The Evidence Mounts
I was relieved to read Tom Friedman’s column in this morning’s New York Times, not because he agreed with me so much as that he saw what I saw – and he spoke up. When you are trying to track down pernicious unconscious ideas and impulses, you need as much help as you can get from other minds that can be either taken in and confused by what they are told, or wake up to see the anomalies and contradictions that don’t add up. (See ”Where Did ‘We’ Go?”)
He also provided the very helpful association to Rabin’s assassination 14 years ago. Moreover, his column provoked the additional benefit of drawing an overreaction from Michael Steele, Chairman of the National Republican Committee, who called him a “nut job” for being concerned about the Facebook poll. Steele illustrated an astonishing lack of perspective about what is at stake, choosing to attack the messenger rather than think about those who promoted the idea of assassination as something one could just have an opinion about.
If I were more relaxed about this, I could be sympathetic to Steele. He has a tough job, defending a rabid bunch of politicians saying increasingly outrageous things, congressmen who deny the humanity of the president or accuse him of lying in the middle of a speech to Congress. And other bits of evidence accumulate about the increasingly virulent attitudes being expressed by the right.
For example, The Huffington Post reported today: “Newsmax columnist John Perry wrote Tuesday that President Obama ‘is inviting a military coup’ and that it might not be such a bad thing: ‘Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars.’ (Newsmax appears to have taken the column down.)”
That’s not all: “On the same day conservative talk-radio host Jim Quinn directly addressed U.S. troops, telling them that Obama is ‘gonna get you killed.’ Media Matters points out that the appeals to the military follow a wave of rhetoric from the right suggesting that civilian violence against the government might be justified. Chuck Norris has asked if people are ready for ‘a second American Revolution.’ RedState’s Erick Erickson has asked, ‘At what point do the people … march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp?’ Radio host Michael Savage declared recently that ‘we’re going to have a revolution in this country.’” (See “Obama Coup Fantasized About By Right-Wing Fringe.”)
I want to express my deep appreciation to my colleague Todd Essig for also calling attention to this issue, and offering his own critique of Steels’s comments – while also noting my efforts to comment on the Facebook poll. I don’t know how the mainstream media will respond. Perhaps Friedman’s engagement will arouse more commentary, preventing this issue from persisting unchallenged in our social unconscious.
I deeply believe we have to speak out about it.