I am a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and have always been pleased with their actions to defend the Second Amendment. As of last week, I can no longer support the NRA. They abandoned opposition to the Disclose bill currently before the House in return for a special exemption from the legislation. This bill requires organizations that run political advertisements and mailings to disclose their key donors if they advertise within 90 days of the primaries and continuing until the election. Rather than join forces with other First Amendment supporters to fight this bad piece of legislation, the NRA cut a deal to be exempted from it. Also exempted is the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), an organization that previously sold out their members to support the health care legislation.
This deal smells of dirty politics to me. The NRA is taking the position that if they are exempted, they will not stand in the way of Congress limiting free speech. From the reports I read, the Democrats decided to grant the NRA and other organizations exemptions to stop them from lobbying against the bill. Divide and conquer politics is what this is! Split the opposition in a way that the most powerful organizations that should oppose the legislation instead support it or at least remain silent. Once an organization gives up its principles and values and accepts the first bribe, it is much easier for them to be "encouraged" to work against the best interests of their members on future legislation.
The NRA claims that they could not effectively defend the Second Amendment if they are not exempted. When I called them up, I was switched to a recording about why this dastardly decision was good for the NRA and its members. Well to Messrs Chris W. Cox and Wayne LaPierre, I say stop shoveling bologna. Both you and your organization were effectively neutralized through bribery. They scratched your back, now it is time for the NRA executives to bow before the politicians who want to restrict free speech.
Let's look at the broader implications facing the NRA because of their caving into politicians on this issue. First, people like me who have believed in the NRA and donated to the cause, will stop donating. I for one will not give them another dime as long as they continue to be political pawns bowing and pontificating before our elected representatives. The outrage is spreading like wildfire through the Congress and the NRA membership itself. Secondly, once they cave on this issue, then it will be easier for those in power to twist their arm again. The NRA was a well-run organization in my mind. Now they have lost their virginity by sleeping with the elected members of Congress. Once virginity is lost, it can never be regained. I believe that the NRA can no longer be trusted to stand up and defend our constitutional rights. They sold us out!
At this point, the Disclose legislation is stalled. You can be sure that when time lulls us into complacency, say in two or three months, the legislation will be passed, likely in the dead of night. At that point, free speech will be more restricted than it was before the Supreme Court overturned corporate spending restraints in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission. Until a new law is passed, corporations and organizations are permitted to spend as much as they like from internal funds to advance their political interests. Members of Congress cannot accept this degree of free speech and, with the Disclose legislation are attempting not only to plug the hole caused by the Supreme Court decision, but also to restrict free speech even further. Congress has again proved that they can buy off opposition to bad legislation, one organization at a time. The NRA has been bought and paid for by the Democrats. The only question left to answer is who will sell out next?
By Gordon Smith
© 2010 Gordon Smith All Rights Reserved