Enemy lists…They go back as far as politics have been a part of our culture. Nixon, Joseph McCarthy, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco, who is, we believe still dead. In the 1970s the most famous, though not largest list to date became public…Nixon’s Enemies List. It had 207 names. This month the National Rifle Association released its own enemies list. It has 525 names, associations, sports teams, and corporations.
I learned a couple of things while reviewing the NRA list. First, they have no concept of data record formatting. Second, at least some of the folks on the NRA list are dead – which rings familiar to the persistent rumors that many of the NRA Life Members are dead as well. Third, unlike Nixon, the NRA didn’t list the politicians who support gun regulations, nor are any of the new media sites – like Addicting Info or Occupy the NRA on the list.
Back to the list. 24 major medical associations, from the AMA to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons populate the list of NRA enemies. And so are the American Bar Association, National Education Association, the Catholic Conference, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church and the American Jewish Conference. From the world of sports are the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Rams.
Hollywood is represented by a wide variety of actors…from TV’s Barney Miller – Hal Linden to Rambo – Sylvester Stallone to NCIS’ Mark Harmon to George Clooney, Matt Damon, Kevin Bacon, MacGyver’s Richard Dean Anderson. Also on the list, Sigourney Weaver, Oprah Winfrey, Shania Twain, Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand – the only person to be on both Nixon and the NRA’s lists.
Former politicians Jimmy Carter, Ed Koch and C. Everett Coop are also listed along with political powerhouse, the AARP, 32Million strong.
It might be easier to write who is NOT on the list.
And that brings up the philosophy of having an enemies list. If a person or group is confident in their position, confident in the support that they have, they would have a supporter’s list rather than enemies list. Showcase the hundreds of public figures, industry leaders and organizations that support your cause, your philosophy.
But that doesn’t happen…ever. And it is because an enemies list is a weak defense of an untenable position.
EDIT: Originally written for and published in Addicting Info 01.30.13