SixFifty

lessons from America

Gunning for the same side

Here in Cincinnati, the first political ad that came on the TV was an anti-Obama one about gun ownership / control.  It was paid for by the National Rifle Association – the organisation headed until recently by Charlton “you can wrench this gun from me over my cold, dead body” Heston.  It shows the fascinating prioritisation of issues in Ohio rather than the more liberal big cities of Denver and Minneapolis I’ve been to. 

However, there is a danger – as Obama found out to his cost with a remark in the primaries of “guns and bibles” that was spun and taken out of context – that you can unfairly stereotype based on views of gun ownership.

The first house I went to after arriving in Denver was of Stephen, a friend of Tyler’s, who comes from Maine and recently moved out west.  Stephen is a proud gun owner.  So proud he showed the guns off to me over dinner.   He has a rifle and a small gun (don’t ask me what type).

I felt quite uncomfortable with the closeness of these weapons and the way they were being so nonchalently handled.  I thankfully avoided having to do my own pose with them.  It just isn’t part of my culture.  But I do have to admit there at the same time I was a tiny bit fascinated by the guns. 

For Stephen, it is all very different.  He grew up in Maine hunting and using guns. And he sees having a gun in his home as a necessary element of personal protection, without having to rely on the cops who might not get there in time (his rationale). 

However, both of us are Obama supporters and on the progressive side of politics.  We share other values and political beliefs too.  Just not the gun thing.  An instructive lesson for me, and one that will no doubt be useful in my interactions with people in Ohio.

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October 31, 2008 Posted by | lessons from America | , , | 1 Comment