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Saturday, June 13, 2009

When Hate Talk Turns To Horrific Action

Listen up. The attack on the holocaust museum by James W von Brunn Wednesday continues to reverberate in the minds and hearts of many Americans? People are asking:

"How could this be
happening in America in the 21st century?"

"Yes, we know anti-semitism and racism still lingers, but haven't we become tolerant of each other now?
"

*Why can't we stop the violence and just deal with each other with respect? We're all Americans, aren't we?"

As Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and columnist Eugene Robinson notes, we are living at a time when much of this type of violence and hatred is rare. But it still happens. And when Janet Na
politano warned us that "lone wolf extremists" were the most dangerous domestic terrorists, Republicans cried foul, ignoring facts and analysis, accusing the Obama administration of picking on conservatives. But Robinson not only provides the politics behind this nonsense; he poses and ponders the questions:

What happens when a right-wing crazies hear speech from the likes of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh or Fox tv talk show host Sean Hannit
y?

What happens if the crazies hearing this Anti-Sotomayor, anti-Obama, anti-government speech don't get it that the hate speech filled with half-truths and distortions are little more
than fiery rhetoric to rev up the right-wing political base but take the hate speech to be true, swallowing it whole? Check him out:


The Lone Wolves Among Us
By
Eugene Robinson

We are blessed to live at a time when violent acts of hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion have become rare, at least in this country. As the act of terrorism committed Wednesday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum should remind us, though, rare doesn’t mean nonexistent.

James W. von Brunn, the 88-year-old white supremacist who allegedly took a rifle into the museum and killed security guard Stephen Johns, is more than a bitter, demented old man. He is a known figure in the domestic hate industry, a venom-spewing polemicist whose Web site offered readers the chance to download the opening chapters of his racist, anti-Semitic tome for free—and to buy the rest of the book for the bargain price of 10 bucks.

Apparently, there weren’t enough takers. The Washington Post reported Thursday that acquaintances say von Brunn had become virtually destitute and was complaining that “someone in Washington” had cut his Social Security benefits as punishment for his political views. His recent e-mail blasts were apocalyptic. “It’s time to kill all the Jews,” said one.

It’s easy to surmise that von Brunn, a rabid Holocaust denier, could have chosen the Holocaust museum as a target because he thought it would offer the opportunity to kill Jews. His writings show that he also hates black people with great passion, however, so perhaps he took some measure of sick satisfaction in allegedly gunning down the 39-year-old Johns, an African-American.

In April, a prescient Department of Homeland Security memo predicted that the election of the first African-American president and the advent of economic hard times could worsen the threat from “right-wing extremist groups.” In particular, the memo warned of an increase in anti-Semitic activity by extremists who buy into the whole Jewish-banker-secret-cabal paranoid fantasy—and would blame “the Jews” for engineering the global financial crisis, just as they blame “the Jews” for everything.

For days, some conservative commentators tried mightily to paint the memo as an underhanded attempt by the Obama administration to smear its honorable critics by equating “right wing” with “terrorism.” It made no difference to these loudmouths that the number of hate groups around the country has increased by more than 50 percent since 2000, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It didn’t matter that the memo was backed up by solid intelligence and analysis. For these infotainers, the point isn’t to illuminate a subject by putting it in the light but to blast it with heat.

And it wasn’t just the Sean Hannitys, Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks of the world who pretended to be outraged. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele accused the administration of trying “to segment out Americans who dissent from this administration, to segment out conservatives in this country who have a different philosophy or view from this administration, and labeling them as terrorists.” Steele seems to have decided that telling the truth isn’t nearly as important as the high-temperature exercise known as “firing up the base.”

The thing is, though, that words have consequences.

For the full story, see http://www.truthdig.com


Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.

9 comments:

SDG said...

Words have power. I have always believed so. We can speak something into existence and this is precisely what is happening in America today.

The hate filled rhetoric of right wing extremists and fox news coupled with a troubled economy, is a recipe for disaster.

I despair for this nation. I really do.

MacDaddy said...

SDG: If the economy turns around, and if people begin to listen less to hatemongers and more to people with ideas about bringing us together as a nation, we have a chance. Otherwise, it's going to be very tough. But President Obama has made some good changes, not an easy thing in this tough political environment.

I'm going to Stay positive. What about you?

Robster said...

The DOJ report was once again proven correct, and this is why a larger number of people who identify themselves as Republican are dissatisfied with their party.

I'm afraid we're entering a time when we're going to be thrust back into the cycle of violence that took place in the sixties.

Nun in the Hood said...

HI, MACDADDY...I BELIEVE WITH ADG THAT LANGUAGE IS POWERFUL AND FORMATIVE.Thank God we have a president who is not only eloquent, but right on target! I believe that our nation IS being re-formed by this president's courage, honesty, and transpareny....AMAZING...And like your other comment stated, we need to stay POSITIVE. And each of us in our own way can counter HATRED with LOVE....For instance, today I participated in a Peace ralley conducted by moms and dads of kids who have been murdered.....through a long process they have come to a place of forgiveness and reconciliation, and they are inviting others to do the same....Could it be that through their efforts, we have had only 5 homicides in the city of Minneapolis in 2009? That's 5 too many, but we need to keep on keeping on with efforts great and small.....With Anne Frank, I believe in the GOODNESS of all people......Let's claim that goodness in everyone we meet!

msladydeborah said...

I firmly believe that the most dangerous form of terrorism is this type. Home grown American. A white male who decides he has beef with the Feddies and has reached the point where murder is the case he wants to make.

There is a considerable amount of hate speech being circulated throughout this nation. Even though the usual suspects want to deny that they are forwarding this...they definitely have a hand in the mindset.

RiPPa said...

Back in the days there were reports which alluded to a rise in "Black Power" groups which subsequently led to the gov't intervening. Most of these groups were misunderstood, and as a result were crushed as they sought equality for Blacks who were historically marginalized.

QUESTION:How come the gov't doesn't use the same tactics to destroy these 900 or so known hate groups in this country?

MacDaddy said...

SdG: You are right. We are working out of perception, not facts. This confusion of perception with reality is great for the corporate media. It allows them to use confusion to elevate fear, to keep the American people as angry as possible, as scared as possible--long past the next commercial.

Nun: Yes, I believe that President Obama is doing the best he can in a toxic environment in Washington D.C., inside the beltway.

Rippa: Yea, why aren't they coming down on some of those groups like they came down on Fred Hampton in Chicago and Geronimo Pratt in New York, and other Black Panthers trying, among other things, to feed the children and get rid of the drugs in black communities? But we all know why: The Panthers were black and these extremists are white. We will boldly go after black people wanting real change and hang back when some white people are talking about blowing up buildings and killing our own president...President Obama symbolizes defeat for them. Instead of seeing him as a representative of a more diverse, a more inclusive America, they see him as proof that America no longer is run by, for, and about white people. And a more diverse America run by a black man is something they will not accept.

But, Rippa, I know you are not fooled. I know you know that it's not just a bunch of crazed white guys who feel this way. It's the feeling of a lot of white people. They just will not own up to it.

Somebodies Friend said...

Isn't it sad when these hate groups continue to bring on the hate, even after a black man is now in the presidency, and this man won fair and square, unlike a couple of past wins that leaned a big towards the haters pulling a few strings in states like Forida, to pull off the win. Must be nice to have a brother in office in just the right state, at just the right time, wouldn't you say.

As for these hate groups, somebody really needs to do something to flush these rats out of their holes, and I think with Obama now in office, that we will finally see some of this taking place in this country.

Sooner or later, Obama will have no choice but "To fush them out of their holes."

Even though I still shake my head, and wonder why we are still dealing with topics such as these in the year 2009, I realize that these haters are just a fact of life.

But their time is coming!

MacDaddy said...

Somebody: You say their time (hate groups) is coming. I hope you're right. Meanwhile, we all have to do what we can to show that Americans of all ethnicities, race, religions, and sexual orientations can work together to improve our neighborhoods. Nobody can do this but us. Blessings, my brotha.