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The Right Wing Unhinged

I don't know who started it.  Maybe it was wack-job conservative columnist Thomas Sewell.  Maybe it was one of the idiots on Fox News.  I do know that Uber-wing-nut Glenn Beck has made it a staple of recent broadcasts, and that protesters at recent health care town halls and "tea parties" have written it on posters, printed it on t-shirts, included it in leaflets, and repeated it in chants and TV interviews with local news people.  I know that parents are now using it as an excuse to keep their kids away from school this coming Tuesday when -- gasps of horror, please -- our President is to address the nation's school children on the importance of education, the dangers of drug use, and the need to stay in school and apply themselves to their studies.

What is "it"?  "It" is the comparison of Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler.

As a Democrat, an American, and a supporter of the President, I find the comparisons both laughable and troubling.  As a Jew I find them deeply offensive.  You disagree with Barack Obama on health care?  You think the stimulus was a mistake (despite mounting evidence that it has saved this country from an economic catastrophe unlike any seen since the 1930s)?  You oppose him on cap and trade or taxes or even education reform?  Fine.  This is a free country.  No one says you have to support his policies.  Argue against his initiatives.  Protest all you like.  But do not compare him to Hitler.  There is no basis for such a thing.

Obama is trying to make health care accessible to millions who don't have it.  He's trying to pull the country out of a financial and economic mess that was not of his making.  He's trying to tell kids to take some responsibility for their educations and their choices.  He is a mainstream Democrat who is doing EXACTLY what he told us he would do when he ran for President.  He won.  Your side lost.  By a lot.  Deal with it.  Protest all you like.  Argue the merits of the issues.  But if all you can think to do is compare him to a madman who was bent on world domination, who started a war that led to the deaths of tens of millions, who exterminated six million Jews, then you are fools, idiots, and, yes, traitors.  He is not a Nazi.  He is not a Socialist.  He's a Democrat.  Get a grip on yourselves.  And if you can't, then shut up and get out of the way. This country needs a serious discussion of the issues among informed, patriotic, reasonable people.  Clearly those of you comparing Obama to Hitler don't qualify.

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
scbutler
Sep. 5th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
What I like best is when these wingnuts call Obama a Nazi and a Communist in the same breath. So total is their ignorance.
davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, they're the same ones telling the Guv'mint to keep its hands off their Medicare....
wyjoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
I agree that it is silly to call Obama both a Nazi and a Communist. It was as silly as the Bush=Hitler protest. I don't want to belabor this, but there are a**holes all across the political spectrum.
scbutler
Sep. 6th, 2009 12:00 pm (UTC)
I agree that there are a**es on both sides, but at least the lefties understood what they were trying to say.
catsparx
Sep. 5th, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
David, your country is full of fruit loops.
davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
So true, Cat. So true.... Of course, y'all have got your share, too....
catsparx
Sep. 6th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
yeah, but there's only 21 million of us and we all get to go to hospital if we're sick
hedwig_snowy
Sep. 6th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
Lets see...

A poll in Fresno...not exactly a liberal hotbed:

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=05b6c4d3-9d83-49a9-a35a-de7a8dc72cd5

And one in Missouri, you ain't in San Francisco anymore:

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=1a011de9-958f-4e83-b8e7-635489588b0b

A large majority of people have no problem at all with the President taking the time to speak to kids. George HW Bush did it to push his education plan right before he began his primary run in October 1991. That was actually political. Do the parents think Baby Bubba will some day grow up and become a nasty Socialist if they hear the black guy tell them to stay in school and work hard? Reagan did it as well. Heck, could you imagine even the most virulent conservative spouting in a paper that they would keep their kid home during WW II because Roosevelt was going to be speaking by radio to the Nation's school children?

And, as much as I'd like to blame the media for a concocted story where they use anecdotal or wacky people making comments in front of a camera, the problem is that with little or no support, because it's 'controversial', school districts have taken an opt-in approach where a great many districts won't even be showing it.

My solution: Every student is required to be there to see it. In a class or auditorium. They don't show up without a legitimate medical reason, they're expelled. No reason for a gene pool that is that stupid to worry about paying to continue to try and educate them right???

Ok, that's ridiculous, but how is it any more ridiculous than this? (about 13 seconds in after the short ad, where a woman is actually weepy over having the President speaking directly to her kids)

And you know that most, well except maybe Michelle "Let's make a covenant and slit our wrists" Bachmann, Congressional members don't believe it either but they'll push any garbage they can to try and stop him. As Rush said, "I want him to fail".

The birthers and the deathers and the tenthers are just rabble being used. Sad how easy it is. Dems did some similar things during Bush II, but normally AFTER he did something. Now we've got people flipping out before Obama does something. And, I don't recall liberals carrying guns to President Bush's events. Inside or out.

With the way things are, I think more people should be concerned about American schoolchildren missing even one day of school. They need all the help they can get. :)

As for Hitler references: Do you think a great many of them care at all that they're offending Jews (and a great many others) with their claims about Obama = Hitler?

There was a genius on the news the other night at a Town Hall in New Jersey. A woman in a wheelchair was reading from a prepared document about her troubles and why she needed health care reform. During her comment she was heckled, but then they switched it to a guy in the back that had yelled, "Ask a question!". He said, "Now, a woman in a wheelchair has more rights than me". There's your dignity America. Your honor.

Still, now that all the screamers are done and all the health care money has been doled out to Blue Dogs...the American people still want a Public Option by large majorities. What sideshow will they have next time if this passes or not? Silent majority, my ass. More like the fringe of a dying party screaming so loudly that they turned off almost everyone but the most looney. Thanks for doing our jobs for us. If you'd all been respectful of democracy and brought up some of the serious issues with all of this, we would be in worse shape. Kudos!
davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
Thanks for the links, particularly to the polling, which I did find reassuring. I'd like to think that the right-wing thugs who are putting this stuff out there are hurting their cause and further marginalizing themselves, but it's been a long hot summer and not a particularly encouraging one. I suppose we'll see where the health care debate winds up. That should tell us a lot about the next year or two of this Presidency.
kmarkhoover
Sep. 6th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
Well said!
davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 02:06 am (UTC)
Thanks, Mark. I'm starting to see things your way. There is no reasoning with these people. There is no consideration given for efforts to be civil and bipartisan. They are ruthless and vicious and willing to lie and cheat and hurl all sorts of invective to get their way. And maybe Democrats have tried to take the high road for too long. Maybe it's time we just shoved this crap right back in their faces. Maybe it's time we took our Congressional majorities and our control of the White House and stomped these assholes into the ground.
wyjoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCNs7Zpqo98

I don't know about no consideration. Al Franken's approach is much better than the SEIU's.
davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link. Franken rocks.
kmarkhoover
Sep. 6th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Well, it's not like he hasn't tried to reach out and find bipartisanship. But lets face it, the GOP isn't interested in that. These are the same people who have gone on record they want him to fail, and by extension want our country to fail.

How can you do business with bastards like that?

As I keep saying, I believe the whole "reaching out for bipartisanship" thing loses political value after a while. President Obama gets points for trying to seek a middle ground, but there comes a point where it makes you look weak.

And Republicans know how to exploit a weakness. Their entire ideology is built around fear, hate and racism. Exploiting weaknesses is right in their wheelhouse.


davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
>>How can you do business with bastards like that?<<

I'm sad to say I'm reaching the conclusion that we can't.
markwise
Sep. 6th, 2009 05:45 am (UTC)
ah, it comes full circle. The left wing extremist call Bush, Hilter and now the right wing call Obama the same. Can't condemn one without the other.
davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
I've never called ANYONE Hitler, and I've never condoned such comparisons from either side. To do so is to insult the memory of those Hitler murdered. But no one was calling W "Hitler" eight months into his Presidency.
sleigh
Sep. 6th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
"I don't know who started it."

Lyndon LaRouche. (see: http://www.larouchepac.com/node/11111) Which means that it didn't come from the far right, but from the far left. It's a reminder that there are wingnuts on both sides.
davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, there are. But the ones on the far left aren't on TV everyday stirring the public into a frenzy. I believe that Glenn Beck is a danger to society and to Obama in particular. If something happens to Obama Beck will be at least partly to blame.
estellye
Sep. 6th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
It's all completely intentional. They are using the most terrifying words possible to make people afraid because fear is the most effective and quickest way to control the masses. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I know there are conservative think tanks who construct the message most likely to get the desired results. Progressives don't have a centralized message partly because Progressives are committed to diversity and empowerment. It goes against the principles they are working with to manipulate people in a negative way, not that they never do it, they just don't do it in such an organized way. That is why Democrats always seem to be working against their own interests by arguing amongst themselves and Republicans stay on message no matter what.

Nobody who chose to put the message out there that Obama is like Hitler actually believes he is like Hitler. They just know that invoking Hitler is a good way to stir people up. Oddly the message they often send is that their target is the one guilty of the thing they themselves are doing - it deflects people's attention and is highly manipulative. Not that Republicans are like Hitler either, but conservative wingnuts can be somewhat like Hitler in their fear of differences.

It comes down to the basic difference between Conservatives and Progressives. Conservatives believe that most people can't take care of themselves and need to be guided and disciplined like children - and told scary stories to protect them for their own good. The role of government is paternal in nature. They are very Darwinian (oddly, since many of them are conservative religiously as well and don't believe in Darwinism). They believe that if a person succeeds in business or politics they are inherently more capable of leadership than anyone else and that by their benevolence those lesser beings will prosper. Progressives believe in empowering people to take responsibility for themselves and the role of government is as a facilitator toward that end.

It's amazing how the scare tactics worm their way into the consciousness of people who are afraid of change to begin with and makes them believe things that make no sense. It's like cancer and I think it is profoundly destructive.
davidbcoe
Sep. 6th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
That may be the best description of the difference between Progressives and Conservatives that I've seen. And I agree with pretty much everything else you say here, too. Scare tactics of this sort have long been used by reactionary forces, opponents of change, and I'm afraid that's not about to change anytime soon. Thanks, Estellye.
markwise
Sep. 7th, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
As a Conservative, I don't know anyone who wants Government to do anything for them except get out of the way - provide for the common defense, facilitate commerce, and guard the Human Rights of everyone. Otherwise, Government needs to back off. It is my understanding that it is the Progressives which want larger Government to provide Heathcare, Welfare, Housing, End of Life Counseling, etc.

If you trully want smaller Governemnt, you might be more Conservative than you think.
davidbcoe
Sep. 7th, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
This is a very interesting comment, Mark -- seriously -- and one that you and I should sit down one day over nachos and beer and discuss at length. You say that conservatives want government to "provide for the common defense, facilitate commerce, and guard the Human Rights of everyone" while progressives want it to "provide "Healthcare, welfare, housing, end of life counseling, etc."

But what do those first phrases re Conservatives really mean? "Provide for the common defense" is an incredibly vague notion. You and I are both smart enough to understand that there is more to defending our nation than weapons and armies. Did TARP (either W's version or Obama's) fall under that heading? There can be no denying that our nation would have been weakened, wounded even, had the banking industry failed. Would cap and trade? Energy dependence threatens our national security. How about domestic spying? How about a national ID card, or surveillance cameras in public places, or a whole host of other things that both civil libertarians and ACLU members oppose? Thomas Jefferson had one helluva time justifying and finding authority for the Louisiana Purchase in the Constitution. But he went ahead with it anyway, and it was probably a good thing that he did. See what I'm getting at? We can define those terms as broadly or narrowly as we choose and justify a whole host of things.

Your second phrase -- "facilitate commerce" is not in the Constitution. You know what is? "Regulate commerce." Seriously. That's the phrasing of the founders (Article I, section 8). Imagine how broadly or narrowly that can be considered. And "Human Rights"? In a foreign policy sense, that's a pretty open-ended international commitment you just made. I'm not saying I disagree, but wow, that could get us into a scrape or two overseas, couldn't it? And on the domestic front what does that mean for social welfare programs? Is access to adequate health care a basic human right? Some would say it is -- I probably would. Others would disagree, with equal authority and justification. What about education? Conservatives have always hated the Dept. of Education, ever since it was created under Jimmy CArter in the late 1970s. But if education is a basic human right (again, I would argue that it is) then the DoEd was a good idea.

I'm really not looking for a fight here. I'm merely pointing out that the way we -- all of us -- define ourselves ideologically is highly subjective. At the same time, the Constitution, the gospel of American governance, is a fairly vague document that is open to broad interpretation. If you want to take the view that if it's not in there, we can't let government do it, that rules out A LOT of stuff that we have come to accept as part of our daily lives: the interstate highway system -- justified under the commerce clause or the call for "post offices and post roads", but not listed explicitly; the Air Traffic Control system; the national park and forest systems; not to mention Social Security, Medicare, drug and food safety, and other programs that are accepted and that people depend on for their most basic life needs.

I actually think that the differences between progressives and conservatives are far smaller than most of us think (or would care to admit). Government should be limited. I believe that. But I'm willing to allow it to take on certain duties that you think it should avoid. And there are things I don't think it should be doing at all, like telling women what they can and can't do with their bodies, like denying marriage rights to some while granting it to others.

I meant what I said early on. I think this is a fascinating topic and one that you and I could discuss for hours.
markwise
Sep. 8th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
Ok, now you got me wanting beer and nachos. *laugh*

Yes, the Constitution is vague on many topics, but could it not be argued that they designed it to be so? The Framers were all firm believers in Self-Determination. That was a major theme of their problem with British Rule, the King and a essentially Foreign Parliment were determining laws for the Colonies which they felt were unjust since they did not have Repersentation. Therefore, by making the Constitution vague they also let it be flexible - able to bend when an overwhelming need presents itself in the future. Slavery was allowed for in the Constitution while proclaiming "All men are created equal." At the time, this was needed to ensure unity to stand up and defend themselves against the Old World Powers. Yet they also provided a way to remove it by Amendments when it was no longer requred.

I agree that there is really not much which seperate Conservatives and Progressives. Both groups strive for the Health, Happiness, and Freedom of all of America's people. We disagree with how that is best to be done. Conservatives, in my opinion, look to the Governemnt to be a facilitator and not provider of these things. The Government should only do the basic things required for safety, security, and prosperity and then get out of the way. Progressives, in my opinion, look to the Government as provider and source of these things.

Progressive - gives a man a fish because he is hungry.
Conservative - teaches a man a fish so he can then go out and fish for himself.

Progressive - entitles all people to Governemnt run healthcare.
Conservative - makes things easier for people to get heathcare on their own through tax breaks and easing of regulations.

Bah, I could go on but you get the idea I think.
davidbcoe
Sep. 8th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much for the thoughtful reply, Mark.

I'm surprised by your Constitutional argument because that's exactly what we progressives say in response to attacks from strict constructionists on so-called "activist judges." The Constitution is a living, breathing document that was designed to be flexible so that it could bend with the curve of history.

As to the progressive versus conservative thing, I'd phrase it a little differently. A Conservative teaches people to fish so that they can fish for themselves, but he tells them to go buy their own equipment, regardless of whether or not they can afford it. A Progressive teaches them to fish, but makes certain that everyone starts out with a pole, line, and hook.

;)
arhyalon
Sep. 7th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
I was impressed by an article by a conservative columnist friend who said very sensibly: "If you think you might not approve of what the president has to say to your children, take this as an opportunity to talk to your children about how we respond to opinions we don't agree with."

I thought that was a great idea...what a good opportunity for a nice conversation for anyone who might feel it was necessary (though my understanding is that Obama's speech doesn't actually have anything objectionably to Conservatives in it.)

Both sides really should be making more of any effort to respect the Presidency when their man is not in it.
davidbcoe
Sep. 7th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
That is a great comment, Jagi. And how refreshing. Don't tune it out. Listen and discuss; think critically about what you hear rather than following the knee-jerk response. Thanks for sharing that. You might also be interested in the exchange of comments just above. These are, to me, interesting issues that are ripe for dialogue. It's too bad that debates so often devolve into fights.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )

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