Sunday, April 6, 2008

"...Pry it From My Cold Dead Fingers..."

With the news this weekend of the death of actor Charlton Heston, I couldn't help but think of the phrase which either endeared or repelled him to you: "...the only way the government will take my gun from me is to pry it from my cold, dead fingers...".

Although I am a hunter, member of a local gun club (sporting clays and trap)and a staunch believer in Second Amendment Rights, I do not buy into the right-wing political agenda of the NRA and their often knee jerk members. The fact that many of the NRA's working class members vote against their own economic interests when told to do so from on high by the NRA's bourgeois leadership always astounds me.

So it was with this somewhat conflicted mentality that I attended a screening of Michael Moore's anti-gun film "Bowling for Columbine" some years back with my then 8 year old and now 13 year old hunting companion, son. As much as I agree with Mr. Moore on such issues as greed and the lack of business ethics among the leaders in corporate America, national single payer healthcare, social justice and economic populism, I have to say that the late Mr. Heston got the best of Michael Moore when he attempted to conduct an ambush interview after the actor graciously granted the grandstanding Moore's request for an interview after buzzing him from the front gate of Heston's estate, the location which he got from a map of the Hollywood stars' mansions.

I have to believe that Mr. Moore knew that Mr. Heston got the best of him and left the segment in the film out of respect for a man who would invite a stranger, with whom he had to know vehemently disagreed with him on the issue of gun control, but nevertheless invited him into his home for a civilized discussion on the issue.

I just have to wonder what was found in Mr. Heston's hand when he shed the mortal coil and whether he was confronted by a sign at the Pearly Gates which read: "Guns Not Allowed on these Premises"?

May Moses rest in peace.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Letter to Editor, Law & Politics: Norman's Inquest

I had to chuckle when I read Senator Coleman's opening shot against prospective DFL opponent Al Franken in your cover story: Norman's Conquest, April/May 2008, No. 169. Senator Coleman's attempt to reduce Mr. Franken's collective work over the past decade and a half as a political analyst, citizen activist and spokesperson for such causes as the anti-predatory lending campaign way back in 2001, well before it was on the public's radar, as merely an "angry satirist" shows just how little Coleman knows of his opponent.

Contrary to the false perception created by commentators who never listened to his show, Mr. Franken hosted one of the best radio programs in the country dedicated to serious discussions on government policy. Far from the undeserved label of "the left's answer to Rush Limbaugh", Franken's program on Air America Radio had some of the most informed guests, from all shades of the political spectrum, and every topic discussed was extensively footnoted with references to the original source materials on the program's excellent companion web page.

To answer the Senator's rhetorical question, I would much rather have Mr. Franken representing my children and I in the U.S. Senate than the man who ran as a Democrat and was elected to his first term as St. Paul Mayor and then switched parties in one of the most notorious and despicable examples of political hypocrisy and opportunism ever recorded.