The Corpus Callosum

Undercurrent?

Is there some kind of especially violent undercurrent right now, in the
right-wing river of hate?

Ed Brayton just href="http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2009/11/missouri_republicans_call_for.php">posted
about a billboard put up by the GOP, specifically the href="http://lafayettecountyrepublicans.blogspot.com/2009/11/new-i-70-billboard-replaces-famed.html">Lafayette
County
(Missouri) Republicans:

style="display: inline;">I-70 Billboard 11_19_09.jpg src="http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/I-70%20Billboard%2011_19_09.jpg"
class="mt-image-none" style="" height="300" width="400">

The
sign href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pLAEA5g3XFE/SwWvarqmcZI/AAAAAAAAAIc/MekmJcbMnWA/s1600/I-70+Billboard+11:19:09.jpg">(bigger
view in new window)
reads:

A Citizens Guide to Revolution of a corrupt government.
1. Starve the Beast.
2. Vote out incumbents.
3. If steps, 1 & 2 fail?

PREPARE FOR WAR–LIVE FREE OR DIE!”

href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starve_the_beast">Starve the beast,”
by the way, is a phrase that refers to the neoconservative policy
popularized by Grover Norquist: “My goal is to cut government in half
in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it
in the bathtub.”  What makes this nonsensical is that the
starve-the-beast philosophy has nothing to do with corruption; it is a
non sequitur.  Plus, the starve-the-beast strategy was to use
large budget deficits so that social programs would become
unaffordable.  The current Administration is doing that rather
effectively.  So in effect, they are calling for a revolution
because the Administration is doing what they want!  Need I say, this
doesn’t make any sense at all
.  It is totally muddled thinking.

Now I see href="http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/03/26/michelle-bachmann-calls-for-violent-revolution/">this,
from US Rep. Michele
Bachmann
(R-MN):

 “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on
this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas
Jefferson told us, “Having a revolution every now and then is a good
thing,” and the people – we the people – are going to have to fight
back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has
the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United
States.”

What is deeply strange about this, is that she said it in response to a
question about proposed cap-and-trade legislation!  There have
been many revolutions in the history of this Earth, for various
different reasons, but I am not aware of any that has been staged
because of environmental legislation.  While her proposal does not
suffer from the complete lack of logic that the Lafayette County
Republicans exhibit, it does suffer from a complete lack of common
sense. 

I’m not hooked in to the the firehose-of-hate email/talk radio stream,
so I don’t know if there is any connection.  Media Matters
noted, on 30 September 2009, that there is a “ href="http://mediamatters.org/research/200909300003">trend of
extremist right-wing rhetoric.”  They gave several
examples.  However, they did not really demonstrate a trend. 
That would be difficult to prove.  Still, there is some
evidence.  Last month, a Boston Globe article mentioned “a new
wave of antigovernment fervor.”  The article is about an increase
in threats against the President:

A [Southern Poverty Law] Center study released in August
found a nearly 35 percent growth in racially based domestic hate groups
since 2000 – from 602 to 926. The center concluded that opposition to
Obama’s election has only increased the phenomenon…”One result has
been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the
presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election
of Barack Obama.”

Threatening language has also found its way into talk radio broadcasts
and social networking websites, raising fears that individuals not
normally considered threats to the president could be incited to
violence…
“The racist extremist fringe is exploiting themes that strike a chord
in the mainstream more than we have seen in the recent past,” said
Brian Levin…

Ronald Kessler, author of href="http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Secret-Service-Behind-Protect/dp/0307461351/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258954279&sr=8-1">In
the President’s Secret Service
, href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/opinion/23rich.html?_r=2&ref=opinion">notes
that threats against President Obama are four times more common than
they were against President Bush.  Frank Schaeffer, author of title="Amazon link"
href="http://www.amazon.com/Patience-God-People-Religion-Atheism/dp/030681854X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258956223&sr=8-1">Patience
with God: Faith for People Who Dont Like Religion (or Atheism)
,
states with conviction that these threats are escalating, and are
serious.  Moreover, he links them to the evangelical
movement.  He was interviewed by Rachel Maddow, as featured on Crooks
and Liars
(it’s the second video on href="http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/frank-schaeffer-warns-against-latest-threa">the
page):

But there is a crazy fringe to whom all these little
messages that have been pouring out of Fox News, now on a bumper
sticker, talking about doing away with Obama, asking God to kill him.

Really, this is trawling for assassins. And this is serious business.
It’s un-American, it’s unpatriotic, and it goes to show that the
religious right, the Republican far-right, have coalesced into a group
that truly wants American revolution, and if it turns out to be blood
in the streets and death, so be it. This is not funny stuff any more.
They cannot be dismissed as just crazies on the fringe…

…Look. This is the American version of the Taliban. The Taliban
quotes the Qu’ran, and al Qaeda quotes certain verses in the Qu’ran, in
or out of context, calling for jihad, and bloody war, and the curse of
Allah on infidels. This is the Old Testament, Biblical equivalent of
calling for holy war. Now, most Americans’ll just see the bumper
sticker and smile and think that it’s facetious. Unfortunately, there
are 22 million Americans or so who call themselves super-conservative
evangelicals. Of this, a small minority might be violent. But, the
general atmosphere here is really getting heated…

Meanwhile, href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/business/media/22beck.html?bl">Glen
Beck:

…says he wants to go beyond broadcasting his opinions and
start rallying his political base — formerly known as his audience — to
take action.  To do so, Mr. Beck is styling himself as a political
organizer. In an interview, he said he would promote voter registration
drives and sponsor a series of seven conventions across the country
featuring what he described as libertarian speakers…

In other words, Beck wants to become a community organizer.  I
can’t tell if this is stranger than it is frightening, or the
reverse. 

Comments

  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    November 23, 2009

    I’m not hooked in to the the firehose-of-hate email/talk radio stream, so I don’t know if there is any connection.

    I am.

    There is.

  2. #2 Pierce R. Butler
    November 23, 2009

    Two good blogs for following all this: Talk To Action & Orcinus. Also (no link to avoid moderation filter), see the Southern Poverty Law Center at http://www.splcenter.org.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.