Ooh, there’s a nice light topic eh?
The thing is, I was formulating stuff all week as I watched events of the last couple of weeks unfold. 3 acts of domestic terrorism IMHO. The murder of Dr Tiller, the murder of the soldier at the recruiting office, and now the murder of the guard at the Holocaust Museum. All three murders motivated strictly by politics in one form or another. All 3 perpetrators are extremists withing their movements for sure, just by virtue of the fact that they crossed that line from hateful speech to murderous acts. But why is it that there is this upsurge? And, as I tweeted earlier, wasn’t there a DHS report warning of exactly these types of acts released just a few weeks ago? A report which was panned loudly by some very influential media voices? So loudly in fact, that Secretary Napolitano (who did not even commission the report, the bulk of the work being done under the prior administration), had to apologize for it and tell her staff at DHS to go back to drawing board?I believe it specifically highlighted anti-Semitic and ant-abortion violation potentially surging. Hmmm.
But really, WHY? What is it about right now that has brought us to these back to back to back acts of terrorism? For they ARE terrorism are they not? Specifically the Tiller murder where the intent was to stop people from going about their every day lives doing a job which is, at this point, perfectly legal. A terrorist act which *worked* because it resulted in the closure of the Tiller clinic. No matter how you fall in the abortion debate, I would hope that the idea that these people were forced to close a business and lose jobs and, hello, lose their life, was done through violence and intimidation vs through peace democratic means. This is America, correct?
And then I read this piece in the New York Times. Paul Krugman normally writes about the economy, and yet he seems to have been thinking along the same lines as me this week. Why?
UPDATE: Now I will add a link to Eugene Robinson from the Washington Post this morning writing in a similar vein “Feeding the Lone Wolves” because he says it oh so well too.
Here’s a link to the full piece which I wish I could just re-print here and comment on paragraph by paragraph but that would get me into all sorts of copyrighting trouble so I wont 🙂 But I will highlight his basic premise because it is one I agree with and which I’ve written about here and there before :
Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.
Exactly. We all know who the culprits are. There is one particular cable TV station and a few very influential radio and tv commentators who lead this charge in the media. The scary thing is, that these are not people on the media ‘fringe’. They are main stream. Huge – often #1 in ratings for some shows in some time slots. They have made it OK to call our President anti-American, or a Muslim, or question the authenticity of his birth certificate. They repeat multiple times titles like “Tiller the baby killer”. They use violent rhetoric or incite fear enough that it becomes acceptable. Then elected politicians pick up on it and repeat it. Or applaud it. Krugman cites many such examples and yet I could think of even more he did not mention. Shoot, he completed passed over Congresswoman Michelle Bachman of Minnesota who has dozens of examples of extremist rhetoric to her credit! I swear she’s pushing to be the female Rush when she is done in DC!
Krugman concludes with this:
What will the consequences be? Nobody knows, of course, although the analysts at Homeland Security fretted that things may turn out even worse than in the 1990s — that thanks, in part, to the election of an African-American president, “the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years.”
And that’s a threat to take seriously. Yes, the worst terrorist attack in our history was perpetrated by a foreign conspiracy. But the second worst, the Oklahoma City bombing, was perpetrated by an all-American lunatic. Politicians and media organizations wind up such people at their, and our, peril.
No, these people are not directly responsible for the actions of the lunatics. Of course not. But as he says, we ignore the connection at our own peril. There is an atmosphere created here which is conducive to those folks who are just a toenail away from crossing that line.
Now, I am not saying that the left is perfect by a LONG SHOT. But, please, find me a main stream, left leaning pundit/media type/politician with equal influence to the folks on the right listed in Krugman’s piece. Notice I am not saying – find me anybody – I am saying find me an equally powerful, influential voice from the left – who speaks in the same way as the Fox folks, Rush, etc. Also take note of just how many examples from the right we can find. It’s not one loud voice folks – it’s many.
Dissent is essential in our democracy. Intelligent discourse is mandatory. A free and independent media would be so damn wonderful to have. But this ugly, violent, hateful rhetoric has got to stop. C’mon conservatives! Be *smarter* than that! Do you really think you are going to move the country back to the right by bullying them? Ok, I know it worked in the 90s, but AGAIN? Really? That’s all you have? No, I know it’s not, but until enough of you (like the couple of Fox news reporters who Krugman pointed out), push back on this methodology, the voices of reason wont be heard.
This is America. We do not support terrorism – ANYWHERE – so please just stop supporting people who feed into this extremism and allow it to become acceptable.