Tag Archives: lunatics

Darkness

24 Apr

As it turns out, Boston Marathon bombing suspect #1, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was indeed influenced by an enigmatic, extremist hate group. 

Alex Jones’ “infowars” – the go-to radio show and website for ignorant, disaffected lunatics who see conspiracy everywhere. To call Jones fans the lunatic fringe would be unfair to the comparably responsible and informed members of the lunatic fringe. It would be funny if it wasn’t so frightfully bellicose and didn’t incite violence.

 

It's About Discussion and Democracy

12 Aug

During its tenure, the Bush Administration ran roughshod over civil rights, wiretapping phone calls without a warrant, detaining people without charge, violated the Geneva Conventions repeatedly, he and Cheney systematically grew the power of the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency at the expense of the other two, constitutionally co-equal branches of government.  The power of the state was used repeatedly to trample constitutional rights in the name of national security.  Here’s a handy list of ways in which constitutional rights were eroded during Bush’s tenure. And yet, astonishingly, there were no tea parties.  No indignant people screaming to drown out Republicans at town hall meetings.  When Medicare Part D expanded drug coverage under the single payer plan we have for seniors, there were no angry Freepers screaming down anybody about euthanizing grandmas or socializing medicine.

There were no teaparties over the Bush Administration’s genuine infringement on constitutional liberties. Not. One.

Something must be different about Obama to bring out the lunatic fringe in this particular way.  The problem for the Republicans is that they have nurtured the ultra right for many, many years, and they’ve suddenly found that the Freepers have become the Republican activist base.  They were out and about during Clinton’s terms of office, blowing up federal buildings, setting off bombs at the Olympics.  Code Pink! you might say.  Yes, Code Pink made a lot of noise about being anti-war and stuff, but when they disrupted events, they got led away almost immediately.  This isn’t happening with the health care disruptions happening now, unless they turn physical.  To their credit, the Democratic legislators have been giving everyone a chance to speak, even if they’re yelling other people down.

But the rhetoric this time around is much more ominous.  They hated Clinton, alright.  But they really hate Obama. I mean, Clinton may have slept around and fired the people in the White House travel office, but Obama wasn’t born here, they say.  He’s an America-hater, they say.  He’s a communist muslim sleeper agent, they say.  That’s some crazy stuff, and if you dehumanize and demonize a guy like that, it can suddenly become ok to crazy people to do bad things.

Whereas Barry Goldwater had the balls to tell the Birchers to go to hell back in the 60s, recognizing that the JBS was a lunatic fringe, net liability to the conservative movement, contemporary conservatives are either actively encouraging, or else politically unwilling to do the same to the birthers, the deathers, and every other black helicopter weirdo who decides to say something stupid.

You know, if a guy who’s a little stupid and a little unhinged watched Glenn Beck enough and started believing that Obama was racist, and that a pretty benign health insurance reform plan would kill his grandma and make him go in front of a death panel, that guy might do something irreversibly illegal.  I’m genuinely afraid of that, and I’m also very concerned about the fact that the conservative movement and Republican Party are unable or unwilling to call out the lunatics among them.  John McCain tried, when some woman at a campaign event last year said that Obama was an Arab.  But that was the exception.  The big spokespeople for the conservative movement, Beck, Limbaugh – they’re deathers, which is dumber and more dangerous than being a birther.

How does any of this nonsense serve the people who are concerned or opposed to Obama’s health care plan and want to ask non-confrontational questions, read the bill, and debate it rationally with facts? How are they served by the disruption of town hall meetings?  I wish Obama and the Democrats would find a set of balls and do a much, much better job promoting this and tamping down the crazy. More choice, not less.  Health insurance access is improved.  You keep your current coverage.  If you change jobs, you can’t be denied due to pre-existing conditions.  Obama’s Communard death panel doesn’t exist and won’t kill your granny or your kid with Down Syndrome.

My only hope is that the silent, centrist majority of Americans are quietly watching all this and are appalled by it.  You know, the people who have shown up at the town hall meetings to learn about the health care bill and speak with their congressman about it – the ones who are undecided, and don’t believe the crazy shit, but don’t trust the promises.  Those are the people who are ill-served the most by all this, and it’s where most Americans find themselves.  It’s basic courtesy and a pillar of our democratic republic that patriotic people can disagree about a proposed legislation, and discuss it rationally.  One side in this battle has tactically decided not to do that.

I wonder why.