President's Message: Fools and Foolishness

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 9/18/23 2:37 PM

Kenyon Gleason, NASGW President

When we are young, we often do foolish things. And when we’re old… well, we still sometimes do foolish things. I’ve got a few great stories to tell. I bet you do too.

But why, after we’ve grown up and supposedly gotten smart, do we do these foolish things? Researchers tell us it’s often because of overconfidence. We simply think we can or should because it makes us happy, and we’re so confident in our “rightness” and desire for our own happiness that we just make the leap. Another possible reason we do foolish things is the age-old concept of “peer pressure.” Even if we know better, sometimes our desire to please our friends or those we want to like us, wins the day. Some people simply would rather be well-liked than be right.

Now, doesn’t that sound familiar in today’s political climate? Look what we’ve done to ourselves in the way we talk about policies that impact Americans. Objective truth and reality are often obscured by our desire to fit in among our friends. It’s true of leaders in both major political parties. Just look at the way most votes are cast in Washington. They’re almost exclusively “party line” votes these days. Is that really what people believe when they vote? Or are they just trying to fit in with the crowd? I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on that one.

For some great recent evidence that adults can do some pretty foolish things, just take a look at the recent antics from the Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham. Her efforts to try and prohibit conceal carry in Albuquerque certainly qualifies. Thankfully she was immediately called on the carpet for this clear overstep of her authority and her attempt to live outside the bounds of the constitutions of both her state and nation.

The local sheriff said he wouldn’t enforce the order. The attorney general of New Mexico took the bold step of announcing not only will he not support enforcement, but also won’t defend her in court, even though technically that’s his responsibility to do so. His response was simple – his duty to the constitution is higher than his duty to defend his governor.

Maybe worse than all that, if that’s possible, is when your friends at CNN start calling out your policies. When that happens, it might be a good indicator you’ve wandered in to places you ought not be going. Just watch the CNN interview with the governor after she made this emergency declaration. It’s pretty revealing. The attempt was such a brazen and direct attack on the rights of gun owners that even people who don’t generally have nice things to say about us were in our corner.

Other top national politicians, from her own party, also swiftly pointed out the flaws in her position and rebuked her publicly. Truth be told, it’s been somewhat surprising to see, but also somewhat encouraging. We need more of that in our political discourse – people calling each other out when they know the actions taken are wrong. Who cares what party you’re in.

Luckily for us, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed a lawsuit almost immediately and won a restraining order, stopping the implementation of her “emergency” initiatives. And fortunately, as a result of the lawsuit and likely much of the other backlash, the governor seems to have come to her senses. She announced late last week that she has scrapped her plans to ban legal gun owners from carrying firearms in Albuquerque, though she’s apparently still trying to expand gun-free zones through her executive emergency decree. So maybe she didn’t quite learn the entire lesson. I’d hate to call it progress, but it’s something at least.

I got to thinking about all of this on a plane back to Kansas after attending the annual Congressional Sportsmen Foundation’s (CSF) banquet and auction in Washington, D.C. NASGW is a proud partner and supporter of the CSF. The team at CSF works very closely with members of the administration and members of Congress on key conservation issues that support our hunting and fishing heritage. They do this on the federal level and accomplish amazing things. But maybe even more importantly, they are active and busy working and defending our outdoor legacy at the state level, where some very important and impactful things take root.

Honestly, that’s one of the greatest things about the CSF – they work not only reactively, but proactively to try and make sure our rights and access to hunting and fishing opportunities are protected across the board. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting many of the wonderful CSF team members who do this work. It’s not always easy keeping up on and covering multiple states, but they never give up.

If you’re not a supporter of CSF, I’d like to encourage you to consider how you might be able help. I know they’d appreciate it and I know your support will go to a great mission and great people who believe passionately in their work. We need these good people out on the front lines assisting in our efforts to confront foolishness wherever we see it pop up.

Candidly, I think it’s okay to sometimes do foolish things. Most of us are probably guilty and many of us on multiple occasions. Most of us learn from our foolishness as well. But according to Proverbs, “only a fool flaunts his folly.” In other words, if you don’t learn from your foolish actions, or you brag about the foolish things you’ve done, so as to make them seem like good things, then you are truly a fool. Let’s hope the the good governor falls into the category of doing something foolish, a temporary affliction, and not actually being a fool.

Here’s what would not be foolish… making your final plans to join us in Columbus, Ohio, October 24-27. It’s coming on fast. I’m really anxious to see you all there!

Enjoy the cooler temperatures, hunting season is upon us.

Until next time,

Kenyon Gleason
NASGW President

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