The New Politics of Hunting
been elected president.
After the 2000 election Democrats jettisoned calls for stricter gun control and have essentially adopted the "just enforce what's already on the books" position. So John Kerry dons camouflage, totes a shotgun , and goes hunting in Ohio. Fresh Democratic faces like Wes Clark, Mark Warner, and Brian Schweitzer eagerly embrace 2nd amendment rights. Even DNC Chair Howard Dean was an NRA fave during his tenure as governor in Vermont.
Of course national Democrats are just figuring out what Alabama Democrats have known all along. Mainstream Alabama Democrats have always embraced gun rights and parted company with gun control advocates in the national party. Similarly Alabama Republicans are equally as strong as their national counterparts on the issue. There is really little to no difference on issues of gun rights between Alabama Democrats and Alabama Republicans.
I discuss this background as a means of mentioning an interesting article in the Washington Monthly analyzing the need for a possible new approach on these issues that could significantly alter the political landscape. The author, Christiana Larson, uses the declining number of hunters as a clarion call for action. Hunting as a past-time is not decreasing due to a lack of enthusiasm, but rather a lack of available hunting lands. I am unsure how present this phenomenon is in Alabama, but it is certainly affecting many parts of the country.
Larson sees a solution to this problem in an innovative policy approach that would bridge traditional ideological gaps.
The best hope for protecting this [outdoor]heritage probably rests with elected officials of a progressive bent, Republicans as well as Democrats--officials who are ideologically comfortable using government to assert a right bequeathed by America's political forefathers: that wildlife belongs not to private interests but to the public.Larson argues that a combination of a conservative dedication to 2nd Amendment rights with a liberal approach to the preservation of public lands could foster a new policy of rebirth for the benefit of outdoorsmen. The article is lengthy and in-depth and one can certainly dispute its suppositions, but the author makes a provocative argument.
I am not an especially avid outdoorsman so I'd be interested in hearing the perspective on this line of thought from those who are.