I am speechless with outrage.

This is a family blog.  For a dose of good political bloggery, please check out this link.  But, without any exaggeration, I can honestly say that the kinds of hyperbole and horrifying things I’m seeing in the news day after day is leaving me fearful for my family, so I’m posting it here.

Unless you live under a rock, you know how hot the health care debate has been raging lately.  I don’t have a problem with that at all.  But what leaves me shaking are the continued statements from completely idiotic people who are comparing Obama to Hitler.  How dare they?  I mean that – how DARE they?  How dare they take a disagreement on a policy stance – even an incredibly important one like healthcare – and compare it to the systematic torture and murder of more than 6 million people by a crazed fascist and his counterparts?  While it is certainly offensive to be the person being compared to Hitler, what the HELL does it say to those survivors and family members of the victims?

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No.  Just no.   If you want to see what “Jews for….ovens”  looks like – click forward.  (I couldn’t bear to put it on the front page of my blog).

5 thoughts on “I am speechless with outrage.

  1. You know, I have a few friends on FB that are completely bombing my news feed with outragous fearmongering tidbits. So far, I’ve only responded to a few taht put me over the edge, but generally, I’m not going to feed this stupidity. You may ask why I don’t just defriend them, and I’d say that although they post such ridiculous material, I like them and have refused to JUDGE them based on their political sense (or lack of).

    I, too, wonder where this is all going to turn up. I still hold out complete hope for what Pres. Obama can do for us. I still feel that zap of excitement when I see him or hear him speak. I have faith (and I dont use that term lightly) that he knows what he’s doing, with the help (sort of) of Congress.

    There’s this lady who goes to my church (Mormon) who is soooo damn irrational when Politics are brought up. I’m sure she one of a gazillion zealots who feel the same way in Christiandom (or at least Mormanism), but to hear the absolute TERROR they feel for this man…our President, is frightening. And then to use the name of God (I hope it’s okay I mention all this on your blog 😉 ) for your reasoning or justification for this hate and fear. THAT is what sickens me too!

    Just sayin’…

    Thanks for the post. It’s always refreshing to know you are not alone in this 😉

    • …to use the name of God (I hope it’s okay I mention all this on your blog)…

      Jesus is just all right with me…. [whistling] 😉

    • Maren, I don’t think there’s anything you could say that would bother me. This blog is a free speech zone! 🙂

  2. Hey, now! I finally get my act together and stop putting political rants on the family blog, and now YOU go and start doing it? Heck, why’d I go through all that hassle? 😉

    Naw, I’m with ya, you know I am. There’s a ton of bad craziness in the air right now – as there always is when liberal advancements at the front edge of the envelope of what’s possible push beyond what’s accepted, customary, well-known. It’s instructive, I think, to go read Rick Perlstein’s recent article entitled “Crazy Is A Pre-Existing Condition.” It’s worth clicking through to that entire thing, but at the same time, I’d be doing myself a disservice, since I’ve already sort of analyzed it on the aforementioned “political rants” blog of mine.

    Perlstein reminds us of things like Republicans referring, in the 1950s, to the FDR/Truman years as “twenty years of treason.” He reminds us of the wingnuts of yore who swore they had secret documents proving that the Civil Rights movement was a Communist plot. And he reminds of even more lunatic stuff – stuff which wouldn’t seem at all out of place in today’s landscape of political scare tactics and asshattery, like when the Kennedy administration dramatically expanded mental health services (don’t worry, Reagan would later cut them back again, grrrr….), and one of the new facilities was to be built in Alaska, there were more than a million Americans (fans of a certain radio show) who genuinely believed that the facility was a secret “internment camp” for “dissidents” (read: conservatives and Republicans).

    Perlstein’s point is that the phony outrage and the very real anger – along with the astonishingly bizarre and scarcely believable (not to mention outrageous) wingnuttery – are nothing new in the American political landscape. What IS new, according to Perlstein, is

    Conservatives have become adept at playing the media for suckers, getting inside the heads of editors and reporters, haunting them with the thought that maybe they are out-of-touch cosmopolitans and that their duty as tribunes of the people’s voices means they should treat Obama’s creation of “death panels” as just another justiciable political claim. If 1963 were 2009, the woman who assaulted Adlai Stevenson would be getting time on cable news to explain herself. That, not the paranoia itself, makes our present moment uniquely disturbing.

    It used to be different. You never heard the late Walter Cronkite taking time on the evening news to “debunk” claims that a proposed mental health clinic in Alaska is actually a dumping ground for right-wing critics of the president’s program, or giving the people who made those claims time to explain themselves on the air. The media didn’t adjudicate the ever-present underbrush of American paranoia as a set of “conservative claims” to weigh, horse-race-style, against liberal claims. Back then, a more confident media unequivocally labeled the civic outrage represented by such discourse as “extremist” — out of bounds.

    I think this is exactly right. I think there are – or at least there should be – some things which are simply not permitted at the grown-ups table of American politics. That’s not to say that we can ever – or should ever – have any hope of eradicating the “black-helicopter” nonsense from the fringes of America’s political consciousness. Kooks have been a part of things from the dawn of time. But in America – at least until recently – those people weren’t invited in and given a seat at the table and treated as if their ravings were anything more than just that: ravings. And that held true no matter whether the people doing the ravings were left wing kooks, right wing kooks, or just plain kooks.

    Not anymore. Today, we have at least one entire network (FOX, of course) explicitly set up to feed this sort of previously-fringe lunacy directly into the mainstream of American political discourse. FOX aren’t the only ones doing so, of course, but they are the most diligent and dedicated. And, to some extent, it works: other media figures assume that, if their competitors are talking about, it must be serious enough that they should, too. And so the imprimatur of legitimacy is conferred in a way it never has been in the past.

    That’s why I think Barney Frank’s instincts were spot-on in his townhall. His comments were risky for any politician, even one in a “comfortable” seat: it can – and will – be attacked by various right-wingers, and looked upon as “haughty” or “rude.” People with their own agendas will claim that Frank ought to genuflect before all “real ‘Murkans,” no matter how loony or offensive – and no matter that they sang a much different tune when Bush was running roughshod over such forums during his Presidency. Frank’s seat is a relatively safe one, but his words were not without potential risk and cost for him and for the party. Nevertheless, it was exactly the right note to strike. It was the same exact note struck by Joseph Welch when he asked a previously-untouchable Joseph McCarthy the now-famous question, heavy with combined disdain and measured outrage: “Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” Those two sentences, part exasperated rhetorical question, part ad-libbed expression of outrage, were the turning point for McCarthy. And while Mr. Frank’s anonymous accuser certainly has no public career to lose like Senator McCarthy did, perhaps Frank’s entirely justified horrified and contemptuous retort, full of dismissal and venom, will mark the turning point in what has otherwise been a public struggle over policy ideas marked not by unusual wingnuttery or vitriol, but by an unusual willingness on the part of the media – and therefore the public – to tolerate and validate it.

    Barney Frank was right when he said that it was a tribute to the first amendment that such hateful nonsense was allowed to be aired so freely in public, directly to a powerful representative, when in so much of the rest of human history, not only would a woman never have been making such outlandish accusations, but any man doing so would have been punished severely – likely imprisoned or simply killed outright. It is indeed a tribute to America that we live in a country which tolerates all forms of speech, no matter how lunatic, offensive or wrongheaded. It’s much less to our credit that these days, we treat such offensive, lunatic, wrongheaded speech as if it were credible and should be taken seriously instead of summarily dismissed with the combination of outrage, vitriol and pity one reserves for the criminally insane.

  3. My gosh, you are so dead-on-the-money. Very well stated, Lars. And, of course, you are right about what is tolerated now versus what a Walter Cronkite. One CAN and SHOULD be judgemental about untruths and handle accordingly, i.e. by NOT handling them at all. Let that stuff ride the wind, landing only on those whose mind’s will never change, and blow over for those who think a first or second time.

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