Thursday, March 25, 2010

the crazies

Coulter OKC

"I heard people saying things today I have not heard since March 15, 1960, when I was marching to try to get off the back of the bus"

-James Clyburn, D, South Carolina

AP/Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “Democrats deal with broken windows, obscene threats over support for US health care overhaul

Windows were shattered at four Democratic offices in New York, Arizona and Kansas and at least 10 members of Congress have reported some sort of threats…

The brick flung through the window of a county Democratic Party office in Rochester, New York, over the weekend had a note attached: "Extremism in defence of liberty is no vice," roughly quoting 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.
Gun imagery was used in a posting on the Facebook page of Sarah Palin urging people to organize against 20 House Democrats who voted for the health care bill and whose districts went for the John McCain-Palin ticket two years ago. Palin's post featured a U.S. map with circles and cross hairs over the 20 districts.

LA Times, “Threats, Violence Against Democrats Who Voted For Healthcare Bill

As anger has built in some quarters over the Democrats' passage of healthcare legislation last week, Internet posts urging opponents to take action may have sparked a viral spate of vandalism and other threats against members of Congress and their families.
On Tuesday, the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello discovered that the gas line connecting a propane tank to an outdoor grill at his home near Charlottesville, Va. had been severed. Days earlier, members of conservative tea party groups in the area had posted his address online, urging people to "drop by" what they mistakenly believed was the congressman's home.
The brother, Bo Perriello, has four children at home under the age of 8, according to the Congressman's office.

My comment over at Jonathan Schwarz’s Tiny Revolution,
24 March, “A suggestion

Jon S.,
people's memories are short in part because of the deliberate awfulness of the popular/corporate media. Remember how Time ran Ann Coulter on the cover in April 2005, on the 10 year anniversary of the OKC bombing? You want a succinct and powerful symbol of the supposedly liberal media's complacency and enabling, look no further.


Jon Schwarz suggests discussing the OKC bombing in personal terms to illustrate what's wrong with the present situation.[see the link directly above.]Many others have been calling on the GOP to denounce these actions. I wonder if that’s sufficient, or even the best approach-- although I’m not saying they shouldn’t do that. It’s just that when you call on the GOP(i.e. right-wing elites) to denounce right-wing thuggery and leave it at that and avoid more direct appeals, the message you’re sending is, "these are your children.” In other words, yep, we’re the stereotypical secular left and we don’t understand people like that; they’re foreign to us, none of us even have friends or relatives who identify with those values. You are wondering where I’m going with this, no doubt.

Here: you have to avoid suggesting(or even believing) that all conservatives and “values voters” are just savages, and pretending there is no continuum of values that we all belong to, the best and the worst of us. If you do suggest this, you elicit defensiveness from practically all of “them,” when you could be persuading the sane and peace-loving among “them” to feel revulsion towards the crazies in their midst, which is ultimately the only way to extinguish this fire.

A couple of practical illustrations: The message is, if you’re a conservative and you’re not a racist, but you have some racist friends, well, we’re not surprised. But we liberals aren’t like that. Sniff, sniff. Second, the association between racism and religious identity: yes, it’s there, at least at the margins. But if you just offer anodyne platitudes about religious people(because you‘re a little scared and puzzled by them), you prohibit yourself from making this link, and explicitly discussing the difference between sane and crazy believers.

I discussed this at my old blog in January 2005 on the occasion of George W. Bush’s second inauguration, “Inauguration notes, or the other.” I look back at the words I wrote, and I regret that I didn’t more explicitly state that most Christians are sane, well-meaning people who don‘t go around bombing abortion clinics or threatening people‘s lives, etc. (But the crazy minority, though small, clearly aren’t small enough, and they've been growing in number.) And I note that I no longer necessarily care about the democratic party being a majority party quite like I did in 2005. If they can get back to being pre-1984 democrats (as far as domestic policy goes), that's one thing; but at this point my hopes for that are greatly diminished.

On the other hand, at least in the short term, if the House does in fact vote again on the healthcare bill per recent republican maneuvering, I have a hard time saying that wavering democrats should back away from their yes vote from Sunday. Not if it also means enabling and emboldening domestic fascism and thuggery, even if, therefore, it also means not stepping back from a really horrible piece of legislation-- which of course is horrible for mostly very different reasons than the tea-baggers suppose. It’s quite a conundrum.

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At March 25, 2010 11:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I don’t think we need worry about the dems backing out of their yes votes. I think these people who act violently are frightened and frightened people are capable of just about anything. Certainly the news coverage of this legislation hasn’t helped and as things worsen I wouldn’t be surprised that we see more of this type of violence. The thing is though as you know I’m against this legislation I don’t want these people on my side. Like you say their opposition is not based on the same reasoning that you and I follow. In fact I think they are only making matters worse because now these palm greased politicians can be viewed as victims rather than the predators they really are. Way to go morons.

At March 25, 2010 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overplaying/overstating the threat posed by about 0.5% of the population is a great way to get more people to vote for Democrats.

At March 25, 2010 12:39 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

You guys might find Avedon Carol's discussion of this interesting:"admit it, you hate this thing."

At March 25, 2010 6:22 PM, Blogger Jay Taber said...

The difference between the liberal left and the radical right is the latter is generally superior at organizing. Those mobilizing resentment on the right are strategic, whereas those driving the herd of progressives are merely tactical. The only exception to this formula seems to be LGBT liberation and medical marijuana.

At March 26, 2010 2:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

“The difference between the liberal left and the radical right is the latter is generally superior at organizing.”

I have to agree with that. After watching the faithful forgive everything the dems have or haven’t done in this last year including the thousands of deaths resulting from Obama’s escalation of war in Afghanistan where I see a disturbing lack of concern for human life on the liberal side which is really what convinces me that liberals aren’t very different from conservatives. Liberals are also just as susceptible to the fear mongering from our government as the conservatives are.

At March 26, 2010 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spartacus, one thing I notice:

the organizational frenzy of pwoggies in blog-land lining up to support Historic Health Care Reform by Our Obamessiah and the Noble Democrats, that's got the appearance of organizational power, but none of the practical effect.

The same can be seen in the hypertrophic ganging together to complain about Sarah Palin, the threat of a McCain presidency, or the dire, incredibly dangerous propensities of "the teabaggers," that's another area where there seems to be a will to organize, despite a practical benefit to such grouping.

At March 26, 2010 3:17 PM, Anonymous Jenny said...

Well, granted, Palin didn't help by saying Obama was trying "to kill her baby" and have you looked at the tea baggers:

they're also mainly middle class too:

What do you want us to do?

At March 26, 2010 3:25 PM, Blogger Jay Taber said...

Well, yes, Charles, effective organizing assumes a practical effect. Otherwise, it's illusory, much like everything Obama says. Some would call that fraud.

At March 26, 2010 4:25 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Sara Palin: bad

Hillary Clinton: bad

Michelle Bachman: bad

Nancy Pelosi: bad

besides being politicians and prone to supporting sundry irresponsible policies, what do they have in common? Darned if I know.

At March 26, 2010 4:31 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

An afterthought- another difference between the two is the radical right seems more aware that the republicans sell them out, while the left is far more likely to make excuses for the establishment democrats.

(yeah I know, duh.)

At March 26, 2010 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenny's a great sock puppet. Col Sparks, you're the best!

At March 26, 2010 6:36 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

OK CFO, I'll bite: who is Col. Sparks?

At March 26, 2010 7:57 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

There's a lawyer named Lyons from somewhere in the South, I think North Carolina, who wants whites to describe their race as "Southern Confederate American" on their census forms. This was reported in the Washington Post. What the report didn't mention was that Lyons has a whole history of connections with the White Aryan Nation and the KKK, including defending Tom Metzger for some horrible crime.

The casual reader would not know that this guy isn't merely a prankster or even a wacko. This guy has been involved in the racialist movement in America for years and WaPo never mentions it. Essentially, WaPo is helping in a minor way to mainstream the KKK.

The crazies are being mainstreamed. It happens. When capitalism fails it helps to have a lot of magical thinking to offer those who are being crushed under the wheel.

At March 27, 2010 7:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I suggest a google of "Jenny Sparks" and/or "Col Jenny Sparks" and/or "Colonel Jenny Sparks."

The feigned innocence while promoting Donkle party lines is classic Colonel Jenny Sparks.

But go ahead and treat the sock puppet with reverence and seriousness if you wish. It's your blog!

At March 27, 2010 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan, you may find this worthwhile.


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