Marsha Blackburn has something in common with her fellow ultra-conservatives George W. Bush, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann: when she channels her inner Yoda, she can mangle English grammar with the worst of them. Here are a few not-so-sterling examples of Blackburn, a Tea Party and NRA favorite, in action:
“And this is the good thing.”
The quote above came as Blackburn tried to explain why shutting down the federal government in a “thoughtful” way, in order to cut spending, was “good.” In the batty belfries of her brain, the only resulting spending cuts would be “waste, fraud and abuse.” But if such things can be identified and eliminated, there is of course no need to shut the government down.
“Let’s agree ... that we’re not going to cry ‘emergency’ every time we have a Katrina, every time we have a tsunami ... .”
Yoda might mangle English grammar, but being wise he would know better than to suggest it’s wrong to call an emergency an emergency.
“We’re still needing to look at this mental health.”
Blackburn, like other barely literate right-wing conservatives, refuses to admit that easy access to automatic weapons and high-capacity ammo clips is a root cause of the recent rash of mass murders. The NRA’s political lackeys follow its irrational lead and point their fingers in every other possible direction.
“What I’m hearing is that people want to make certain that — first of all — that we protect the Second Amendment and their Second Amendment rights — protect their freedom and not impede that.”
This is like saying that freedom of religion should “not impede that” right to sacrifice children to the gods.
“We need to do a couple of things. Number one is to drill down on the mental health issue. Number two is to look at the psychiatric and psychotropic drugs, because that is many times linked to the individuals who carry out these crimes. They are also wanting to make certain that we begin to get in behind these video games.”
In her convoluted, ungrammatical way, Blackburn is trying to help the NRA shift the focus away from the oversupply of super-lethal weapons and ammo. But her logic is as bad as her math. Despite the gun lobby’s scapegoating of the mentally ill, people with mental health problems are not statistically more likely to be violent than other people. And of course Blackburn failed to mention the violent video games produced by the NRA, or the fact that the NRA also licenses guns to appear in other violent video games.
“The problem is it could be a hammer, a hatchet, a car.”
Yes, it is true that acts of violence can be carried out with hammers, hatchets and cars. But when was the last time that twenty children were deliberately killed in a few seconds with a hammer, hatchet or car? Mass murderers are selecting assault weapons for a very simple reason: they produce higher body counts. Intended victims can scatter and escape killers armed with less lethal weapons. But who can outrun showers of bullets fired in a matter of seconds?
Blackburn recently issued the following official statement regarding the gun control proposal announced by President Barack Obama:
“As a mother and grandmother, I believe we have an obligation to examine ways we can better protect our nation’s youth. We need to have a serious conversation about mental health, psychiatric drugs, and the potential impact violent video games and movies have on our kids. I will closely review the President’s proposals, however I am concerned his approach is a pre-determined attempt to redefine our Constitution. I am not going to allow this administration to trample on the Second Amendment or put new restrictions on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms and ammunition.”
Yes, the Second Amendment mentions the right of citizens to bear “arms.” But “arms” would include cannons, mortars, bazookas, missiles, nukes, etc. Surely no one would suggest that average Americans should be able to walk around carrying WMDs. President Obama is not trying to “redefine” the Constitution, but to protect the weakest and most vulnerable Americans from having their grade schools, kindergartens and daycare centers turned into slaughterhouses. Marsha Blackburn’s inability to speak coherently or think rationally makes her unfit to represent other Tennesseans. She should admit her obvious incompetence, and if not, it is our duty as voters to replace her with someone more qualified.
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.