Screen star, action hero and author Chuck Norris taped a television ad for the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF). "Some politicians say they support your rights--but their voting records say otherwise," Norris warned
It was the week before the election of 2008 and the Second Amendment needed some help. Economic bad news was drowning out the key differences between candidates on core Second Amendment issues in some of the nation's tightest races. The media obsession with the presidential race was diverting voter attention from key congressional contests. Freedom hung in the balance.
In that final, fateful week, one of America's favorite action heroes stepped up to take command. Screen star Chuck Norris, known to generations of Americans as an icon of toughness, filmed a television ad on behalf of the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF).
"Some politicians say they support your rights--but their voting records say otherwise," warned Norris in the ad. "Protect your rights on Election Day--check the candidate's record, and see who stood up for your family--and who protected the criminals."
The ad directed viewers to the NRA-PVF website (www.NRAPVF.org) and drove enormous waves of traffic to the candidate ratings displayed on the site in the key days before the election. You can view the whole ad by visiting the "NRA Videos" channel on YouTube and searching for "Chuck Norris--The Outlaw's Worst Nightmare."
I caught up with Chuck to thank him for standing up for the Second Amendment, find out about his new projects, talk politics and see what other insights he had to offer his fellow NRA members.
Cox: "Thank you so much for working with us last year, Chuck. What motivated you to stand up for the Second Amendment in the 2008 election?"
Norris: "You're very welcome. This is the type of thing I feel like I have to do. I feel like the country is drifting away from the principles it was founded on and that concerns me. So many young people don't know about our Founding Fathers and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights--so whatever I can do to change that, I will."
Cox: "In the ad, you warned viewers to watch out for politicians who say one thing on the campaign trail, then vote against our rights once they're in office. We now see members of the Obama administration pushing for gun bans. Do you feel like your prediction has become true?"
Norris: "Yes, I do. We see politicians on both sides of the aisle saying one thing, then doing another in office. The direction we're headed right now is not a healthy one. I'm very worried that the current administration is trying to take complete control over so many aspects of our lives. The freedoms we enjoy could be destroyed, and that scares me. My kids, my grandkids, I want them all to have the same freedoms we enjoy and right now I'm not sure they will."
Cox: "The ad you taped for us got a great reaction, even from media outlets that criticized other campaign ads we were running. What reactions did you get? And can we look forward to some other appearances in the future?"
Norris: "Yes, I heard from many people about the ad and I still do, very good reactions from any number of my friends who are NRA members and others. The next ad will focus on the importance of voter registration. Your efforts to inform and register pro-gun voters from the new generation, the young folks I call 'Millennials,' could well be the most important work we can do to protect the Second Amendment well into the future."
Cox: "We are focusing very heavily on voter registration. What's your message to the youth, the 'Millennials' as you call them?"
"Any burglar who tests what I mean by that sign will find out really quick!"
Norris: "They're the ones who can get this country back on track, and they need to start at the beginning, by reading and understanding the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights--things that too many kids don't learn in school anymore. I think these documents should be in every classroom in America, so students can think about what motivated the colonists to come here and found this great nation--and maybe wonder whether we're facing the same problems today."
Cox: "On what issues do you see parallels to the colonial experience?"
Norris: "The Second Amendment issues--politicians trying to take guns away just like King George. And taxation--I'm afraid they are spending this country into bankruptcy. We used to talk about millions of dollars like it was big. Then it was billions. Now they talk about spending trillions of dollars every week, what's next? Our debt is out of control. It scares me, and it frustrates me, because in the end I think it will mean that my kids and grandkids won't have the same opportunities that I did. Instead of dreams and ambitions, this government is creating a culture of dependency. From dependency comes apathy."
Cox: "So what can people do if they share your concerns?"
Norris: "First, get informed. Your [NRA-ILA's] website gives ratings on how congressmen truly stand on the Second Amendment--I wish there was a website like that for every issue. People need to know whether or not their lawmakers are being honest with them. Look at these Cabinet members with the tax problems--when they don't pay their taxes, it's called a mistake. And we only find out about it when they're nominated? If we don't pay taxes, we go to jail. That's just not an honest system, when there are two different sets of rules."
Cox: "You've put a lot of this into your new book, Black Belt Patriotism. Tell me more about it."
Norris: "My wife, Gena, talked me into it. I'm semi-retired now, and I write some articles, but she would find me pacing the house frustrated about one issue or another so she finally got me to sit down and put it all on paper. It's my critique of what I think is destroying our country, and it offers my solutions for rebuilding America and restoring the American dream. One of the first things I point out in the book is that a few years ago, a New York Times editor wrote that our Founding Fathers were 'paranoid hypocrites and ungrateful malcontents.' That statement really sums up the attitude problem that has developed in this country."
Cox: "So we know you think there are problems. Do you offer solutions?"
Norris: "You bet I do. I subtitled the book 'How to Reawaken America,' and I've got my own ideas on everything from ending our nightmare of national debt to securing our nation's borders. I feel like we've drifted off our moral compass, and mine is just one voice, but I offer what I think are common-sense solutions. I even have a chapter on how to be fit for the fight--because a healthy mind needs a healthy body."
Cox: "Your book benefits the KickStart Foundation, which you founded. Tell me more about that."
Norris: "We teach martial arts in middle schools to at-risk children, concentrated in the Houston and Galveston school districts. Our instructors also talk about the nation and the Constitution--sort of my theme here--and we teach them positive affirmation. We have 6,000 kids enrolled right now and we've graduated over 60,000 in 15 years. The first thing our students have to do is break off any gang ties--and then we build into them the resilience to resist going back. It's a great program. I want it to be my legacy."
Cox: "So no political future for Chuck Norris, no run for office down the road?"
Norris: "No way. Just think, if I was in a debate and my opponent questioned my character, I'd have to reach across the table and choke him unconscious. That wouldn't help my campaign. But you know, there's a saying on the Internet that 'America's not a democracy--it's a Chucktatorship.'"
Cox: "And what rules would you set if you were in charge?"
Norris: "First, we would check every member of Congress for tax compliance, to see if they're living by the rules they set for us. I would go through the Congress, all 535 of them, both sides of the aisle, and I would find out who's honest and who's dishonest. Whoever is dishonest would be fired. I just want government to be accountable to the Constitution."
Cox: "You have a sign on your porch at your ranch that says 'We don't dial 911'. Do you have a favorite gun?"
Norris: "I did some taping in Israel some years back and really enjoyed the Uzi, the pistol Uzi and Desert Eagle. Any burglar who tests what I mean by that sign will find out really quick!"
Cox: "What's the one message you want NRA members to hear?"
Norris: "I encourage all NRA members to unify under our banner and make our voices heard. If the politicians work against our rights, we will get rid of them--no questions asked. Remember, they work for us."
Cox: "Thanks very much Chuck. I look forward to reading Black Belt Patriotism."
Norris: "Thank you, Chris, and keep up the good work with Wayne."