Sunday, October 04, 2009

There's an excellent post at Jesus' General this morning, so in case he isn't already on your "must read" feeds, you ought to go and have a look at it. It's exactly what we've been saying here at our house with increasing frequency.

"I don't think they would get very far, but that doesn't necessarily deter extremists, does it? The hatred of and opposition to Bill Clinton was nearly as strong as what's being directed at Barack Obama, but it was under Clinton that we saw the growth of a violent militia movement. It was the militias --- extremist, racist and theocratic --- that gave birth to Timothy McVeigh and the worst terror attack in the United States before Al Qaeda's 9/11 strike."

Just last night I was saying to Ev that, considering the messages coming out of the right these days, they might just as well be broadcasting from bin Laden's cave. With elected government officials suggesting secession and coups, calling the duly-elected president of the United States an enemy of humanity, subverting foreign policy without censure by (if you'll pardon the recently overused phrase) going roque in Honduras and media personalities encouraging citizens to root for America to fail and celebrate when it does, how much more aid and comfort does the enemy need? Blankets and money drops? If not actual treason, this kind of rhetoric certainly falls under the definition of sedition.

The first amendment guarantees any crackpot the right to free speech, no matter how lunatic that speech may be, but as Ruth Calvo points out at Firedog Lake:

"While our usually deluded wingers are comfortable working against the public interest, outright sedition is a new tactic. While Perry and Pawlenty espouse the virtues of secession, actual interference with U.S. foreign policy is treason of a more active variety."

Whether or not the "Chinese curse" was ever actually uttered in China, it's sentiment is certainly applicable. I have lived in interesting times and I don't care for it. I remember 9/11. I also remember 11/22, 4/4, 6/5, 5/4 and 11/27. Once I start ticking off the dates of all the interesting times I've lived through --- from the Kennedys to Kent State, from MLK to Harvey Milk, from anti-war protests to Al Qaeda, it's hard to know where to stop.

I'm not old enough to have lived through McCarthyism, but I hear those were interesting times, as well. So, too, were the years between 1861 and 1865. Those are years about which some of our illustrious leaders and pundits might like to take a refresher course.

There must have been some pretty heated rhetoric following the Republican victory in the election of 1860. Heated enough to cause the secession of eleven states and bring about the deadliest war in American history --- one that would cost the lives of 620,000 American soldiers and untold numbers of civilian men, women and children.

I believe there truly are enemies of humanity in our midst, but they are not sitting in the White House. They are sitting in the United States Capitol, collecting a paycheck from American citizens while they thwart and obstruct the current administration's efforts to undo the damage done by the previous administration and decades of unrepentant, unrestrained, unfettered, deregulated corporate greed and financial mismanagement. They are being sponsored by corporations and exorbitantly compensated by a megalomaniacal Australian billionaire to broadcast 24 hours a day from the studios of Fox News.

They are preaching from pulpits, twittering terrorist threats and organizing armed overthrows of the government in basements in Oklahoma.

I've given up trying to figure out the why of it. Maybe it's fear, maybe it's racism, maybe it's religious fanaticism, maybe it's holding onto political power, maybe it's plain old-fashioned greed ... maybe it's simply human nature to hate and fear and be self-absorbed and self-interested to the exclusion of what's good for the planet or humanity as a whole. It no longer matters. Just like it doesn't matter what caused your brain cancer once you have it. What matters is how to get rid of it.

What I, as a tax paying citizen of the United States, would like to know is this: why is this being allowed to continue unchecked? You can't legislate rational thinking, but you can certainly uphold laws that protect the president and the government from assassination threats, treason and sedition. I would like to know why people are being allowed to carry firearms to a presidential speech in 2009, when four short years ago you couldn't attend one without first signing a loyalty oath.I would like to know why outright acts of sedition and hate speech are being ignored, and why threats against the president are not being prosecuted by any of our various and sundry law enforcement agencies.

Stupidity and swaggering bullshit is one thing, but this has crossed the line and become something else altogether.