Friday, June 12, 2009

A Neo-Nazi went to shoot people at my brother's job

My brother works at the Holocaust Museum in DC.

Yesterday someone went in there with a gun and started to shoot at people.

My brother wasn't hurt, so that is good, though I am sure he was shaken by watching a security guard get shot just a few yards away from where he was standing.

Don't just leave me comments saying "I'm sorry", or "that's too bad." I appreciate your sympathy, but there's more at stake here than what just a few families are dealing with personally. Like the murder in Kansas of abortion doctor George Tiller, this shooting as well is symptomatic of a most unhealthy political shift in our society and a political response is necessary.


This is a good NYT article about how that swamp of Republican Party racism, fear, paranoia, and apocalypticism has become a "mainstream", acceptable point of view. FOX news, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk, are rotting people's minds, telling them lies, and trying to direct their anger at *anyone but* the very people responsible for destroying our economy and plunging us into costly, unwinnable wars.

It's time people stand up to that crap and say "enough". FOX news is not a legitimate news source. If it is on the TV where you work, change the channel, and confront the management about why on earth they would have it set to that one. Do I think that James von Brunn saw a program on FOX that told him to go kill the Jews and because of that he did it? Of course not, that guy had been a neo-nazi for years. But I do think that the "mainstream" debates about politics have shifted decisively in favor of racial scapegoating, and in that context violent extremism is likely. If the muslims, the mexicans, and the blacks are all at fault, why not the Jews as well?

The Right is in decline, the Republican party is sliding ever further off the deep end, and Bush's imperial "crusade" is a failure. Like all spoiled children, the die-hard representatives of this party are incapable of honestly fessing up for their mistakes, taking responsibility, and trying to fix things. With their foreign and economic policies discredited it seems the few ways the right can still get people to vote for their agenda is by preying upon the basest fears and superstitions of their poorly educated constituency: racism (tacit or otherwise), islamaphobia, and an unreasoning religious fanaticism. They are conducting this propaganda in an alarmist, millenarian way that I believe encourages the desperate to react in violent, unpredictable ways.

As the more "farsighted" leaders of American Capitalism continue to desert them in favor of the Democrats, "fringe" elements within the party feel ever more embattled and desperate. Militant white supremacy, and violent anti-abortionism, are predictable products of this scenario. Is it really any surprise that some Americans, with an *official* 9% unemployment rate (much lower than the actual rate), would grow tired of their politicians' ineptitude and "take matters" into their own hands? And if they did- what other targets would they choose than the ones they've been taught for years to aim at?

I understand that not everyone who has voted Republican supports all of these values, but the people running that party to a large extent do. When John McCain campaigns to be the chief executive of the richest, most powerful and technologically advanced country on earth, and he has to kowtow to people who don't believe in evolution in order to get votes ( 1, 2), something is very wrong...

Does Fox News control the Republicans or do the Republicans control Fox News? Does it matter which?

One serves they other; and both prey upon impressionable minds. They don't say "kill the Mexicans", but their ICE raids and fence building and their Lou Dobbs and their speeches send the message that Mexicans are the problem and ought be got rid of. So when some white kids in a hick town see a Mexican immigrant, they feel it's okay to beat him to death. When the prosecutors go easy on them and the judge lets them off with a slap on the wrist, this sends another message ( 1, 2).

Fox News, various members of congress, and Rush Limbaugh all seem to agree that Obama is a secret muslim communist bent on taking away our freedoms, that impoverished mexicans are taking away our jobs, that brown skinned people in countries that we bomb and invade and turn into refugees by the millions are "the enemy", and, oh yes, that gay couples who love each other are a "threat" to your marriage (never mind divorce rates).

That last point isn't thrown in there just to be inclusive either. I think Gay Marriage bans encouraging anti-glbt violence is every bit as predictable as the "Pro-Life" movement spawning off assassinations and bombings. The difference between politicians attacking minorities with laws and bigoted individuals attacking them with rifles and fire extinguishers is one of degree- not one of principle. The latter would not exist without encouragement and nurture by the former.

I recall the Oklahoma city bombing in 1995. They at first thought Islamists did it. But nope, it was another homegrown rightwing nut job. It was the same thing with the Columbine Shootings... paranoid, alienated white people going crazy.

It is my opinion that the people who hue and cry about "gun control" laws needing to be passed, but who passively ignore and to some extent give into the various incitements to racism, misogyny, and religious fundamentalism that are broadcasted every day on the nightly news, are far more responsible for this violence than are the manufacturers of the commonly available sporting arms that a would be domestic-terrorist will take up on the day he finally snaps.

It is also ironic that my brother has for his entire adult life been a supporter of the Republican Party, Christianity, and what we might call "Southern Values". The other day I feel that he himself was almost consumed by the very hate his own party has for decades nurtured.

Which is probably the greatest irony of all... The "fundamentalists" and "terrorists" that seem to pose the greatest threat today aren't halfway around the world, but right here at home. Racial profiling and having your toothpaste confiscated at the airport won't stop them. God fearing politicians with charming Southern accents on TV have nothing to say to comfort you from them. Like every mess they get us into, when the shit hits the fan... or should i say, when the blood hits the floor, they back off and deny all responsibility.

In 2001 George Bush set out to rid the world of "terror" and unreasoning, fundamentalist orthodoxy. Today in the United States, Israel, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, there are more Christian, Jewish, and Muslim fundamentalists with weapons calling for blood than there ever were before Bush was elected.

Are we winning yet?


  1. Lou Dobbs is on CNN though isn't he? I don't watch any of that crap much anymore but was surprised when I heard him on his radio show. He sounds pretty close to Limbaugh when he's on the radio.

  2. I know... that's what's screwed up, CNN gets considered the "intelligent", "authoritative" news source, as an alternative to FOX. Liberals flock to it in the same way the flock to the Democrats as an "alternative" to the somewhat more consistently backwards Republicans.

    But a lot of what they say is the same, and a lot of what they *don't say* is also the same. You won't find any kind of fresh / accurate / humanity- valuing views on either channel.

  3. I guess it's a pragmatic choice to focus on how awful FOX is, when really they're all awful. Like Lincoln at first not speaking out strongly against slavery, or Obama not trying to prosecute the torturers. It's pragmatic but it ends up not being very logically consistent. Slavery, torture and the entire corporate news structure is a steaming pile of shit.

    (Was just thinking about how being pragmatic usually unfortunately means throwing coherency out the window while being idealistic usually just means not really being a part of the real world. Not a criticism of what you've written.)