By Alan Gottlieb

Still picking themselves off the floor and brushing off the dust from their remarkable drubbing in the mid-term elections, Democrats – who, according to tradition, should have made gains in Congress – lost ground, and still don’t understand why.

The “why” is that as long as Americans know that Democrats stand against their right of personal defense, they will not trust Democrats to truly embrace homeland defense.

The nation is in the midst of a very new and different kind of war; a war in which Americans know that ultimately they must depend upon themselves for protection. They understand that the threat from terrorists is no different than the threat from street thugs.

From experience, they know the government cannot protect them from murderers, rapists or armed robbers. They put little faith in Democrats who have labored to prevent citizens from defending themselves against neighborhood criminals, while blocking efforts to defend against international criminals.

It’s the same Democrats who consistently vote against the personal firearms defense rights of gun owners who also vote against common sense homeland defense measures.

Unmistakably and undeniably Democrats have lost touch with millions of Americans, and their concerns about personal and national security. The issue is no more clearly defined than by the traditional stand Democrats take on gun ownership.

Despite all attempts to appear as though they were ready to embrace the concept of gun ownership as a legitimate, individual Constitutional right, Democrats never repudiated their long standing anti-gun philosophy. America noticed this, and spoke loudly at the polls. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, Democrats were not paying attention when Americans by the thousands, realizing perhaps for the first time in their lives that they were ultimately responsible for their own safety, and that of their families, changed their attitude about gun ownership. Many of those people bought guns when they never before wanted to be around guns.

In that same rush of rationalization, these Americans concluded that the same Democrats who have shown such utter disregard for the right of personal protection also have poor records of support for homeland defense.

Democrats and their liberal think tank cheerleaders have also not grasped what it was very simple for the average American to decipher. To the millions of Americans from whom the Democrats have been drifting ever farther in the last decade, the issue is freedom and the ability to protect not just individual lives, but the life of a nation.

The two concepts go hand in hand. Only Democrats and cultural elitists, who have campaigned to limit gun rights while also working to weaken our military and handcuff our police, remain on the far side of a widening social and philosophical chasm that separates them from the rest of the population.

Democrats evidently do not realize the simplicity in the choices they have given us. Americans have been presented with two sharply different options. They can elect Democrats who would strip them of their ability to defend their homes against everyday thugs, while reducing the ability of our military to defend the nation against world-class thugs and terrorist madmen, or they can elect Republicans who at least seem to understand there are ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, and that criminals eventually need to be dealt with.

Laughably, Senators Tom Daschle and Hillary Rodham Clinton have gone on an offensive about how the Bush Administration “hasn’t done enough” to capture Osama bin Laden. What would Democrats have done differently? Perhaps, instead of just quietly sitting back and letting Reps. Jim McDermott and David Bonior – both of whom, by no coincidence, never saw a gun control law they didn’t immediately embrace – jet off to Baghdad to badmouth the President, Democrats might have sent their whole congressional delegation.

Americans have made their choice, and they have decided to rally behind leadership that understands and accepts the concept and responsibility of self-protection, whether it is for the purpose of protecting your family or your country.

Somewhere along the line, Democrats conditioned themselves to ignore a simple truth that has been re-discovered in the past year. America has always had “Homeland Security.” It’s called The Second Amendment.

Democrats went wrong in believing that if they preach unilateral disarmament, on an individual and perhaps national level, the people would flock to their cause.

Most Americans, however, view themselves as people, not sheep.