Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Danger in Underestimating the Right Wing

I found this on a website called The Progressive Puppy this morning.  I'm still shaking and bordering on the incoherent, because I honestly don't know what to DO about this. 

The JFK poster appeared all over Dallas just days before he was assassinated.  I don't know how widespread the Obama poster has been, but the three of these pictures together tell a story that just cannot be denied.  (Thank you, Max Pearson.)

There is something going on in this country that is insidious and destructive and dangerous.  We just can't go on pretending that it comes from fringe groups in small numbers.  Not when we have the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs and Michelle Malkins and even so-called Christian ministers advocating taking Obama down.  They may not be selling violence outright, but they're adding flames to the fire, and they know it.  It draws audiences and constituencies, and they know their people well.

These are the same flame-throwers who, if something does happen to President Obama, will be the first to say, "Don't look at me.  I didn't do it."

At the same time, I don't want to be one who says, "I didn't do enough".  I could cite dozens of websites here that advocate violence against our president, but I won't.  A Google search with the right words is enough to give me nightmares again.  It's out there, and it's growing, and it's becoming mainstream.

It's only one step from becoming normal behavior.  One of our Four Freedoms.  But speech can inflame.  Speech can incite.  Speech can be accessory to violence.

We've already seen the next step past freedom of speech.  We've seen assault weapons being carried into political rallies, where the president is scheduled to speak.  Gunslingers coming to shut the president up.  Now it's at the threat stage--next will be the actual shooting.

When do we finally get it that this is no longer a Free Speech issue?  This is anarchy, and we're standing around making jokes about it, pointing fingers, shaking our heads, and then turning away, as if ignoring the so-called crazies will dilute their messages of pure hatred.

They're just getting started.  When the first "citizen" walked into a public auditorium with a gun slung over his shoulder and nobody stopped him, it gave permission to dozens, then hundreds, then thousands, to follow.

Nancy Pelosi teared up the other day when she talked about the very real dangers in the advocating of violence.  What was the reaction?  A campaign of hatred and ridicule against Nancy Pelosi.

I'm not about to carry a gun to get my message across.  All I have are words, and in this present atmosphere, they're pretty puny.  But I see what's happening--this all-out hatred, this increasing call to violence--as wholly un-American.  This is NOT who we are.  This is NOT who we were meant to be.  Generations of Americans didn't work their asses off to bring us to this.  This is not a vast Right Wing conspiracy, it's Right Wingers out in the open, advocating anarchy, threatening to "take back" a country they've never understood, never nurtured, never respected.

They don't deserve it and they're not going to get it without a fight.

Or are they?

(Addendum:  read Bob Herbert's column here.)
[It's] time for other Americans, of whatever persuasion, to take a stand, to say we're better than this. They should do it because it's right. But also because we've seen so many times what can happen when this garbage gets out of control. Think about the Oklahoma City bombing, and the assassinations of King and the Kennedys. On Nov. 22, 1963, as they were preparing to fly to Dallas, a hotbed of political insanity, President Kennedy said to Mrs. Kennedy: "We're heading into nut country today."


(Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here.)


  1. So scary. It will be hard not to blame those (rush, hannity, beck, freedom works etc) that are actively trying to paint OBama as a destroyer of America if god forbid something should happen. I thought Pelosi made a good point that the commentor make not do something stupid but the rhetoric may fall on the ears of someone who is "unbalanced". Hopefully the Secret Service is on their toes these days!

  2. That's what those Right Wing pundits don't seem to understand. That their messages, sent out without any real thought, are going to the crazies who believe every stupid word and could conceivably see themselves as heroes for getting rid of Obama. It scares me to death. It's like watching a train wreck about to happen and there's nothing we can do to stop it.

  3. hi Ramona--
    as I'm sure you know, those folks are already doing some serious ass-covering.
    to come out and accuse Pelosi of "putting ideas in people's minds" when they're being paid to do it day in and day out -- this country is becoming batshit crazy.

  4. I do not think that it is anarchy, most anarchist that I know do not align themselves with no religious movement, they will not even organized themselves, they will just head on deal on their own. And for most part, those that I know that self identify themselves as anarchists are far more intelligent that the ultra fanatics following racist fox news propagandists. They are the same contingent that kept Bush in power for eight miserable years.
    What is happening, to me, is that the principles of engagement have to change. You see the Ultra Conservative Right is been using the same Guerilla tactics that Progressive used during the Regan Regime to fight abuse of power. The difference between the ones during the eighties is that it was all grassroots formation at its best. What we are seeing now with the Ultra Conservative Right, is that they have high end sponsors lobbyists from high end corporations, like health insurance companies, supplying them with visuals and space for the right wingers to do their political take over and to monopolized the airwave with propaganda. This fringe is frightening because they are getting perks, including financial gains for the asshats to keep mobilizing, and they are doing it with the help of the religious right, the oil companies, the bankers, and the insurance companies
    Maybe is just me, but I also believe there are people of great conscience in this country that are far more skill to outwit this asshats. I also believe that the left needs to mobilize against the same companies that are fueling these assholes. They are nothing more than the KKK renamed, with freedom of anger misdirected to a president that wants to uphold corporate abuse in this country. The sad part about this fanatics is that they are even the targets of corporate greed and they do not even know it. Their racism is blindening them

  5. You make some very good points. the corporate powers are so afraid of losing their hold on the country, they'll do anything to stop any kind of regulation of governmental interference. The idea of a public option or any easing up of the stranglehold those greedy bastards have on us is enough to make them drop any pretense of "the common good". Luckily for them they've found a bunch of fools who like being angry in public. It doesn't seem to matter to them what the cause is, as long as they can carry signs and stomp and shout.
    So yes, anarchy, may be too strong a word, but I'm sure they see themselves as anarchists against everything the Obama administration stands for--what ever that is.

    An yes, there are a lot of people who have a conscience and have the best interests of the country at heart, but unfortunately they're not the ones who are the loudest or are even heard.

    Thanks for commenting.

  6. Came by via lelocolon, I agree, there are dangers in underestimation.

  7. Hi Ramona, I came by via lelocolon. I love this piece and the blog you have created. I've added you to my blog roll.

    Most liberals I know don't underestimate conservatives(myself included), even if we do tend to shrug them off in conversation as benignly crazy. I'm pretty sure most liberals realize conservatives to be the dangerous threat they are. I think we counter their measures quite well I just wish we didn't have to counter their measures at all, but that's not the world we live in.

  8. Thanks for visiting, Bucko and Kyle.

    I appreciate your adding me to your blogroll, Kyle. I agree that most liberals have a handle on what the Right Wing is up to. I've read so many impassioned, articulate, even brilliant arguments against them, but unfortunately they're like whispers in the wind compared to the noisemakers on the Right.

    The mainstream media picks up the sound bites from the noisemakers more often than from those on the left who actually have something constructive to submit. I'm hoping that's changing, though I get sorely disillusioned when I see even C-Span succumbing to the voices on the Right. I don't think it's my imagination any more that more and more they're listing Rightward.


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