Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- The NRA, in a decision labeled by Wayne LaPierre as “the most exciting news for our members since Charlton Heston became President of our Association,” has chosen Oliver North as the organization’s new president.
The 1980s was the decade when I became politically aware. This news has set me to wondering what the NRA could be thinking. North’s convictions that came out of the Iran-Contra scandal were overturned, thanks in part due to work done by the ACLU, given that the evidence against him could not be separated from his testimony to Congress that was protected by an immunity agreement, but the fact remains that he was involved in the transfer of arms to Iran, despite what gets claimed as our nation’s policy against negotiating with terrorists, and passing of funds to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, a series of illegal acts, much of which, according to his own admission, were done without the authorization and even knowledge of top officials in the Reagan administration.
This was my introduction to the dark side of politics, the revelation to me that our leaders were not always trustworthy. It also gave me an opportunity for my first foray into political comedy, my observation that Ronald Reagan had come down with aides disease. As with the national debt, I now find myself wishing we could return to levels of official law-breaking that we enjoyed in those bygone days.
But there is a separate doubtful aspect in the choice of Oliver North to be the president of the NRA. LaPierre, the executive vice-president, and others in the organization are the people in charge. The president’s job, so far as I see it, is outreach. And whatever we may think of North’s activities in the 80s, he is not the best choice for today.
Consider the people we need to reach. That part of America’s demographics does not include leftover cold warriors. They’re probably on our side already. If the protection of gun rights is to remain and if more in this country are going to exercise those rights, we have to win over women, minorities, and millennials. White men over the age of forty will continue to be a significant percentage of the population for a long time to come, but we are not even now the only voting bloc to have influence, and while rights are not the result of majority opinion, the will of the majority does affect who gets to use rights legally and to what extent.
I’m not here advocating for some kind of quota system. Hire the best person for the job in question. But this job, the job of appealing to people who are not currently supporters of gun ownership and rights, is about the face that we present to the public. Nor is it an attempt to punish North in the absence of due process. The ACLU was right to defend him in court. The so-called technicalities are an essential aspect of protecting our rights under the law. But this isn’t a trial. It’s public relations, and the NRA is once again shooting itself in the foot. All of this leaves me asking one question:
Was Colion Noir not available?
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.