I really mean that. I think Ted Cruz has about as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as he does of becoming a Democrat in the next six months, but on the outside chance that something about him caught with Republican voters, I'll take the pledge now.
As Sahil Kapur at TPM notes, most Republican candidates run on pro-gun stances, but they usually steer clear of suggesting that people should use their guns to revolt against government. This makes sense when you think about it, given that candidates are asking people to vote them into government.
"The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution isn't for just protecting hunting rights, and it's not only to safeguard your right to target practice. It is a Constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny -- for the protection of liberty," Cruz wrote to supporters in a fundraising email on Thursday, under the subject line "2nd Amendment against tyranny."
This "insurrectionist" argument, as Second Amendment expert and UCLA law professor Adam Winkler calls it, is popular among passionate gun owners and members of the National Rifle Association. But major party candidates for president don't often venture there.
"Most presidential candidates who support Second Amendment rights focus on self defense. In the past many have also emphasized hunting," said Winkler, author of the 2011 book Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. "It's pretty rare for a presidential candidate to support the right of the people to revolt against the government."
All of my life, I've believed that government is by, of, and for the people. I've refused to become cynical about it, believing that millions can overtake billionaires and other malevolent forces if they unite. The idea of owning a gun to shoot government officials is anathema.
Yet. If Ted Cruz were to catch fire in this country and actually have a shot at the Presidency, I would make that investment in a firearm and the training to use it. There is no candidate on the horizon that represents tyranny more to me than Ted Cruz does. He is an authoritarian who would try as hard as he could to create Margaret Atwood's dystopian Republic of Gilead, where women exist only to bear children and serve men.
If my response is what Cruz is trying to inspire during his primary run, I think we should encourage everyone to take that pledge. It would guarantee that at least one tyrant would never get near the White House, because the only thing that scares conservatives with guns more than Barack Obama is a bunch of liberals with guns.