Many families have a wild and nutty relative, a person that at parties will plant a lampshade on his head, tell inappropriate jokes in front of children, guests and women, and generally engages in embarrassing behavior.
We – the five million members of the National Rifle Association – have a crazy uncle, too.
Worse, we facilitate Uncle Ted Nugent’s crash rudeness and all-too frequent deplorable acts that - while they may prick the thin skins of the Anti-Second Amendment Lobby - they also do nothing to enhance our organization’s image before a much less tolerant public. A public, by the way, we’re going to need this election cycle to help defeat the likes of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Nugent’s latest episode should be that last straw; an act so lacking in dignity, self-control and just plain meanness that as an organization we must relegate Uncle Ted to the basement.
His latest over-the-top – no, hatred - rant involves a posting that Nugent recently wrote (February 8th) on his Facebook account. This diatribe included photographs of a dozen leading members of what I prefer to call the Anti-Second Amendment Lobby.
The names are familiar to each of the NRA’s five million members. Among those whom Nugent singled out were California’s retiring Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the Anti-Second Amendment Lobby’s sugar daddy and former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.
Of course Nugent had every right and reason to note that this group of 12 men and women hold in contempt the Second Amendment along with the NRA and its membership roster, which features several members of my family; my wife and me included.
However, Nugent went far beyond simply showing the 12 faces and correctly identifying them as being opponents of a treasured Constitutional right. He included electronically pasting the image of an Israeli flag across each of the faces of his 12 chosen Anti-Second Amendment Lobby activists.
Adding another disgusting anti-Semitic viewpoint, Nugent tossed more volatile words on his hate-filled fire. He tattooed to the photograph of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg this written notation: “(He) gave Russian Jews millions of your tax dollars.”
Certainly I hold little regard for Bloomberg, a billionaire with a trillion-dollar-size ego. But Nugent’s screed that Bloomberg is an “Israeli agent” that helps fund that Middle East state goes well beyond simply being an embarrassment. It is hateful. It is uncalled for. It is unnecessary.
And it is politically counterproductive to protecting the Second Amendment; a task now made more challenging because we the members of the NRA are letting our crazy uncle get away with his hate speech.
News accounts do note that my wife and I are not alone in the pro-Second Amendment camp in denouncing Nugent’s horrid display of anti-Semitism.
Not that it has done any good.
When the founder of “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership,” Aaron Zelman, denounced Nugent’s unspeakable harangue, Uncle Ted fired back at the person he once said was “my American BloodBrother” with “How tragic that the self inflicted scourge of political correctness can blind so many otherwise intelligent people!”
In other words, Nugent simply cannot grasp the damage and danger his pen and mouth pose to advancing the pro-Second Amendment agenda of the NRA membership.
And don’t be fooled. The opponents of the Second Amendment have wasted no time in capitalizing on what Nugent refuses to accept: That words do hurt a good cause.
No, it is time long past that the NRA’s membership insist that Uncle Ted be directed back to the cellar, the door closed and there for him to be forgotten as one of the Anti-Second Amendment Lobby’s best weapons.
Take note as well that if the NRA refuses to take action against Nugent, well, the organization will have seen the last $50 check from me for the organization’s up-coming political campaign.
Even more, Bev and I will simply no longer renew our respective memberships once they become due.
We can tolerate an embarrassing, lampshade-wearing uncle. What we will not do is facilitate a venom-filled one that spews the kind of hateful bile spewed by the likes of Ted Nugent.
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.