The 2016 US election campaign is getting odder by the minute. Issues and concerns, policies and plans, positions and stances have all been abandoned and replaced by pandering to the lowest common denominator. Clinton vs Trump has degenerated into a slagging match the likes of which has never been seen before at this level.
Old statements are dredged up and thrust at the candidates who either deny them outright, or stick to them even if proven wrong. No amount of paperwork is going to get Trump to stop playing the birther card – thinly veiled racism that it is – so long as his constituents cling to it.
Last Friday Trump reiterated something he said last May while addressing the NRA. He called for Hillary Clinton’s bodyguards to disarm and see what happens.
“I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm, right? Take their guns away, she doesn’t want guns. Take their — and let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away. OK, it would be very dangerous.”
Trump bangs on about Clinton wanting to do away with the Second Amendment that, depending on who you listen to, enshrines the right of all Americans to bear arms. Clinton has never said she wants to get rid of the Second Amendment, although that would be a logical way to deal with the problem of guns, but would like to see some sensible movement regarding gun control.
But Trump likes to paraphrase his opponent to get the reaction he wants from his followers. Truth, even recorded and verifiable, plays no role in his campaigning. It is flabbergasting to an outside observer. It may well be time to start a Truthers movement!
Yet perhaps more astounding is the apparent distrust of government, any government, by US citizens. The silly old bumper sticker “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” is just that, silly.
In Canada we do not have the equivalent of a Second Amendment. You do not have the right to bear arms. That is not to say there are no guns, but ideally the only folks with guns would be police officers and members of the Canadian military.. (I am talking about urban areas. No one has ever questioned the use of guns in rural areas as tools of the farming and ranching trades.) Having your neighbours arm themselves as a means of self-defense is just a little bit scary. This is not the Wild West. We have police departments to ‘serve and protect’ the citizens.