The left is repeated trotting out two shibboleths to justify their blood libel that the right has created a climate of hate that set the stage for Jared Loughner's mass murder in Arizona. The first, Palin's map, has been addressed ad inifitum. That has mostly been dropped since it has been shown that the left did the same thing with maps, bull's eyeing targets for election contests. The second, however, Sharon Angle's reference to a "Second Amendment solution," is now appearing more and more as the justification for the left's scurrilous attacks
So what precisely did Ms. Angle say that has the left all atwitter? She was asked about the Second Amendment in a radio interview several months ago.
Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who's in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical...
Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.
Angle: Well it's to defend ourselves. And you know, I'm hoping that we're not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.
In a second interview, she spoke similarly:
"You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason, and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said, it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years," Angle said. "I hope that's not where we're going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."
So let's break that down. First, did she acurately describe the scope and history of the Second Amendment in both interviews? Going to the Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, that answer is decidedly yes. As the discussion of the history of the Second Amendment in that case makes clear, the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, and it was a right given in part in order to protect against tyrannical government.
The second portion of Ms. Angle's first statement was inartful at best, but is there anyone who thinks she was calling for revolt in the event she was not elected? Or did she mean that there is no need for armed rebellion so long as we have recourse to the ballot box? Contrast that with Rep. Kanjorski (D-Pa), who actually did call for the outright execution of a Republican - "put him up against a wall and shoot him" - last year.
In the second interview, is there anyone who thinks that she was advocating the murder of Harry Reid? Contrast that with, for but one example, the books and movies during the Bush years discussing his actual assassination.
Sharron Angle was the Republican version of Joe Biden - a cringe worthy gaffe-o-matic. But, to school my left wing readers, there is huge gulf between inartful gaffes and calls for outright assassination.
That said, let me reiterate Ms. Angles statement that a purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect against a tyrannical government. Despite what Ezra Klein may think, the fact that the document is over 200 years old does not vitiate in the least that purpose, embodied in this quote from Thomas Jefferson:
When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
I can see why the left is upset. That must be a nagging thought for a government that has moved our country far to the left against the will of the people and is now poised to further subvert our democracy by governing through regulatory bureaucracies, having them accrete and wield power that our elected representatives in Congress have refused to authorize. That is a bastardization of our republican form of government and, indeed, does move us incrementally closer to tyranny. I don't think anyone on the left thinks Sharron Angle was advocating armed rebellion, but I do think it struck a cord somewhere deep in the left's psyche. And well it should have.
That said, as Ms. Angle implied, our first, second, third, and next to last resort is to the ballot box. The penultimate question is not which side wins the election, but that the ballot be fair and free, and that the democratic / republican process be fully respected.