Thursday, June 11, 2009

Right Wing Domestic Terror: The Department of Homeland Security Got It Right

After a brief hiatus, I am back true believers. I apologize for the dearth of content over the last 5 days, but real life intrudes into the blogosphere, too.

Anywho.....remember that flap in early April when the Department of Homeland Security via Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a report warning that fringe right wing groups were potentially dangerous? Wow, was that prescient!

Since then there have been the recent murder of the controversial gynecologist, George Tiller, M.D., by anti-abortion zealot Scott Roeder, and yesterday there was a murder of a security guard, Steven Tyrone Johns, by Neo-Nazi James van Brunn at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Back when the DHS released their report the right wing punditry, in particular Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Nancy Goldfarb, and Michelle Malkin, inter alia, were absolutely besides themselves at Secretary Napolitano's warning. Yet, the conundrum is that they have painted themselves into a corner, equating their positions with these obviously terrible actors, just on the basis of being to the right of Centrist. This is pretty stupid, if you ask me. It's like if Rachel Maddow or Democratic Party was trying to defend the Baader-Meinhof Gang because they are left of Newt Gingrich.

Michelle Malkin has even gone the extra mile today on her website and posted this link "Inconvenient truths: Holocaust Museum shooter hated Fox News, Murdoch; Weekly Standard possible target" (, as if this somehow mollifies van Brunn's fringe right wing associations. Uuuhhh, Michelle, he shot a black security guard at the Holocaust Museum. Have you no shame?

Why would the Right try to defend the actions of, or politics of, the maniac fringe? Once you get there you find yourself among some truly terrible people with their deplorable politics: Christian Identity, White Power, Ultra-Nationalists, Ku Klux Klan, and anti-abortion maniacs like Roeder who think cold blooded murder is the answer. You get the lynchers of America's dark past, and the Timothy McVeighs of our dark present.

And I will not be the first to say this, nor the last, I suspect, but the divisive rhetoric from the chattering classes, the language used on the campaign trail last year, the accusations of treason, malfeasance, and criminal behavior as a matter of political discourse, which mostly issues from the right wing, is not acceptable. Do not think for a second that I am considering any impingement upon the First Amendment rights of anyone. Rather, I believe that it is imperative that we stop the slinging of unfounded mud for the sake of garnering a meager 1/2 of a percentage point of temporary advantage which inures to the benefit of no one in the long view.

Please permit me to reminisce: President Obama was accused by Sarah Palin of "paling around with terrorists" due to a prior innocent association with William Ayers. Mind you, Mr. Ayers was never convicted of anything, and his "domestic terrorist group," The Weather Underground, whose actions, planned or executed, while deplorable, never killed anyone but themselves. I also doubt that Mrs. Palin knew who Bill Ayers was prior to being chosen as John McCain's running mate, but that is another matter.

Candidate Obama was called a terrorist and traitor and a Muslim [as if being a Muslim is a bad thing] by supporters at McCain campaign rallies, and Sen. McCain, to his credit, actually defended Obama's decency to the crowd at one of his rallies after a supporter said she could not trust Obama because he is "an Arab."

To this day people of such reputation as Rush Limbaugh are continuing to harangue the President for not having a birth certificate. Really? We still haven't gotten passed this?

It is one thing to say one disagrees with the ruling party, or a given policy, or the course the country is one. Lord knows I vociferously did during the last administration. But, if, as Messr's Limbaugh and Hannity, among others, have stated ad nauseum, that President Obama is trying his best to destroy the nation, and they intend to have these statements believed as true by a given portion of the population, what do they think is supposed to be the natural result?

It is time for the marketplace of ideas to make a course correction, and for us, as a nation, to choose our politicians and our pundits more on the basis of the content of their ideas rather than the bombast of their rhetoric. I prefer my political discourse like it is on such programs like The News Hour With Jim Lehrer: sober, reasoned, respectful, working out the issues, not rooting for one side or the other like it's a sports contest.

Ideas are not good or bad because they are espoused by the right or left. They are good or bad on their own merits. That they are espoused by the right or left is incidental. The American people should begin to think about it this way.

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