students of mine who went to University of North Dakota on the interstate reciprocal admission/tuition program.  And, in addition to those, we have many other friends and associates in the state.] 
 
This wake-up call should be heard and swiftly acted on -- to the Four Directions.

Yours, Hunter
 

 

 
 
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'
 
Check out our Hunterbear website Directory http://hunterbear.org/directory.htm
[The site is dedicated to our one-half Bobcat, Cloudy Gray:
http://hunterbear.org/cloudy_gray.htm
 
See our Community Organizing Course [with new material]
http://hunterbear.org/my_combined_community_organizing.htm
 
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear] 
http://www.hunterbear.org/GRAY%20LANDS%20AND%20GRAY%20GHOSTS.htm

 

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