We looked into the face of hatred that day, and found out that this particular brand of it was one of our own. He didn't just appear out of the ether, mind you, he was created out of a few small legitimate resentments packaged with a whole host of irrational and coaxed hatred. Just like now, talk radio fed the hatred and gave those already feeling displaced a target for their anger. No, it wasn't new, it was just more emotional and more widespread.
This morning, remembering that smoking crater that was the Murrah building, I open the newsreader only to see that the Militia movement will be packing heat at rally on the Potomac:
"Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried, his rifle unloaded and slung to the rear, a bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition draped over his polo-shirted shoulder. The Atlanta area real estate agent organized the rally because he is upset about health-care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, drug laws and what he sees as President Obama's insistence on and the Democratic Congress's capitulation to a 'totalitarian socialism' that tramples individual rights."Of course, Obama signed the law that makes carrying that gun into the park legal, and these idiots seem to forget that Bush did more to intrude on their individual liberties than anything Obama has even suggested, and these assholes cheered for Bush and company.
This morning, I am remembering conversations with distant family members who said that Obama was a socialist radical, or any of them who continue to say that he hates America or wants our economy to fail (McCain) or that he is purposefully undermining our national security. Or those, like Rush and Beck who accuse him of open racism. Or those like Palin who cheered crowds to see Obama as a supporter of terrorism.
I understand the motivations for Rush and Beck. It is simply, and cynically money and fame. But I really wonder about the supposedly mature and rational and Christian who give credence to the crazy by suggesting that they are right to fear Obama. Their motivation is less clear to me. They know better. And yet, they send that signal to those who are not quite all together, that their fear of government is reasonable--that their hatred of Obama is understandable.
You know the right is unhinged when even Kathleen Parker fears their rhetoric and suggests that grownup Republicans and rational people everywhere need to shout them down.
The only palatable answer is what conservatives say they love best: self-control and personal responsibility. When someone spews obscenities, shout them down. When politicians and pundits use inflammatory language, condemn them.
When you choose to remain silent, consider yourself complicit in whatever transpires.
Benen notes the problem of the silent Republican standing by while Republican members of Congress cheer on the mob:
The Washington Monthly: "In some ways, the silence troubles me nearly as much as the extremism itself. I want desperately to hear Republican Party officials and leaders make clear that they find overheated madness to be offensive and wrong.
But they don't, because they can't -- Republicans are counting on rage to win elections and fill their campaign coffers. So the party makes Palin becomes a hero, it puts Bachmann in front of the cameras, it sweeps Steve King's sympathies towards domestic terrorism under the rug, it tolerates GOP leaders equating the party with the Taliban, and it decides it can try to lower the temperature at some later date, perhaps after the midterms."
To be absolutely clear, there is no guarantee against crazy people taking up arms or explosives. None. But only fools look at this heightened environment and urge their followers to "reload." Only idiots tell angry crowds that they should beat their opponents to a pulp.
The conservative grownups among us can no longer be silent.