College campuses are intended to be places of both intellect and tolerance, and as such, should actively discourage ignorance.
On Monday, Aug. 26, members of the NMU College Republicans both sold and displayed T-shirts at Fall Fest with the words “Suck my Glock” and an image of a handgun emblazoned on the front.
The goal of the shirt seemed simple enough — by way of shock factor, members of the College Republicans’ organization expected to garner attention and increase membership sign-ups, goals that Vice President Brandon Zanon said were ultimately successful, as the organization had three times as many people sign up as in previous years.
However, in reference to a subject as complex as that of the Second Amendment, the t-shirts in question seemed to undermine the root of the gun rights issue by diluting it in a sea of other issues — to name a few, misogyny or sexual violence in general, as well as the problems associated with the implication that one should put another’s gun in their mouth — relative to the use of the phrase “Suck my Glock.”
The emotional reaction triggered by this statement is not beneficial to a conversation regarding the democratic right to own weapons.
Additionally, the methods and ideology that the College Republicans have adopted as a means to “spread awareness about the Second Amendment,” have proven to be the fundamental antithesis of democratic decision making. Essentially, the emphasis of campus organizations should be to encourage open conversation on complex subjects like Second Amendment rights, not suggest that innocent bystanders suck anything, and especially glocks.
The way in which members of the College Republicans chose to attract new interest for their organization was, successful or not, more a display of self-indulgence than a means to establish a genuine space for discussion. The use of the vulgar euphemism “Suck my Glock,” despite attempts for attention, has, on the contrary, altered the Second Amendment discussion on campus and has weakened what ground the NMU College Republicans once had as an organization committed to authentic student discourse on the subject of conservative values and ideology.
Herein lies the real difficulty with the “Suck my Glock” T-shirts — their overt misinterpretation of Republican values and the Second Amendment debate. The issue lies not in the expectation of disagreement, which should by all means be encouraged, but in creating conversations for the sake of increasing membership, conversations that diminish the intricacy of the issue at hand and which are not fit for university campuses dedicated to knowledge and tolerance.