I was tooling around the internet Sunday night after chronicling my weekend adventure with our local healthcare protestors, clicking on a few links here and there, when I saw the picture that had ticked me off to no end last week - the one of the preppie looking young black man in a white button down shirt and khakis who had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over shoulder at a town hall meeting attended by the president.
I'd passed by this photo the last few days on Talking Points Memo because I figured it was old news, but there was something different in the headline that made me click on it Sunday afternoon.
My eyes scanned quickly through the page, as I usually do, then stopped dead in their tracks. I can't remember the last time I'd opened my eyes so wide.
What was the reason for this sudden shock?
This article on Talking Points Memo's TPMCafe:
The Right To REMIX: DJ Reason's Acid Jazz Remix of Chris Broughton.
Christopher Broughton carried an assault rifle to a Presidential appearance. I thought it only fair to call him up, record him, and remix the whole thing, because IF WE DON'T USE OUR RIGHTS, we lose them.
The AR-15 toting black guy's name was Chris Broughton.
If you are reading this on my main blog, Brown Man Thinking Hard, then you know me as Brown Man, but my real name is...
Granted, our names aren't spelled exactly the same, but to most people, when I say "Kris Broughton", what they hear is "Chris Broughton". And I'm sure that many people who've known me for years, who've never had a reason to read my name in print, or receive a business card from me, probably think that my name is "Chris".
I was so hot about this other Chris Broughton last week my rage was indescribable. And then it turns out that his name is...Chris Broughton. How could this be? Who the hell was this guy?
With a last name like Jackson or Washington or Brown or Johnson, if you are black, you stand a very good chance, even in this age of African American given names like Courvoisier or Rockwan or Shauntavious, of running into someone else who shares your full name.
But there aren't that many people in America named Broughton. And this universe dwindles considerably when you focus solely on black people in America with the last name Broughton.
As I reeled from the irony of sharing a name with someone in the news whose political stance was so at odds with my own, I thought about the mixups that used to ensue whenever the exploits of a cousin of mine, also named Chris Broughton, who recently passed away, were printed in my hometown newspaper.
The real Kris Broughton, yours truly, has cranked out over four hundred politically oriented posts on my blog since last January, many of them practically full length essays that, taken in total, do more to define my own personal political stance than any mere label like "liberal" or "conservative" or "progressive" can hope to fully encompass, because like most people, I can and do hold one or another of these political viewpoints at any given time.
So to see a name so close to mine, one that will for the near future be associated with "semi-automatic gun wielding nut", is more than disheartening - it is as if this other Chris Broughton from Bizarro World has taken aim with his rifle at all of the ideas I've carefully deconstructed, all of the positions I've painstakingly explained, all the outrage I've so forcefully and voluminously articulated, and left them all in tatters, the way an errant marksman scatters bullets all around the bullseye printed on the paper target at the gun range.
In several media interviews following the rally, including CNN, Broughton refused to identify himself by last name.
"I don't want to be Joe the Plumber," he said. "I don't want to be famous."
The Arizona Republic
You don't have to worry about that, Chris. You're already "Chris the Nut" to most of America.
And you won't be famous either, but infamous for a week or a month, until the next genius with a penchant for the cameras and a crazy, "look at me" gimmick comes along.
Meanwhile, the real Kris Broughton will still be toiling in obscurity here at Brown Man Thinking Hard, teeing up the political news of the day he sees fit to discuss, one issue at at time, bringing the heat to each topic the way Tiger Woods puts the wood to a golf ball.