Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Gun Show Today

This gun show was rather like gun shows were in Sonoma County, California before about 1991. Gobs and gobs of guns, lots of people, but it didn't seem like an enormous of buying of guns was happening. There were lots of accessories, ammunition, and the like going out the door.

I only spoke to one person who actually lives in my district--but quite a few people who have friends or family in district 22, and took a flyer to hand off to them. What startled me, considering that they aren't in the district, was how many people I spoke to knew who the incumbent was, and agreed that he was too liberal to represent district 22--and maybe even too liberal to represent a district in Boise. I am getting encouraged. The one person with whom I spoke who was actually from my district sounded very positive, and I suspect will arrange a coffee with neighbors and friends over in Elmore County to meet the candidate.

Of course, there's a selection bias here. This is a gun show, and I would expect that would bias the voters a bit conservative. But one recent Idaho arrival (whose accent told me he was from the Northeast) told me that he wasn't even a Republican, and found much in my flyer that he found attractive. He was also one of the more knowledgeable people that I have met in Idaho about the nexus of gun control and black history.

Everyone has a story, and some are more interested than others in talking. I am pleased to report that I only talked to one person suffering from conspiracy theories: Catholic/Masonic/Illuminati/CFR one worldism--five members of the Supreme Court are Catholics! "I've never been much interested in politics," he told me, but Ron Paul running for President got this guy involved. (Why am I not surprised?) One such person out of this many conversations actually is a pretty decent ratio; I shudder to think what the ratio would be at a meeting of DailyKos readers!

These are always difficult conversations for me. Even though this guy isn't in my district, I prefer not to unnecessarily offend or anger someone. Instead, I take the approach that it is best to point out evidence that would damage the neat little world that elaborate conspiracy theories usually spin. For example, I pointed out that several of the Catholic justices are clearly hostile to unconstitutional expansions of government power, and that rather than looking for Cardinal Spellman behind the assassination of John Kennedy, it might more sense to look at the CIA plots against Castro described in the Church Committee report, Lee Harvey Oswald's involvement with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (a Communist front group), and the possibility that this was some sort of tit for tat.

Conspiracy theories are very popular with certain kinds of people. They used to be associated with conservatives, like the John Birch Society, but you can find far more examples today on the left: the perennial JFK theories (and admittedly, how the Warren Commission operated opened a lot of reasons to be skeptical); TWA 800; 9/11, and so on.

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