Hope you don't mind another post about teabaggers. I'm actually kind of bored with them and didn't plan to write a post about them until I read an editorial column in Newsweek, which mentioned the number of threatening phone messages that Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has received since the health care debate intensified. This is definitely a blog-worthy topic for many reasons. For those who can remember, Senator Murray was one of five women who won a seat in the U.S. Senate in the 1992 election, often dubbed by the media as "the year of the woman." Her famous ad showed her in tennis shoes and the line, "I'm just a mom in tennis shoes." How can anyone leave hateful comments to someone as sweet as her?
Here's what happened regarding the crazy conservative teabagger and the harassing comments he left on her answering service. A guy named Charles Alan Wilson, age 63, often called the Senator's office outside of normal business hours to leave angry voicemails. He had his telephone number blocked and never revealed his name. Some of the comments he left were: "By your attempts to overtake this country with socialism, somebody's gonna get to you one way or another and blow your fucking brains out, and I hope it does happen. If I have the chance, I would do it." Five minutes after he left that message, he left another one that said: "Kill the fucking senator! Hang the fucking senator!" Another time, Wilson left a message that said: "This great country that believes in God and guns. Since you've done this, there's going to be some bigger targets on your fucking back...I hope somebody kills you, and I hope somebody kills the president. Yes, die, dead."
What a whack job! I don't understand the amount of anger these people have towards a president who was elected to clean up the major messes left by the previous president, or to members of Congress who are trying to make life better and more affordable for the average American family. These teabaggers seriously need to get some therapy. There's no logical reasons to be this angry towards the people who are trying to correct the mistakes of the past decade, in which the Republican president and Republican-controlled Congress made life in America harsher and more expensive. These people are so thoroughly brainwashed that they can't admit to themselves or even stop to think for a minute that its the very people they have voted for that has abused them and stolen their money through creative tax schemes designed to suck money upward, not trickle down.
When I was at BYU, one of my most difficult roommates was a conservative guy who always got his facts wrong (for example, he had said that Nixon was a Democrat and that the world was not overpopulated, as he believed that all six billion of the earth's inhabitants would merely take up Florida and one county in Georgia). He was a fanatic who would send "hate mail" to any student whose letter to the editor in the school newspaper he did not like. Because I lived in an apartment with him for about a year, I came to believe that he suffered from some kind of mental illness. He was definitely manic-depressive, but his politics were so far right, he made Rush Limbaugh look reasonable. The problem with these fanatical rightwingers is that they view their lives as being under attack by all quadrants of society. They had no "refuge" from the "liberal media", so they put all their faith and trust in the Fox News Corporation, thinking that its the only "fair and balanced" news station, when the documented truth has revealed time and again that Fox is the propaganda arm of the Republican Party and often purposefully presents false information designed to inflame the base of loyal conservatives who wouldn't know the truth if it bit them on their fat, lazy asses.
The teabaggers and gun-toting fanatics listen to hate radio, where people like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck have no interest in engaging in honest, reasonable debate. That a conservative like David Brooks is not viewed as a credible commentator like Glenn Beck by these people is quite disturbing. I don't often agree with David Brooks, but I enjoy hearing his opinions because he's not an ideologue. He is not someone who drinks the Fox News Kool-Aid.
So, what can you expect the end result to be when these people listen to hate radio every day, for several hours a day, and these radio hosts use inflammatory language to present Democratic politicians as evil cohorts with Satan who are conspiring to bring about a "one world government" with U.N. black helicopters? Moderate Republicans like John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Charlie Crist are dismissed as RINOs not to be trusted. In people who are suffering from mental illness (the "aliens are zapping my brain" variety of loonies), they already have a difficult time distinguishing between truth and lies, between what's real and what's fantasy. The paranoia and obsession with violence is an explosive combination, which in the past has led to devastating results (the bombing of the Oklahoma City government building by Timothy McVeigh). Rightwing radio hosts always distance themselves from the fringe elements after a tragedy happens, even if they practically dare one of their listeners to do the gruesome deed. In the mid-1990s, G. Gordon Liddy referred to government agents as "jack booted-thugs." Its wreckless and irresponsible what these rightwing radio hosts are doing. They feign innocence, but they are really cowards in that they are hoping that some crazy listener will take their daily rants serious enough to do the deadly deed for them. Its evil what they hope to inspire in their crazy lunatic fans.
I once read an interview in which Ann Coulter admitted being freaked out and kind of scared of her fans. Gee, ya think? Propagandizing lies to unthinking herds leads to no good result. Sure, you have a zombie like following who don't question anything you say, but you can't really relate to them because you know you're a liar and can't respect people who are so gullible that they believe your lies. People like Coulter deserves every crazy-eyed fan that she gets. The same goes for the pill-poppin' Rush and crybaby Beck.
By contrast, I attended a few anti-war rallies in the past decade and am struck by the difference in tone from the teabaggers. The people at those rallies had clever signs, advocating that Bush and his cabal belonged in jail. I never saw a single sign that advocated for Bush's death. The protestors were peaceful and included a hodge-podge of liberal activists, middle aged couples with their dogs and children. People connected with one another and while we might have been angry with Bush's policies, the anger wasn't apparent like it is for the teabagger rallies. Mostly, the anti-war demonstrators had a good time and a great sense of humour about it (I saw members of Code Pink, the Leave No Billionnaire Behind group, and even a line of handcuffed people in orange jumpsuits and black hoods over their heads to remind people of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay). The point is that the main difference between the liberal anti-war rallies of the Bush era and the Teabaggers of the Obama Epoch is a healthy sense of humour in one and a severe lack of it in the other. One group connects with others, exchanges ideas, finds inspiration and fellowship, the other rants, obsesses over violence, and advocates "taking the country back" from the majority who voted for the current president.
If any assassinations of public officials happen in the near future, I hope that hate radio is held accountable for their actions. After all, the 1994 genocide in Rwanda began with a radio host calling one ethnic group "cockroaches." Nearly a million people of the ethnic group that the radio host had called a cockroach were killed, by machetes. Broadcast media is a powerful medium. Hitler was the first person to recognize this, and we all know how that turned out for the entire world. I've been around enough conservative minds that I really do not trust that many of them (particularly the Beck parrots and the Fox zombies) have the common sense to realize that they are being manipulated by the right towards a violent lashing out. I've seen kids in elementary school try to manipulate other kids into doing bad things on their behalf. There's still a responsibility, even if you're not the one pulling the trigger. Daring a crazy person to go shoot up the people you rant about on your radio show every day is the same thing as firing the weapon yourself. The only difference is that you're a coward by getting some mentally ill person to carry out your wishes.
I wish Senator Murray well and hope she now rests easier with her harasser apprehended by government agents. I'm afraid, though, that there are too many of them out there that something bad might happen soon. If the day of dread happens, hearing Rush or Beck try to avoid responsibility for their hate speech will make me sick. The punishment should be severe for anyone who incites another person or group of people to act violently against people who work for our government. Rush and Beck need to take complete responsibility and ownership of the words they express on their shows. Failing to do so only reveals what true cowards they are.