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Stop giving them ground.
Author: Raine    Date: 03/25/2010 12:57:22

Last September I wrote a post entitled: They don't represent me. in it, I stated
So many people marched for Civil rights in this nation. People died for the cause. So, the questions I have are: Are we going to let a group of people who want to drag this country back to Jim Crow days frame a debate that they created? Are we going to let a small group of white people decide the direction of this country? Are we going to allow for another civil war to happen? The question I ask of myself: am I going to let those people represent me?
The answer remains the same: they don't represent me. Last June I wrote:
They are ratcheting up this environment of fear and hatred, toward our administration, towards abortion rights activists, towards women, towards Blacks, towards Hispanics, towards Jews, towards Muslims, towards liberals -- towards anyone who isn't a white conservative it seems. We've written about this on the blog before.

When a man is killed at a museum that is a memorial to remind people of the horrors of hate-crimes, we have a problem. When radio hosts defend murder we have an even bigger problem. Domestic Terrorism is alive and well in America. I wish that the right wing could understand that. Instead, it appears they support it.

Things are getting dangerous out there. That DHS report was correct. There ARE those who would undermine this great nation and make it less secure by justifying their own violent agenda by whatever means necessary. They would seek to create terror in the hearts and minds of those they find disagreements with. I have said it before, and I will say it again, it is Domestic Terror. Those that are complicit in fanning the flames of hatred regarding this terror must stop denying culpability. Words matter.
This is not a "best of" blog. It's a reminder that while some in the media are finally beginning to understand and report on this issue of racism, hate and violence since last April -- I am deeply concerned it is too little reporting and a bit too late.

We are coming up to the Anniversaries of the Waco Siege and the Oklahoma City Bombing. It's easy to remember those two deadly historical events, but what's easier to forget is the rhetoric that led up to both these incidents. In the two blogs I cited above, both posted on Facebook, conservative acquaintances took serious umbrage to the points I was trying to make. Consistently, people on the right tell me these are just isolated incidents and they are not connected in any way. I believe many of them do believe that. They believe it because they themselves do not feel like this is something that represents them. The reality tho, is that it does, Every day more and more it does. You can see it on the streets and in the words spoken in the Halls of Congress.

I can understand why people don't want to believe that about a party they claimed to be associated with. It is far more comfortable to say these are isolated incidents and that they do not represent a person's ideology. The problem, however lies in the fact that we have had too many instances of conservatives inciting violence. Far too many. Just yesterday, we heard of Death threats on Bart Stupak's life, Threats to the brother of Rep. Perriello (intended to be to the representative himself), assassination threats of Children of Rep. Slaughter, A right wing blog has asked tea Party protesters to show up at the home of another Congressman as well. Rachel Maddow did an amazing job of documenting this last night, and when the video becomes available, I will add it to this blog. Even Shep Smith over at Fox is wondering about this.
"What we do know is that when leaders on either side of the aisle go with this over-inflated rhetoric and they tell us it's the end of the world, it's Armageddon, the Marxists have taken over Washington, it's the end of the world as we know it, we're moving into socialism," he said, "when they say things like that, that maybe some of them don't believe, and then the fringes believe it, and then they go out and do stupid things...Well, I mean, it's all kind of tied together isn't it?"
Here is the point that I have been trying to make for years now, words matter. How they are used, and how they are manipulated so people hear what you want them to hear. The right wing is very, very good at this. And when I say the right wing, at this point, I AM talking about Republican members of Congress. I saw them thank the Tea Party. I saw them use incendiary words that are usually used to incite anger and violence. They are using those words to do just that.

Sadly we on the left, in blogs, messageboards, facebook and twitter often reply to these actions and words with snark and sarcasm. I am the first to use humor in any given situation, but it is becoming increasingly clear to me that the more we do that, the more ground they gain. It is time that we confront these people with words that mean something. We need to try to make people understand that our humor in these situations are not meant to excuse this behavior. John Stewart and Stephen Colbert can do this -- they are professionals. Even then, they are often reaching out (albeit unintentionally) to those that already agree with them. Not a single conservative watching either show is going to sit back and say -- 'Hey, I think he has a point. I need to stop abetting this behavior.' Most often, they sit back at night and believe in their hearts that they are the exception, not the rule. Stewart and Colbert are not changing hearts and minds about this impending tipping point in this nation. It's not their job.

AND-- it is nearing a tipping point. Until the media, along with people like you and I start taking the threats of violence seriously, it will get worse. Make no mistake about it, people like Glenn Back, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sarah Palin, Steve King, Michelle Bachmann, Pete Hoekstra, and many others who claim to represent the conservative movement are upping the stakes. Even if they don't believe what they are saying, they believe they stand to gain from it. There are people in America who hear the words and are reacting to it thinking that they have something to gain from it as well.

Sarcasm isn't going to stop those people from following through on their threats. When we snark, I truly believe it is important to follow thru with explanations, because the snark DOES come across to these people as tacit approval for their behavior. It is easy to point fingers and blame, but in the way we go about trying to rectify this horrible situation, we must be responsible and not add to the issues. Don't get me wrong, I am not calling for anyone to stop using humor as a way to release steam. I would go insane if I didn't have a sense of humor about all of this. I am asking that we do more. As impossible as it seems communication and explanation do work. Non-violent resistance works.

Think about this: They really don't seem to have the comprehension that what they are approving of is violent and hate-filled, so why would they be shamed into thinking otherwise with the use of sarcasm?



37 comments (Latest Comment: 03/26/2010 13:32:25 by Al from WV)
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