The KKK came to rally in my town when I was a teenager. I couldn’t understand why we had to pay for security so these hate mongers could march in our streets. I stood on the curb watching them, tears rolling down my face, and I asked myself, what kind of world is this?
What kind of world is it where we pay for the security of these hate mongers to express themselves, but no one could save the African Americans who were lynched in the south? No one could save my gay friend from being spit on? No one can save the woman beaten to death by her husband?
No one can spare the endless humiliations born from simple biology, but we could protect these hate mongers, who ironically were comprised of mostly privileged white males.
And yet, I’ve never hated someone’s message so much that I wanted to shut him or her down by force. My liberal parents taught me that those folks had a right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech. This is our right as American citizens. Part of my job as a citizen is to tolerate ideas with which I do not agree, so long as they do not infringe on the rights and safety of others.
It is our most basic of rights, so much so that we are loathe to speak out when people are inciting violence, lest calling for accountability and responsibility mitigate their freedom of speech. The left understands this and supports it to an extreme, while the right has shown an increasing inability to handle dissent of any kind.
The right is especially intolerant of the electoral kind of dissent.
The right is attacking, intimidating, and squashing political facts and opinion that they don’t want to hear. They’re doing it by any means possible — broken windows, hitting Obama stickered-cars, spitting on congressmen.
This is not freedom of speech. It is domestic terrorism.
These are the actions of cowards, who don’t have the guts to face reality. Here’s reality: George W Bush started an illegal war based on a lie. George W Bush got our children, spouses and parents shipped off to war over a lie. We are losing that war. George W Bush also deregulated the financial industry to such an extent that both the housing market and Wall Street collapsed and most of us lost our life savings.
Yes, it sucks. But reasonable, mentally fit people don’t take that out on the next guy. They don’t take it out on other citizens. They don’t resort to violence and intimidation. No, this is the deliberately directed, impotent, misdirected rage of the politically powerless. These people are being used to further the political agenda of the wealthy privileged few. These are the people who heed their Republican leaders’ siren call of sedition.
This, ladies and gentleman, is the modern day “conservative” Republican base, otherwise known as the Tea Party, the Sarah Palin Rally fan club, and the “Christian nationalists”. A party so morally depraved and bereft of intellectual ideas, it has no other choice than to lure its base to anarchy. And let’s be real. They aren’t doing this because they really think Obama is the anti-Christ. They’re doing it because they don’t want to give up power, and they have nothing else.
We need to resist the urge to meet the thugs in the street. The street is all they have. Instead, patriotic citizens of all ideologies need to take a stand for civility. We need to demand it from our elected officials. We need to demand a debate of ideas.
And most of all, we need to keep these dangerous people, who clearly do not stand for the American way, out of government until they can show some respect for the founding principles of democracy.