From the War on Terror – Right-wing nuts
I may be a Johnny-come-lately on this topic but I needed time to digest this and form a real opinion and not simply a knee-jerk reaction. Most Americans are now aware of a report issued by Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declaring right-wing extremism a threat and suggesting that returning vets are likely recruits for domestic terrorist. Liberals are practically wetting themselves in excitement. One liberal blog even declared conservatism dead. Now they are in complete control of two branches of the federal government as well as the dominant American media. They can say whatever they like and are doing so with extreme disregard for truth and complete disdain for all who hold opposing opinions. The report, entitled, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” is a mere 10 pages in length. It demonizes just about everyone who has a disagreement with the current administration and employs the term “rightwing” 50 times – 47 times it is the term “rightwing extremism.”
Tactics like this play on emotion and are designed to coerce agreement and crush opposition through fear. If you are an honest thinker, you may not agree with this example but you understand what I am saying is true. Liberals accused the Bush administration of this tactic to gain support for the Iraq war. (Personally, I believe they truly believed the Intel they were receiving.) Name-calling and fear tactics may well be a favorite tool of political strategists to scare the electorate silly to push through a candidate or an agenda.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS WERE WRITTEN ONLY FOR ME
What concerns me most? This appears to be an orchestrated smear campaign targeting dissent. The cattle of America on the left side of the pasture are buying it hook line and sinker while decrying all objecting conservatives as crazy. We have moved from Bush’s War on Terror to a War on Conservatives. Don’t close your mind and move on, bear with me and keep reading. My father is one of the most liberal people I have ever known in my life. I swear the only reason he was not a longhaired hippy was due to the unfortunate placement of his birth, about 5 years early. In his estimation, every Republican elected since Nixon was a Nazi bent on removing the Bill of Rights and dragging us back to the 1800s. He was ready to impeach Bush before he was even sworn in. When I was a teenager, my Dad made some comment about free speech that rang true and has become one of my core beliefs. He said something close to the following, “This country was built on free speech and while I don’t agree with anything you are saying, you have the right to say it. Even though you’re wrong.” We don’t ever hear anyone on the left talk like that anymore. Free speech has become something to be feared.
Those who have read and understood enough of my past essays know that I am a student of history and economics. I read constantly and exclusively non-fiction. Most of my reading material is composed of histories and biographies. I just completed reading James Madison And The Struggle For The Bill Of Rights. Following the Constitutional convention, Madison believed there was no need for a bill of rights. He held that individual rights were reserved to the people and defining them and protecting them inferred that the state had the right to trample on any rights not specifically protected. Later as he became aware of just how strongly his fellow Virginians felt about civil liberties; he changed his mind and became a strong advocate for the Bill of Rights.
Standing more than 200 years in Madison’s future, one can see just how important the Bill of Rights are. Had those 10 amendments not been passed, we would have official religions, no right of assembly, no freedom of the press, and certainly no freedom of speech. Freedom requires trusting people enough to take risks. The founding fathers did not place the right to bear arms in the Constitution for hunters. Thomas Jefferson and others wanted the population to be adequately armed to ensure a benevolent government. Now those are extremist thoughts aren’t they. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States wrote in 1787, “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” Now that is an entirely unacceptable thought today, but read on, “Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” Jefferson wanted to be perfectly clear he was advocating militant uprising as a safeguard to the “rights of the people.”
Am I promoting right-wing terrorism as some of you are thinking? No. I am saying freedom is risky. Whether we are suppressing freedom through the Patriot Act (gasp, a conservative who doesn’t agree to everything in the Patriot Act,) suppressing free press and speech through the so-called Fairness Doctrine, or suppressing gun ownership through extreme gun control laws it is wrong.
FREEDOM OR SAFETY?
Nevertheless, fear is a great motivator and a frightened people will freely surrender their rights if they think it will make them safer. I read this morning that gun sales were up in Seattle. Steve Miletich, reporting in the Seattle Times, accurately reported that these people are buying guns because they fear the Obama administration and his nut job cohorts in Congress, (Pelosi and Reid), will rush to ban all arms and by implication repeal the Second Amendment. (There is another blog essay here – maybe later.)
My automatic reaction is to scoff at this fear, (I do not nor have I ever owned a gun and possess no desire for one – but the people have a Constitutional right to own guns for protection against criminals or even an oppressive government.) However, the Obama administration is pursuing what I believe could be an orchestrated effort to label all centrist and right-leaning thought as extreme and dangerous to society. In very much the same way, Nazi’s used the media, books, and political speeches to create fear of the Jews.
The very act of labeling Conservatives “dangerous” incites fear, negative feelings, and could push some on the fringe over the edge. I wonder if this is not exactly what they are attempting. Clearly, they want to drop fears of Islamic terrorists. Nothing would be more welcome than another Timothy McVey style act of terrorism, since it would change the subject of terrorism. Right-wing terrorism is a relative rarity while Islamic terrorism occurs on a daily basis. Keep in mind, Timothy McVey bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995 – 14 years ago, yet McVey is prominently featured in the Homeland report.
In recent weeks, the government has labeled as extremists or potential terrorist everyone from Ron Paul supporters to returning war veterans. In essence, anyone not on the left is a potential terrorist. Substitute “left-wing extremist” in each of the 47 occurrences of “right-wing extremist” and image the reactions. True there are militant groups on both the left and the right – anyone recall the Black Panthers, Weather Underground, Symbionese Liberation Army, or ACORN? (Just kidding on that last one!) What is happening here is a concentrated effort to divert attention away from Islamic terrorism while simultaneously demonizing political opponents on the right.
The frightening thing is that the groundwork for potential moves against conservatives and conservative speech is being laid. I am not suggesting anything along the lines of concentration camps as some actual extremist have, but I am suggesting that painting your ideological opponents as extremists or worse, terrorists, is dangerous. People who already feel threatened by the ascent of liberals may actually be pushed to act upon those fears. That happened in Waco and Oklahoma City.
WHAT GOES AROUND…
My nature is to assume pure motives even when none are apparent. I believe legitimate fears concerning a racist threat to the life of the President have been investigated and along the way co-opted in a larger strategy. No doubt, Liberals and Democrats believe that they are acting in the best interest of the nation, just as I believe the Bush administration believed everything they did was for that interest. However, our leaders, our educators, and the electorate need a non-partisan review of history and the meaning of freedom.
Since 2001, we have steadily given up our freedoms to gain security. This administration is really no different, only the targets have changed. Now we release potential foreign terror threats into the street and declare domestic political opponents the “real” threat.
Let me explain what Liberals are missing. There is an old saying, “what goes around comes around.” This threat of reciprocity is very real and we have experienced it already. I will briefly repeat my previous observations. In the 1990s, Republicans investigated President Clinton ad infinitum. The level of heat the man took even when he moved to the center was excessive. Democrats welcomed Bush 43 to the White House completely ready for revenge. They investigated, criticized, subverted, undermined, and called for impeachment – all payback. To borrow from the Battlestar Galactica writers, “this has all happened before, and it will all happen again.”
How long do we want to run in this self-destructive cycle of political demonization? I suppose it isn’t much different than asking a Palestinian how long they want to continue fighting the Jews. In either case, the answer seems simple – until one side ceases to exist. With our nation spending at record deficit levels following three decades of deficit spending that time may come.