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Hatred in America

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 On April 7th, a little more than two months ago, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report warning that domestic right-wing extremism is the most pressing domestic terrorist threat that America faces. The report warned that these extremists could use the troubled economy and the election of Barack Obama to recruit members. 

Michael Steele, the head of the Republican Party said this in response,”This is the height of insult. To segment out Americans...conservatives...who have a different philosophy and labeling them as terrorists...while you refuse to name terrorists-the real terrorists-terrorists to is me it’s the height of insult.”

Question to Michael Steele: Why would you defend right-wing extremists as part of your base?

The other bloviators, Rush, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly et all, followed in pretty much the same vein. All but Rush work for Fox News.

Since the release of the Homeland Security Department’s report, notable incidents of what the department was warning about, right-wing extremism, have gone up.

For example, the murder of Dr.George Tiller, in Kansas. Tiller was murdered in his church while serving as a usher at Sunday services. Tiller’s “crime” was that performed third-term abortions in Wichita, a procedure that is legal under current law. 

Bill O’Reilly of  Fox News, the network's highest-rated star, repeatedly likened Tiller to the Nazis and called him “Tiller the baby killer” on 29 of his shows over the years. O’Reilly’s response to Tiller’s murder? Only “pro-abortion zealots and Fox news haters,”  O’Reilly said, would think he had anything to do with the crime. He apparently only creates ratings and only enables his own net and self worth. His words have no force.That is different, in the mind of O’Reillly, from fomenting hate and intolerance.

Another example is that of James W. von Brunn, who according to the New York Times, “embraces various conspiracy theories involving Jew, blacks and other minority groups and at one point waged a personal war with the federal government.” Last week, von Brunn walked into the United States Holocaust Museum with a rifle and commenced firing, killing a security guard.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization based in Alabama, said that von Brunn is a racist and anti-semite with “a long history of associations with prominent neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers.”

A final example of hate on the loose comes, again, from last week. Lost amid the half-baked excuses and petty jealousies that is now labeled the Sarah Palin- Newt Gingrich feud was a striking comment by the actor Jon Voight. Voight, incidentally, is the father of Angelina Jollie. Voight, apparently, is eager to claim the spot long help by Charelton Heston as the Hollywood celebrity with the credential as the looniest right winger of them all. He is making his move with a comment from last week’s big Washington Republican fund-raiser where he expressed his fervent wish to “bring an end to this false prophet Obama.”

The king of England once made a similar comment about a priest that was vexing him. Murder followed. 

And Michael Steele contends that Tiller’s murderer, von Brunn, and Voight are expressing a different philosophy than the people who elected Barack Obama. Some philosophy.

 


Comments


10:55 AM
Wed Jun 17 2009
Hate and Hypocrisy - Michael Settle misses the mark

Michael Settle’s article (above) conveniently missed a few additional recent examples of hatred.

The day after Dr. Tiller was murdered, Army Pvt. William Long was murdered in Little Rock Arkansas by Abdul Hakim Muhammed, a recent convert to Islam. The attacker also wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Post, Abdul Hakim Muhammad was “on a mission to 'kill as many people in the Army as he could,' police said” and targeted the “soldiers 'because of what they had done to Muslims in the past.'”  Unquestionably a hate-crime as heinous as the murder of Dr. Tiller, but one that Michael Settle – um – apparently overlooked.

Michael also “forgot” to mention Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Semitic remarks in Hampton earlier this month. When asked by a Daily Press reporter if he still talks to the president Wright replied, "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me." Wright later said that he meant to say “Zionists” instead of “Jews.” But is the term “Zionist” any less hateful?  In his post on morningsun.net, PBS commentator Bill Moyers identified Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn’s “ long record of hatred and paranoid fantasies about… a Global Zionist state.”  

And Michael also seemed to “overlook” David Letterman’s vicious “joke” about 14-year old Willow Palin getting “knocked up” by an adult team member at a baseball game (he later stated that he was actually referring to Sarah Palin’s 18-year old daughter – who was not at the game ) and Governor Palin as looking like a “slutty airline attendant.”  Is hate-speech OK as long as the target is a conservative woman – or her teenage children?

Bottom line Michael – no one group has a monopoly on hatred or hate-speech. If you are going on a rant about hatred in our country, at least try to present a balanced story. Otherwise, you are simply indulging in the very problem about which you complain. Some philosophy, indeed.