The devil we know . . . .

My wife and I were talking last week about the NRA we knew when we were growing up after NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and the organization lashed out at companies who’d responded to a boycott movement, and eliminated perks and discounts for NRA members.

We were both in Scouts and attended summer camps where we received NRA training and certification in weapons, typically a .22-caliber long rifle and shotgun. The NRA at that time was a “mainstream and bi-partisan” group focused on hunting, marksmanship, safety and conservation.

How did it morph into the radical gun-rights group of today?

As I thought about the question, I started channeling Rod Serling. And changed my mind about President Trump. We NEED him to be president until 2020.

What happened to the all-American NRA before the late 1970s? What happened to its membership?

According to the Post story, NRA leaders and members deemed the Gun Control Act of 1968, which had the support of California Gov. Ronald Reagan, as “one that the sportsmen of America can live with.”

Nine years later, after careful planning, the NRA was taken over by guns rights hardliners in a surprise coup in the Revolt at Cincinnati in 1977. Read “How NRA’s true believers converted a marksmanship group into a mighty gun lobby” in The Washington Post, January 12, 2013. The link is http://tinyurl.com/y75t6ao6.

The New Guard introduced and propagandized the government as A Second-Amendment boogey man whose objective was to violate gun owners’ rights and take their guns away. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling” strategy worked.

What the NRA failed to mention and kept people distracted from with its propaganda onslaught is that “the government” is the people. If the people wanted to keep its Second Amendment rights inviolate, they could do so with the ballot box and without the NRA.

Not something the NRA wanted people to realize, so it expanded the list of boogey men to scare Americans even more into supporting it financially and buying more guns.

By the time the average NRA member realized what their organization had become, it was too late to reverse the hijacking.

A member who walked away and would be targeted by the NRA targets as turncoats, un-American, unpatriotic traitors. Easier to walk away from Scientology.

Yes, it’s a simplistic explanation. Twilight Zone? Not.

The NRA worked to ensure its survival and agenda by joining itself at the hip with the conservative Christian far right.

Which started me thinking again. And again channel Rod Serling.

Trump needs to remain president until 2020.

If he isn’t, then America will be taken over from within by the conservative Christian right like the NRA was, before any of us know what happened.

The conservative Christians have long supported the elimination of the separation between church and state explicit in the Constitution. An interesting hypocrisy, because they’re adamant opponents of any challenges or changes to the Second Amendment of that same Constitution.

The conservative Christians knew that the imposition of a theocracy would have to be done from within. Research their agenda and strategy statements.

To ensure the implementation of the conservative Christian agenda, it looked for a way in from the inside – the election of conservative Christian representatives in Congress to form a minority powerful enough to dictate legislative agenda and policy. Had to be the Republican party, the party of the right.

Donald Trump wanted to be president, for whatever reason, which has been subject to much speculation.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to understand the opportunity the conservative Christians saw for Trump to be their stalking horse.

The strategy — back Trump, allow him to run his campaign his way, agree to have the other candidates withdraw without appearing they had done so and hopefully have the long-shot who didn’t really want to be president win the White House.

The quid pro quo? The conservative Christians got to pick the vice president with political acumen and party support to be next in line.

The choice? Mike Pence, who calls himself a “Christian, a conservative and a Republican in that order.” Anti-abortion, anti-same sex marriages, signed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act which would have allowed widespread discrimination in the name of religion, wanted illegals to leave the country in order to qualify for a guest-worker program.

That Mike Pence.

When the conservative Christian right realized that their stalking horse had unexpectedly the election, the brilliant part of their strategy came into play.

They assumed that Trump would get himself impeached. Counted on it.

The 46th president? Mike Pence. The new VP? Someone appointed by the GOP controlled House, but rubber-stamped by the conservative Christians. One of the conservatives who dropped out of the race in exchange for the No. 2 position? Sen. Ted Cruz? Sen. Marco Rubio? Why would the House members agree? Because if they didn’t, the conservative Christians would sabotage any and all proposed legislation.

With Pence in the oval office and the conservative Christians wielding control of the GOP and Congress, the objective of taking over from within to effect the shift of the country to a theocracy would be achieved.

Trump has shot himself daily in the foot or other body parts these past months. Where has Pence been with his visible and vocal support? Where have the GOP and the conservative Christians been?

And if Trump weren’t his own worst enemy, it’s not unreasonable that Pence and the conservative Christians would have been prepared to throw some banana peels and bars of soap and leaked memos and sacrificial accomplices to illegal actions his way.

Abraham Lincoln knew what happened at the NRA could happen to our government. “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. . . .” This was in a speech he made 23 years before being elected president.

He was talking about why we voters need to take responsibility for and control of the government which is ours. WE are the government.

We voters need to keep Trump until 2020. The devil we know is better than the one waiting in the wings that we don’t.

We need to look carefully at who we send to Washington in this mid-term election and that they clearly act as representatives to WE the leaders of government. And that they are the subject to term limits we establish at the ballot box.

We need to eliminate the bi-modal, bi-partisan, moderate-devoid Congress and make the distribution normal again – the majority of Congress composed of moderates who practice “the will of the people” instead of the will of the party, the PACs and purse strings, with small liberal left and conservative right at the ends of the distribution.

Then we need to commit and work to select the presidential candidates in 2020 who will serve US, rather than ones who covet and seek the office by selling to special interests like the NRA out and making deals within the party, which offer the lesser of two evils as in the last election.

We the people who are the government and need to select candidates who are the better of the best.

Two cents. Put ’em in the communal penny cup.

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