As you might already have seen from the comments, apparently my linking to her post brought the matter to the attention of Lady Libertas. Truthfully, her comment is quite gracious; something I’d come to expect from her. Looking forward to the. reply she says she’s drafting.
As some of you probably already know, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the TwitScape during this long, hot, angry month of August, primarily because of the white-hot debate over health care reform that’s taking place throughout the country. From participating in health care reform conversations on Twitter, I’ve come into contact with a fair number of people, of both sides. Heck, of all sides. There are political tenderfoots (feet?), conservatives, Democrats, liberals, Republicans, libertarians, nutcases….well, you get the idea.
One of the political neophytes I’ve run across is a woman in Florida who goes by the nom-de-Twit of Lady Libertas. I focused in on her because unlike so many in the anti-reform, teabagger movements, she is not only quite lucid (even though I couldn’t disagree more with her views), but – and this is even more rare amongst conservatives towards anyone they perceive as an opponent – she is also never personally vitriolic or nasty. Turns out, she also has a blog right here at WordPress.com. So, out of curiosity, I started visiting it, and even left a couple of rather-lengthy rebuttals to a couple of her posts. In the past, when I’ve done that on the blogs of people with whom I disagree, I’ve come to learn that often, they will simply not allow any comments which don’t amount to an Amen Chorus (i.e. – near-total agreement). So I’ve learned from those past experiences to always save copies of the stuff I write on conservatives’ blogs (at least if I want to be able to refer to it again), because often, once I hit that “post” button, no one ever sees it again. But with Lady Libertas, things seemed different. She posted up at least a couple of my responses, and I thought things would continue in that manner.
Thank goodness that my old habit of saving posts to a text file before I hit “send” on them was still functioning, because I wrote out a pretty long and thoughtful reply to a post of hers I found particularly wrongheaded, called Does Our Government Hate The American People (yeah, I know: why are right-wingers seemingly unable to get beyond the not only false but also arrogant-bordering-on-bigoted assumption that THEY – and ONLY they – are the “real Americans,” or “the American people!”). That was just before noon on Wednesday, August 12th — approximately 83 hours ago.
It’s still not posted.
So, since Lady Libertas has inexplicably reverted to the behavior I’ve come to expect from right-wingers (but hadn’t seen previously from her), I’ll make my reply to her here, starting right after the jump. You’d probably need to go read her post to understand where I’m coming from – but I wouldn’t blame anyone who just wanted to skip the entire bit of me-arguing-with-random-right-winger (so feel free, LOL). For those of you who have too much free time, or just want to find out, read on:
Again, where to even begin?
I’ll start at the beginning: your referral to one of the most famous right-wing canards of recent months: the tempest-in-a-tea-party of DHS’s supposedly scandalous memo about right wing extremism. Even in your own quote from DHS Chair Napolitano, she says that DHS doesn’t “have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence” (emphasis added). Regardless of the ideology. Yet, that didn’t stop Rush Limbaugh and virtually the entirety of the right-wing noise machine from complaining ad nauseam that this was proof, PROOF, I tell you, that the Obama administration was pursuing a witch hunt against conservatives. However, Rush – like you in this post – failed to point out that DHS released nearly simultaneously another report warning of the dangers of LEFT-wing extremism. But hey, why let a few inconvenient facts get in the way of a good anti-administration rant?
Interestingly, the coda to that ginned-up non-story in April of this year was a pair of gunshot-blasts, the first from the sadly deluded Richard Poplawski in Pennsylvania, who stated he believed that “Obama was going to take away his guns,” less than a week before the right-wing started moaning about how horribly they were being treated by this DHS “targeting.” And the second, from Scott Roeder, the alleged assassin of Dr. George Tiller in his church in Omaha, for explicitly political/social reasons. I don’t personally scour police blotters throughout the country, but I’ve yet to hear of any similarly-horrendous crimes from “left-wing terrorists” in that same time. Yet DHS, under Napolitano/Obama, produced reports cataloguing the activities of both groups. Somehow, though, according to Rush, you, and the rest of the right-wing, the right is being “unfairly targeted” by the Obama administration.
OK, on to the next – and worst – part; the part you clearly don’t even see — so let me highlight it:
As the snotty and dismissive opinions of the Left emerged, the American People grabbed their boot straps and settled in to make a point.
This isn’t (sadly) unique in right-wing writings, but it’s worth pointing out every time it’s displayed: the conservative impulse to separate “real Americans” from “the left.” It’s what allows Bill O’Reilly to repeatedly call anyone he deems leftists “Nazis,” “the KKK,” “Stalinists,” etc. Oops – almost forgot when O’Reilly said he’d only support a “lynching party” for Michelle Obama “if there were hard facts.”And don’t even get me started on the Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage quotes, LOL. The common thread running through them all, though – and apparently, through your thinking as well, sadly – is that “patriots” and “real Americans” are something entirely different from “the left.” Every side has their lunatics, their hateful, and their unwise mouthers-off, but this separation of the American people into “real Americans” (read: folks like YOU) and “others” (read: anything from “the left” to “non-whites” to a lot of other things) remains unique to the American right wing. You go on to hagiographize the recent tea party participants by rhapsodizing that among them, “there is one unifying factor: Our Love for the United States of America.” It seems to have either escaped your notice or you actively do not believe that those you consider opponents might also share a “love for the United States of America.” Apparently, if people do not agree with your views about the U.S.A., then, in your mind, they must not “love it.” “Does Our Government Hate The American People,” you ask?
Um, no. Unless, by “hate” you mean “disagree with” and, by “the American people,” you mean “the segment of tea-partiers who are shouting down elected representatives and their constituents at town hall events across the nation this August.” In that case, yes: the government does “hate” “the American people.”
Honest to Pete, if it wasn’t condescending on its face, I’d tell people who use language like yours to simply grow up: you didn’t lose your rights or your freedoms, you lost an election. Just like people who think like me did – twice – in 2000 and 2004. And you know what? We managed to recover and put together a strategy to win back some power and leverage, not by engaging a strategy of victimization, fauxtrage and shouting down our opposition, but by convincing the American people that George Bush really WAS what we’d been saying he was, and that we had a better – and more inclusive – way forward. Yet, for years, those of us who opposed the rush to war in Iraq, who questioned the solidity of the Bush administration’s claims for WMD and for Iraq-Al Qaeda ties? We got called “anti-American,” “loons,” “objectively pro-terrorist,” and various even viler epithets. Though we were, you know, RIGHT in our analysis of the Bush administration’s shaky case for war, we were repeatedly invited to leave America if we didn’t – as you suggest – “love it.” It’s a consistent theme with conservatives: when they’re in power, they tell the minority in Congress to take a hike, tell the portion of the public that supports the minority that they aren’t real Americans and should leave if they don’t love America or if they “give aid and comfort to the enemy” – and when conservatives are out of power, well…it’s the same song, only with a whiny and threatening tone instead of the dismissive one they use when IN power.
Nancy Pelosi warned of swastikas, you say? No! Say it isn’t so! You mean like these? Or these? How DARE she? [eye roll] And yet the very fact that Pelosi even made such an obviously-true reference earns her a deluge of push-back against her clearly true words. And then, of course, there’s the instance you reference: the case of Representative George Scott of Georgia. He, like many other Representatives throughout the country, has been attempting to hold town hall meetings in the month of August, and he’s run into the same kind of shout-down thug tactics that have seen other Reps. have to be escorted to their cars for safety, or end meetings early because no one could be heard above the consciously-planned shouting. But regardless of the details of Mr. Scott’s specific interaction at his town hall event, what’s not in question is that the word went out among the tea-party faithful that this had been somehow scandalous or wrong on Rep. Scott’s part…and it wasn’t long before some very bad things started “mysteriously” happening. You note that channel 11 (WXIA) in Atlanta reported that the Doctor who quizzed Scott at his townhall did in fact live in his district, but you somehow just didn’t get around to noting that WXIA also reported this:
Oh, and? In that follow-up report (linked above), WXIA reports that:
Scott is right that 11Alive interviewed him before the Douglasville transportation meeting, but the station did not stay to cover the entire meeting. 11Alive obtained a copy of the four-hour tape afterwards and aired portions of it Friday.
Scott says what the station failed to report was the hours-long build up to the confrontation.
“The people were consistently interrupting the people from DOT,” Scott said. “Interrupted the meeting, shouting, scuffles outside. This was no nice doctor coming in and asking a question that David Scott had to speak strongly to.”
Dr. Brian Hill asked Scott a healthcare-related question at the meeting that took several minutes to ask.
“The first question that comes out of his mouth, ‘Why did you vote for this?'” Scott said. “Wait a minute — I didn’t vote for anything. We haven’t had it to vote on.”
What you didn’t see in our original report was the three minutes Scott spent answering the doctor’s question before he raised his voice.
Huh. Go figure.
But about those “very bad things” I mentioned? Well, aside from having his local office sign defaced with a four-foot spray-painted swastika (wait – I forgot – there ARE none of those being used by the tea-partiers!), Rep. Scott also got some mail.
Oddly, one of those pieces of mail looks a great deal like another (OK, it looks EXACTLY like it) piece of mail (see below) received by Washington Democratic Representative Brian Baird
Oops. I forgot – the above doesn’t look EXACTLY like the mailer received by Rep. Scott of Georgia. To that one was added the following lines: “You were/You are/And you shall forever be but a Nigga!,”along with a lovely quote to reinforce the validity of the racism: “The Ethiopian cannot make himself white – Euripides, 480-406 BC.” Other Representatives have been hanged in effigy by tea-party protestors who are just “exercising their rights to free speech”:
Charmed, I’m sure. [gak]
I frankly agree with your quote from Justice Douglas. But I think it’s pretty clear that it’s not the Obama administration – or Keith Olbermann – or Jeanneane Garofalo – who are attempting to restrict free speech. Admitting on a conference call with organizers that your goal is not to engage in free speech, but to shut it DOWN instead, or when you send out memos from strategists specifically instructing town hall attendees to “Be Disruptive Early And Often,” “Make Him Uneasy,” and to “Rattle Him,” (not have an intelligent debate) well, that pretty much wraps up who’s for free speech and who isn’t.