The National Rifle Association today released what sounds like a call to arms against the resistance movement.
“This NRA ad is an open call to violence to protect white supremacy,” said activist DeRay McKesson, reacting on Twitter. “If I made a video like this, I'd be in jail.”
The ad promotes membership in the NRA as a way to fight “them.” President Obama in the ad is referred to as “their ex-president,” as if he doesn’t represent the Americans who join the NRA.
The ad claims racism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia are ginned-up ideas designed by “them.” The montage of imagery is intended to be frigthening and depicts a constant state of violence in a dystopian version of society that has apparently been shaped by radical, liberal ideas.
The narrator on screen is conservative commentator Dana Loesch, a white woman who is apparently intended to embody the NRA, concluding her frightening monologue with, “I am the National Rifle Association of America, and I’m freedom’s safest place.”
Loesch attacked McKesson’s response to the ad with more threatening language. “Come on air and tell me to my face that I’m a racist for condemning violent riots you incite,” she said on Twitter.
Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia sees dubious timing for the ad, with it released so close after a man used a rifle to shoot at members of Congress who were at a baseball practice in Alexandria, seriously wounding Republican Rep. Steve Scalise. Beyer, a Democrat, represents the town where the shooting happened. He says the NRA ad isn't selling memberships so much as it's selling guns.
“This exploitation of the Alexandria shooting is insidious, but at root it's about the NRA inspiring fear in order to boost gun sales,” he wrote as part of a long response on Twitter. He added, “It's about profits. The profits of gun manufacturers have fallen in 2017, because the NRA can't lie to people about Obama ‘grabbing guns.’ So they're trying to exploit Alexandria and cutting disgusting ads to make people afraid and divide people even more.”
For her part, Loesch claims the ad isn't poorly timed because it was started in April before the shooting. She claims to merely be condemning violence by voicing an ad for the National Rifle Association. Here is a complete transcript of the commercial:
“They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach their children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again. And then they use their ex-president to endorse the resistance — all to make them march, make them protest, make them scream ‘racism,’ and ‘sexism,’ and ‘xenophobia’ and ‘homophobia,’ to smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law abiding until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness. And when that happens they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage. The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth. I am the National Rifle Association of America, and I’m freedom’s safest place.”