Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ready-For-Anything Nation

The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve. Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. ...

Our day of reckoning, indeed, may be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them.

-Kathleen Parker 10/1/08

Kathleen Parker, the syndicated conservative columnist who called on Sarah Palin to step off the national ticket, has been inundated with hate mail -- Palin fans telling her she ought to have been aborted, she should kill herself, she's a traitor, etc. ...

I have a very bad feeling about where all this is headed -- especially if there is an economic collapse. We will have trained ourselves to think of our neighbors not as opponents to be defeated, but as enemies to be annihilated by any means necessary.

-Rod Dreher

The cities were still there, the houses not yet bombed and in ruins, but the victims were millions of people. They had lost their fortunes, their savings...and did not understand how it had happened to them and who the foe was who had defeated them. Yet they had lost their self-assurance, their feeling that they themselves could be the master of their own lives if only they worked hard enough; and lost, too, were the old values of morals, of ethics, of decency. Would prosperity last long enough to restore them?

-Pearl Buck, describing her 1923 trip to Germany many years later.


Anonymous e. nonee moose said...

Palin fans telling her she ought to have been aborted


10/02/2008 12:58 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I've thought of decimation of our
legal system -- habeas corpus,
torture, spying -- and the
difference between Mad Max and
a general depression due to a finacial
collasp is immense. Let's hope
that Mad Max is not the case.

10/02/2008 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So a few conservative columnists are now getting a taste of how the right-wing fringe has viewed liberals for decades now? I'm not sure this is some new threshold being crossed so much as the ever present underbelly exposing itself.

10/02/2008 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even more precious are the people on Rod's site, including Rod himself I might add, who posit that it is the political left who are the true thugs in this situation. Liberals remove the mote from your eye before we will remove the beam from ours.

If you read Rod Dreher's entire piece, you'll notice that he is pushing the same old "both sides are equally guilty"-meme. While it is true that the political left has its share of shrieking fools, I'm not sure how one can honestly watch conservative folks devouring their own and conclude that liberals partly guilty for the spectacle. Moreover, Rod openly suggests that lefties need to stop dissenting and arguing if they "are concerned at all about this". Staggering really.

10/02/2008 2:18 PM  
Blogger Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

This has been happening for decades. The watershed was December 12, 2000: the day the Republic died.

10/02/2008 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quote about the Depression shows one big difference between then and now. Back then, people didn't really know how this could happen and who was responsible. This time, it's perfectly obvious. That makes a HUGE difference politically.

10/02/2008 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At lunch yesterday, a colleague of mine who teaches Religion in the Catholic school where we both work, quietly described a YouTube clip a friend had sent him through e-mail. Apparently, the clip shows a school-age child singing a song dedicated to Barack Obama. (I have not seen the clip myself.)

My colleague leaned toward me with a wry look in his eye: "I don't know about that, Man. Children singing songs to leaders! Creeps me out!"

I didn't have the heart to send this clip to him:

It's the provincial certainty of the Right, coupled with a clear disdain for informed comment, which frightens me most. They seem entirely devoid of self-examination. Even if I had sent this clip to my Religion teacher colleague, I doubt he would have recognized its irony in light of his obvious anti-Obama comment at lunch.

Truly frightening.

10/02/2008 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Granted I was a democrat all my life. I became more fiscally conservative as I grew older, and maybe even a little more socially conservative. A date noted above, Dec 2000 - things changed.

The more I have watched what has happened the last eight years, the more angry, and LIBERAL I have become. The Ilk of Kathleen Parker, and yes, Sarah Palin, scare the hell out of me.

And for the Kathleens of this world to complain as the reap what they have sewn the last few years, well it would be funny if it was not so tragic.

10/02/2008 4:56 PM  
Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Anon 2:18,
I rarely read Rod. What the hell is he talking about? Most liberals I know have been trying to make the point to any Conservative/Republican that would listen as to what would happen. It takes something like what happened to Parker for some to wake up. Or even think about what they are doing. Who is the left's equivalent of Hannity or O'Reilly? There is none. The left doesn't do that. KO pokes fun at Hannity and Bill-O, not at the people who watches them. He doesn't need to.

10/02/2008 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been 2 weeks since the bailout hit the front pages.

Already wingnut radio and pundits are pounding home their message that it's all the fault of the CRA (legislation for the poor - blacks), Fannie/Freddie (run by Daniel Mudd, James Johnson etc - blacks) and Barack Obama.
Take a look at this "analysis" by a prominent wingnut

The parallels in history are obvious.

10/03/2008 4:35 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Amazing that things are going soooo well in this country that one of the biggest topics in the VP debate is each candidate emoting their everlasting support and love of Israel. I know DC has been "occupied territory" for some years now but honestly...I don't ever remember it being sooo in our faces. AIPAC used to feel the need to keep such things below the radar. Personally I think AIPAC was smarter doing that...because I don't think most US citizens really give a rat's behind about Israel. There are probably many in the US who are really starting to understand just how far AIPAC's influence goes in DC these days. That is not going to be in AIPAC's interests in the long run. They are outsiders...and will be seen as matter how much propaganda they employ. They are planting the seeds of their own destruction IMO. It just seemed weird to me for a VP debate on national television to feel the need to pick out one small country in the world (that is a financial dependent of the US) and having VP candidates bow down and kiss their butts for 10 minutes. AIPAC must be losing confidence in themselves to force these candidates to do that for them. That is a sign of weakness not strength.

10/03/2008 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...

Anon @ 3:48:

I agree that people seem to get it a bit better this time. The opposition to the bailout bill indicates that while people may not understand exactly how it happened, they know who did it. They understand that high-finance types have played fast and loose with people's money and trust, and now they want the taxpayer to pick up the pieces. So I take heart in that.

But many people are also still open to propaganda. So as this thing gets worse, who can tell where public sentiment will go?

10/03/2008 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Kilfarsnar said...


I too groaned and rolled my eyes during that part of the debate. It was pretty overt.

I am one of those Americans you refer to that doesn't really care much one way or the other about Israel. At least not more than any of our other allies. You don't hear anyone going out of their way to pledge support for France or Britain. I know neither of those countries are threatened like Israel is. But Israel seems to be able to take care of itself.

10/03/2008 12:09 PM  
Blogger Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

The fiction that Ahmedinejad called for the destruction of Israel, rather than a condemnation of radical Zionism (an argument that parallels the call for eradication of fundamentalist Islam), is pretext for an attack on Iran: something Israel and neoConDC want very badly. It's also code for 'end times' voters who John and Sarah appeal to most.

This came up in the first Presidential debate as well. If I had one wish it would be that a chorus of national leaders, in business, in government and in the media, would put the lie to this horrible mistranslation. The statements of the President of Iran with respect to the destructiveness of radical Zionism to the process of peace in the middle east have been sincere and worthy of consideration and debate. To misconstrue them as a call for annihilation of a people is insidious. In my understanding of the original Farsi, such words were never uttered. Instead, these lies serve our political masters and corrupt our commons.

10/03/2008 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Radio also played a crucial role in the genocide in Rwanda. :-(

"But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk" -

Um, ...isn't that today's Republican party? Isn't that the point of the Republican talking points? Of Fox, Limbaugh, Coulter? To repeat ad nauseam, stuff, sound bites, and appeal to the lowest emotions. Doesn't matter if its true. But the point is, to make sure there is only one opinion: "Theirs".

Another example of the Republican One Party Opinion POV: Elisabeth on ABC's "The View", who is a conservative, said the reason Sarah Palin could not name a newspaper she read was because she did not want to endorse one. She added, you know, any liberal papers. Even Elisabeth, the cohost on a softball show, knows that there is only One Party View, therefore it isn't necessary to read unless the Party personally hands it to you. Did Elisabeth's excuse imply Palin would be a traitor if she read unapproved Republican publications and read an unapproved Party View.

This has been going on for 2+ decades, and escalated with the 2000 election. With all the angry media personalities on the right stirring the public's emotional pot while telling others to shut up, Parker's surprise now seems convenient. The right have been the facilitators. Gingrich said in the 70's the Right should be meaner. I remember Limbaugh's TV show in the 90's when I was first exposed to media uncivility and personal attacks from a highly paid media personality. Duh! What does she expect? Rove and the Republican party courted the Stalinists and other extremists.

When I started reading this entry, I remembered I saw it some place:

Kathleen Parker Discovers Her Fellow Right Wingers Can Be A Nasty Bunch

When there is some change in our media (talk radio, Fox): truth, respect, civility, debate, then they will have some creditibility when they cry only for themselves. But as it stands today, using some of Bill Maher's words, they are: "demagogues and conmen and scolds". Oh yeh, ABC kicked Maher off the aire. And I don't think I'd like to see Bill's email either. I'm sure the Dixie Chicks could tell us something about the dangers of speaking out. On the line of civility and personal safty, where did Kathleen Parker stand then?

10/03/2008 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are always going to be crazies. It is what happens next that matters. Calling a crazy a representative of the right or the left, only hurts the Country.

Of course, politically, they are probably thinking, divide and conquer. Use it for ratings. Use it for power and money. O'Reilly and Limbaugh do it all the time.

But really, if it is as extreme as she says, shouldn't she take this to the FBI?

Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

10/03/2008 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy the Saint,

I think it is just shock. Folks on the political right, like Rod, are not used to having eliminationist rhetoric jammed in their faces.

I also think that Rod is basically a reasonable person. In his attempts to understand/rationalize his peers on the right, he is projecting some of that rationality. Suggesting that the overheated partisanship in the public discourse would cool if liberals were to be less confrontational is simply naive. Progressives have shown many times what happens if they just lay down and let the right have their way. The mere existence of opposing viewpoints is enough to motivate the right's base into righteous action.

-Medicine Man (anon 1:54, 2:18)

10/03/2008 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To think that I used to regard that bloke Orcinus as a bit overwrought...

-Medicine Man

10/03/2008 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you notice the quote by Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, that Sarah Palin used in her Republican nomination acceptance speech.

That might explain the root cause of this situation. It appears to run deep in the Republican party.

Paul Krugman found her ending debate quote.

10/03/2008 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neither party represents freedom in this election. If you distill the rhetoric on either side you find that the plans are eerily similar, and they all involve more, more, MORE GOVERNMENT. The only question left is which king will you vote for, subject?

Both sides are genuinely afraid that the other guy will win, and their freedom will be lost - and they're right. Freedom is an alien concept in this country. On both sides.

10/04/2008 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Obama is elected, it would be interesting to offer the Right Wingers an opportunity to take a loyalty oath to the United States of America.

Imagine the sudden outpouring of protest against such an oath, and the universal refusal to sign among Wingers.

10/05/2008 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democracy Now has some interviews on this craziness.

"Former McCain Supporter Accuses the Senator of "Deliberately Feeding the Most Unhinged Elements of Our Society the Red Meat of Hate""

"Robert Parry: Why Are McCain Backers So Angry?"

10/13/2008 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reporter gets kicked by angry McCain/Palin supporter.

Report from Palin rally

"But I have never had the sense that a Democrat was going to get physical in that kind of way. Even though McCain and Palin have taken a kinder gentler tone in their speeches, there was still a real undercurrent of anger at the rallies I covered this week."

10/17/2008 1:23 PM  

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