ShareThis Page
Joseph Sabino Mistick

Joseph Sabino Mistick: Pelosi, NRA show how easily tables can be turned

| Saturday, March 10, 2018, 9:00 p.m.
About 20 protesters participate in a die-In on the fourth floor rotunda of the Florida Capitol, in Tallahassee Tuesday, March 6, 2018, as they continue to push for an assault weapons ban. Lawmakers in the Florida House were debating a gun/school safety bill at the time. (Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)
About 20 protesters participate in a die-In on the fourth floor rotunda of the Florida Capitol, in Tallahassee Tuesday, March 6, 2018, as they continue to push for an assault weapons ban. Lawmakers in the Florida House were debating a gun/school safety bill at the time. (Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)

If all goes well for supporters of gun reform, the National Rifle Association could soon become the next Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, the only woman to serve as speaker of the House of Representatives, will always have her supporters. But her demonization by national Republicans has made her their go-to message in every close campaign against a Democrat. According to Republican attack ads, every Democrat running for anything is just another vote for Pelosi, already portrayed by the GOP as out of touch with the average voter — and worse. Once they demonized her, it was easy to create guilt by association.

But this is a tactic that cuts both ways, one that can just as easily be used by those targeted by it. Niccolo Machiavelli, the Italian political philosopher, warned against demonization, because the tables can be so easily turned.

Now, because of the political activism of the surviving high school students of Parkland, Fla., the NRA is starting to feel the sting of demonization. And the students are giving others strength.

It started with Donald Trump's initial response to the Parkland slaughter, which was to suggest seizing guns from dangerous people first and giving them their due process afterward. And he accused lawmakers of being “afraid” to take on the NRA, creating gun-reform campaign ads that write themselves.

In Florida, the NRA and politicians who support it are being called out on billboards. One calls the NRA a “terrorist organization.” Another accuses Florida Gov. Rick Scott of doing nothing in the months between the Pulse nightclub slaughter and the Parkland school slaughter. And three large truck signs take aim at Sen. Marco Rubio, who has benefited from NRA support and called the recent shootings “inexplicable.” The signs say: “Slaughtered in school,” “And still no gun control?” followed by “How come, Marco Rubio?”

A number of national businesses have cut ties with the NRA, including First National Bank of Omaha, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Allied Van Lines, North American Van Lines, Avis Budget Group, Hertz, Enterprise Holdings, Met Life and Chubb, according to The New York Times.

In Colorado, 400 members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America filled the state Capitol rotunda and lobbied to stop a repeal of limits on high-capacity magazines. One of the moms said it's different now, because the Parkland students are “taking the lead.”

Retailers Dick's Sporting Goods and Wal-Mart have raised the age for gun purchasers. REI has suspended orders for outdoor gear made by a company that also sells guns. And public pension funds are reconsidering their investments in gun manufacturers and retailers.

The NRA can drop its inflexible interpretation of the Second Amendment and help find a solution. But if it continues to dig in, running the risk that it will become more widely seen as a political pariah, the most effective political attack ads won't claim that a candidate is a “Nancy Pelosi supporter.” They'll claim that a candidate has a “100-percent rating by the NRA.”

Joseph Sabino Mistick is a Pittsburgh lawyer (joemistick.com).

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me