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CARROLL: Nugent has got to go

I want to make an unequivocal statement that the kind of Neo-Ku Klux Klan views expressed by Ted Nugent recently about the president of the United States and senior tribal members at Coeur d’Alene are unacceptable and intolerable. Period.

They are unacceptable to me as a private person, though his views are his own and none of my business. But Nugent crosses a bright line when he airs his views in public while representing an organization I belong to and agree with on many issues.

Most opinion leaders, business leaders and many government leaders in South Dakota are members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and are compassionately and passionately conservative. They are not Knights of the KKK. They are not neo-fascists. They are not racists. Nugent appears to be all of the above.

It is unacceptable that NRA leadership, including our leaders in South Dakota, have not repudiated racist remarks by Ted Nugent, a former rock star and now a member of the NRA governing board. Nugent can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but not as a representative of my organization.

It’s not OK to call the president of the United States a “subhuman mongrel.” It’s not OK to compound that outrageous remark by characterizing tribal officials who are canceling his concerts as “unclean vermin.”

What’s really not OK is the failure of NRA leaders to unequivocally and immediately suspend Nugent from further representation of the NRA and our members. Instead our leaders, from Oliver North down the line, have equivocated, dodged, danced and tiptoed around an issue from which there is no escape. Nugent must go, for the sake of the integrity of our organization and our own credibility as members of a powerful and nation-wide lobby engaged in guaranteeing the rights and responsibilities of free Americans.

If Nugent wants to go off the rails, it’s a free country. Have at it.

If our leaders and members let him go off the rails without sharp decisive action to take him out of his public role on our behalf, we’re as bad as he is. We deserve the retribution that comes to those who fail to confront hate.

It’s outrageous that Nugent has called those who oppose him Nazis and propagandists. Guys like Nugent don’t need sophisticated enemies; they are their own judges, juries, and executioners. His judgment is spewed from his own lips. All that’s left to do is exercise the righteous judgment of the rest of the NRA to sweep the leadership ranks of Nugent and anyone else who either backs him or avoids their responsibility to confront him.

Nothing Nugent said in any way supported the Second Amendment right to bear arms. He is using us to his own ends.

No wonder conservatives are struggling to lead in this country. At the very time we need authentic, humane, passionate conservatives and patriots the most, the best we can come up with are people like Nugent?

Get real, NRA. Nugent has to go.

Frank Carroll's website is Write to him at The opinions expressed by this freelance columnist are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Rapid City Journal.

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