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Hi folks! I'm a Progressive columnist at an online News start-up called Mint Press News. We're offering news and analysis from a broad, international perspective... so show us some love!

Anyway, I'll be posting snippets of some of my columns here after they appear "in print" at Mint. Feel free to comment and critique!

Cross posted at Mint Press News

They came by the hundreds. Or the tens. Possibly singly or in very small groups. It is hard to say exactly how many as scattered news reports have confused just how few people showed up to a series of right-wing rallies held across the nation this past Saturday. There were lots, though – several dozens, at least — just ask the data-mining and fundraising outfit that organized them.

The protesters had a message, though, and they proclaimed it loud and clear across the land to any who would listen – mostly the homeless, the odd passersby, and bored local news crews who were forced by their bosses to show up. Their cry, which reverberated throughout the land of conservative talk radio, was that King Obama – the dreaded and most cruel bringer of health care reform – would not take their guns away from them.

Intro

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Crying as one, the assembled enjoined their fellow citizens to fight back against the unnatural tyranny of universal background checks, the banning of high-capacity magazines, and any attempt to infringe upon the rights of the mentally deranged to arm themselves to the teeth. These brave patriots, rallying to the cause of freedom – if not the rights of children to not be blown apart by gun-wielding maniacs – declared that they would stand up to that foreign-born socialist tyrant currently residing in the White House.

If you missed this nationwide rally of well-armed Second Amendment “resisters” this past Saturday – billed as a National Day of Resistance by Tea Party groups and associated right-wing Internet sites – then you aren’t the only one. Reports indicate that 121 such rallies were held with perhaps a couple hundred participants each, meaning that anywhere from 24,000 to 50,000 people nationwide may have shown up at these right-wing protests.

The Right-Wing yawn-fest compared to what we can muster:
At first blush, this seems like quite a large number of people. After all, to get that many rugged individualists to all come out on a frigid Saturday in February for a collective action like this takes some amount of organization and motivation. Could this, at long last, be the pro-gun backlash that political pundits have been warning the nation about since gun control advocates made the first, timid suggestions on guns in the days and weeks after the massacre of school children in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14?

If it is, it is a decidedly tepid one. Fifty thousand is a lot of people, but, by way of comparison, consider that nearly a million people turned out to watch President Obama’s second inauguration ceremony on the National Mall. This was down from the nearly two million individuals who showed up to watch his first inaugural four years earlier. This is also on the low end of the number of individuals who participated in an Occupy Wall Street march on Wall Street in May.

How the mighty have fallen:
It is also a far cry from the numbers that Tea Partiers could rouse at the height of the movement’s inchoate backlash against the Obama administration in 2010. Then, the Tea Party was an active, well-financed force that could not only influence elections, but was popular enough to bring 87,000 to 100,000 people out on the National Mall to hear Glenn Beck speak about restoring America’s honor. All that, however, appears to be in the past; now, even Glenn Beck has been relegated to the back pages of American cable television.
For the rest, click here!
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