No wonder Wayne LaPierre is freaking out
WASHINGTON -- I had supposed President Trump was causing only his opponents to freak out, not his supporters. Then I heard Wayne LaPierre.
To see the National Rifle Association boss speak this week at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference was to see a man in urgent need of mental-health intervention. He turned a conventional speech about guns (specifically, the need for more of them in schools) into a paranoid fantasy about a socialist takeover of the United States.
He saw a "tidal wave" of "European-style socialists bearing down upon us," creating a "captive society," eliminating "resistance," making a "list" in a cloud database of those who spank their children, expunging the "fundamental concept of moral behavior," controlling speech through "safe zones."
With this "new socialist wave in America," he said, "it's just a short hop to the systematic destruction of our most basic freedoms."
Had LaPierre fallen on his head and awakened in 1964? All that was missing was for him to quote General Jack D. Ripper in "Dr. Strangelove" on "the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."
And just who is perpetrating this red invasion, 27 years after the Soviet Union fell? Our billionaire president, who with his Cabinet and staff of billionaires and Goldman Sachs executives just secured a $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich? The Republican-controlled Congress, which seeks to dismantle the social-safety net and business regulations? The pro-business majority on the Supreme Court?
LaPierre singled out three billionaire capitalists to blame for the socialist revolution: George Soros, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. But he saw conspirators everywhere in the government -- Trump's government: the FBI (with its "corruption" and "rogue leadership"), the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the intelligence agencies. He also blamed the Democrats, media, Hollywood, universities, classrooms, Black Lives Matter, elites and Keith Ellison.
Even the CPAC audience seemed to be stunned by this unhinged time-traveler from the Cold War. "You know, I hear a lot of quiet in this room, and I sense your anxiety," he said. "And you should be anxious, and you should be frightened."
LaPierre was so frightened and anxious that CPAC wouldn't list a time for his speech in advance, to avoid protests. He travels with a huge security entourage, even though his opponents eschew guns. Does he think he will be pelted with sprouted quinoa?
And it isn't just LaPierre. His group's spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, exhorted the CPAC crowd to turn against reporters in the room, saying "many in the legacy media love mass shootings" because "crying white mothers are ratings gold."