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There's an old Jamaican saying that I've heard for years but I have no idea who first said it:

"Everybody wants heaven but dem don' wan' dead."

Yes, we want all the rewards but are afraid of the sacrifice. I've been listening to all of the talk about why the left seems so fearful of The Right. Noone seems to be able to put their finger on why this is. But it all came into focus for me recently. Bear with me on this....

For me, it started to become clear when Keith Olbermann reportedly got a fake anthrax letter from a right-wig coward. Now recently, a liberal radio host receives a widely reported letter wishing her all kinds of gruesome deaths. This is what crystalized for me just why the left and our political leaders are so afraid to say what needs to be said in the face of these fascists.

Violence.

Physcial violence. Emotional and intellectual violence. We, as a movement, are afraid of the Right's penchant for violence. We want heaven but are afraid to die. We're afraid of fighting back too hard because the Right's reaction when backed into a corner is blindly and violently lash out at the "enemy".

This can take the form of George Bush recently spewing that "the terrorist win if the Democrats win." This type of all-out hate speech scares Dems. We're afraid to come back and call the President a fear-monger and a liar. We fear that the media would say that we're "over the line" and "unhinged". So we let him get away with it.

This can take the form of the right-wing opening that old toolbox and pulling out the ol' reliable. Terrorist threats. Property damage. Assaults. Murder. Aggressive physical violence.  I believe we're not that far from this starting to occur as the fascist see the country move back to the center. And we're afraid. And I'm disgusted.

Not only should we NOT be afraid to stand up in the face of the right-wing, we should be anticipating and preparing for the inevitable hateful rhetoric and terror from them.

As an Afro-American, I was raised on the first-hand accounts of my family's struggles in the south in the 40's-60's. Standing up to Jim Crow meant the constant threat of violence and death. Both Afro-Americans AND Whites that stood up for justice suffered everything from being called every spiteful name in the book to assaults and murder. It was everyday life in The Struggle. And they went through it without regret and changed the face of our country. What would they say to us now if they saw how meek we are in the face of creeping fascism?

What would they say as they saw our leaders take the Bush Administration's smearing us as cowards and appeasers? As they watch our pundits not call the media talking heads on their enabling of right-wing to their faces? Is it that we're afraid that if we fight back too much the zealots will really "get tough"? Are we afraid of their rhetoric? Their death threats? Their bombs and high-powered rifles?

Are politicians afraid of angering the far-right? That's the vibe I'm getting. I was watching Harry Belafonte on the latest Real Time with Bill Maher and he was just on the verge of expressing these very thoughts. He brought up Bobby Kennedy and basically said the Bobby stood up for what he believed in the face of the turbulent air swirling around. He didn't come out and say it, but he was saying that Bobby Kennedy knew the dangers of standing up for the soul of America and did it anyway.....and was murdered for it. Where are our leaders with this sort of courage?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that a type of "dangerous unselfishness" was needed in order to counter racism. The reason being unselfish was dangerous was because there was an actual physcial danger then. We need this type of unselfishness now as well. When the right eventually reaches back into that toolbox, will we shrivel from the challenge? Or will we honor our forefathers with our own dangerous unselfishness?

I'm sorry if I'm rambling, but I'm feeling this negativity and well, fear in the left and I'm not liking it. What do you guys think?

Originally posted to StarkyLuv on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:27 AM PST.

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