Aim for better campaign raffle prizes
Ask not what you can do for your politician.
Ask what your politician can do for you.
And ask for a better campaign-fundraising-raffle prize than an AR-15.
OK, so that's not quite the way President John F. Kennedy put it in his inaugural speech 53 years and eight days ago.
But hey, we are still "We the People," right?
They who run for office purportedly do so because they want to serve us, right?
And some of those politicians have been serving up chances to win AR-15s.
That bright idea was copied last week by state Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, who's challenging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the June 10 primary. Bright's AR-15 winner, to be named on Feb. 15, must be at least 18 and pass a criminal background check.
From Bright's email:
"I know the political talking heads may sneer as they continue blaming guns and law-abiding gun owners for the acts of thugs and madmen. But I am the pro-gun, pro-Constitution candidate in this race for the U.S. Senate - and I can't think of a better way to get that word out than by giving away a brand new AR-15."
No "better way"?
If "AR-15" sounds familiar, maybe that's because a Bushmaster AR-15 was the weapon used by a lone gunman to murder 20 first-graders and six adults on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
So yes, some of us can think of a better way to "get the word out" that Bright is supposedly "the pro-gun, pro-Constitution candidate" in the race to unseat a longtime pro-gun-rights incumbent.
Bright's not the first - or last - politician to set his sights on boosting both campaign coffers and votes by aligning himself with an AR-15. Georgia Rep. Paul Broun, who's challenging Sen. Saxby Chambliss in May's GOP primary, is holding an AR-15 contest of his own.
And Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, raffled off a Bushmaster AR-15 last year with the pitch: "Grab this gun before Obama does!"
Stockman also has promoted this bumper sticker: "If babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted."
Over on the left, if you entered some of President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign contests, you might have won an invitation to dinner with him and Vice President Joe Biden, the president's 50th birthday party or a star-studded soiree at George Clooney's house.
Back on the right, if the aim is to attract folks who like weapons, ponder these alternatives to AR-15s: Handguns ... swords ... knives ... maces ... axes ... chainsaws ... nun-chucks ... throwing stars ... police sticks ... stun guns (the last two could signify solidarity with law enforcement).
No, you can't raffle off flamethrowers, grenade launchers and tanks. Even the Second Amendment doesn't give you a right to keep and bear those.
Back to Biden: Though the vice president supports a ban on "assault weapons," he offered this advice to a woman at a town hall meeting last February:
"Kate, if you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun. I promise you, as I told my wife, we live in an area that's wooded and somewhat secluded. I said, 'Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out, put [up] that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.' "
He added: "You don't need an AR-15. Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!"
Just don't buy the notion that a shotgun can't inflict considerable carnage. A lone gunman used a 12-gauge last September to kill 12 people at the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters in Washington, D.C., before police killed him.
Also don't underrate the damage a belligerently utilized metal chair can inflict.
Squaring the circle
At Sunday night's World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-view spectacular in New Orleans, Brock "The Beast" Lesnar used a metal chair to devastating effect as he defeated 400-plus-pound Big Show, aka Aiken native Paul Wight.
Then Batista (the live rasslin' star, not the dead Cuban military dictator) won the 30-man, over-the-top-rope "Royal Rumble" Battle Royal to win a title shot at Wrestlemania.
There will be no recount.
Back to politics, which increasingly resembles rasslin':
When asking candidates what they can do for you in the electoral rumble, demand that they pass overdue metal-chair-control legislation.
Then again, metal chairs don't hurt people.
People with metal chairs hurt people.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.