Hunting and the Idiocy of Identity Politics

The Romney-Ryan ticket, which will lose the US presidential election this November, is still giving it their all. The campaign is trailing in key states like Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio. But they have a secret weapon: VP nominee Paul Ryan is an avid hunter.

Who gives a shit?

Hunting is one of the top activities that politicians always do while looking painfully ridiculous, right up there with "dancing awkwardly at black churches." Paul Ryan, though, has an advantage: he actually is a hunter—a bowhunter, no less—who's been hunting since childhood, and who has all the expertise in and enthusiasm for hunting that come with a lifetime's experience.

Who gives a shit?

"[Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio] are rich in hunters and crucial swing-state Electoral College votes, and Mr. Ryan's deer-hunting credential is a resonant cultural symbol," declares the WSJ, noting that Ryan will be speaking to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance meeting in Ohio tomorrow. Congratulations, Midwestern hunters: you are being treated like a bunch of simplistic children. The whole business of politicians posing in hunting gear, whether they really like it or not, is the height of bullshit, empty identity politics. "Not only will we pander to you based on superficial lifestyle choices that have nothing to do with how we will actually govern," declare politicians, "but we will kill innocent animals in the process. That is how much we care about your votes."

"Take just one look at Paul Ryan holding a bow at full draw, and you know he's the real deal," one archery buff tells the WSJ. This is a man who is allegedly running on his economic platform. WHO GIVES A FUCK IF HE CAN SHOOT A BOW AND ARROW? He is supposed to be tasked with fixing Medicare, for fuck's sake. "Can operate a calculator correctly," would be a more relevant credential. Smell the sweet aroma of patronization, hunters. If you cast your presidential ballot based on which ticket likes bowhunting more, you are dumb; that is exactly what the campaigns think you are, and that is why Paul Ryan is speaking to a hunting group on the day that deer season opens.

My uncle is a bowhunter. He would no more vote for Paul Ryan than he would shoot himself with an arrow, in the nuts. That is because he realizes that there are, in fact, more issues at stake in a presidential election than whether the candidate shares your same hobbies. You should not vote for Paul Ryan because he hunts, or Heath Shuler because he played football, or Barack Obama because he plays basketball. You should vote based on how these people will address the many important issues facing our nation and the world. War, the economy, the environment, foreign policy, human rights—these are just a few of the issues that are so much more important than what hobbies a candidate has as to render the ostentatious display of those hobbies in a desperate search for votes grotesque.

Also, killing an animal with a weapon for fun does not make you hardcore. Quite the opposite. But that's a separate issue.

[WSJ. Photo via]