What does it mean that we have a right to bear arms? The logic of the original amendment stipulated that we need guns to take on our own government, if need be. A recent poll shows that exactly the same mindset still predominates, especially among Republicans. A poll released Wednesday by Fairleigh Dickinson’s University, which TPM reported on, asked, among other things, whether those interviewed agreed with the statement, “In the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties.” 29 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, and 44 percent of Republicans agreed.
18 percent of Democrats also agreed with it, and less educated voters were more likely to concur. Why would so many Americans agree with what sounds like a Ted Nugent scenario? Perhaps the literalism of fundamentalists affects our take on the Constitution as well, which is the equivalent of a sacred document to Americans (“The Third Testament” one American philosopher, Mortimer Adler, called it). If we are a nation of free people, who once even considered naming the country “Freedonia,” then any laws limiting those freedoms, whether they sound reasonable or not, must be received as an attack to our central identity.
Equally troubling, if not more so, is that another question was asked on the survey: “Some people are hiding the truth about the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in order to advance a political agenda.” 25 percent of those interviewed agreed with this statement, and only 41 percent disagreed, with 22 neither agreeing nor disagreeing, and 11 percent being unsure. That means that one in four Americans believes the government is manipulating major news events in order to deny our constitutional rights.
That so many Americans have images of a civil insurrection in mind, a revolution against the government, is chilling, to say the least. The survey was conducted with 863 registered voters contacted by telephone nationwide between April 22 and April 28.