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To a Politician Running for Office

To a Politician Running for Office
by Charles Hoskinson

Originally published on this website on June 7, 2000

Dear Representative Lazio,

I am a local political (Republican) activist in the 12th largest market in the US (Tampa Bay), and I promote or oppose positions and candidates nationwide through a variety of discussion groups. I view the election of Hillary Clinton to the US Senate as a prelude to disaster in this country. Accordingly, although not a prospective constituent, I promoted the candidacy of Rudy Guiliani, and I support yours, to this point.

As a conservative, I do not agree with all your views. But, since I am not a "one-issue" voter, total agreement is not a requirement. However, I ask, as a Republican, that you, like a doctor, "do no harm" to those Party issues which we may not support in common, mindful that we also have a presidential election to win.

I viewed your appearance on "Evans-Novak" last evening. While your portion of the dialogue was generally commendable (acceptable), your response when asked if you would accept NRA support was, as I understood it, an implied "No", citing that you didn't object to folks having firearms for sport or skeet shooting, but that you wanted to keep them out of the hands of criminals and those with mental problems (or words to that effect).

In my opinion, your reply had two effects:

First, it displayed a measure of contempt for the NRA, who might have given you at least moral support in your campaign to defeat Clinton, and I'm sure that it alienated the substantial number of New York voters who are NRA members and/or firearms owners.

Second, it demonstrated (justifiably or not) your lack of a grasp of the subject of gun control. You realize, or should, that accessibility to firearms to the groups you cited is already unlawful. You should also realize that the NRA supports the prohibition of possession of firearms by those groups. Your spurious implication that The NRA position is otherwise, frankly, leaves me wondering just what your political principles consist of.

Therefore, your response was disingenuous, at best, but also harmful to your candidacy, and our common goal. I'm sure you will be hearing from a number of your proposed constituency on this matter. I'm also sure that there are a large number of NRA members in that group.

Keep in mind that the NRA is not a bunch of unrestrained bureaucrats in Fairfax, VA, but is composed of its membership, an elected Board, and officers appointed by that Board. Too many politicians make the mistake, to their peril, that it is the former, instead of the latter, if you get my drift. The membership votes to promote a civil rights agenda which supports the Bill of Rights, with the Second Amendment as its guarantor, while the elected Board directs the officers to implement this agenda. This same membership is also an important and influential part of the electorate in every political race in the country, including New York State.

You might have said something to the effect "While the NRA understands that I do not share all of their positions, I welcome the support of any group that supports my candidacy". While I am not trying to put words in your mouth, and understanding the "tightrope" you must walk in this unique campaign, I do admonish you, again, to "do no harm".


"God, Duty, Honor, Country"

Chuck Hoskinson
"US Army, Retired ... and still serving proudly"

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They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin Historical Review of Pennsylvania. [Note: This sentence was often quoted in the Revolutionary period. It occurs even so early as November, 1755, in an answer by the Assembly of Pennsylvania to the Governor, and forms the motto of Franklin's "Historical Review," 1759, appearing also in the body of the work. Frothingham: Rise of the Republic of the United States, p. 413. ]

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