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I don’t care your political party, this is disturbing.

Recent reports of militia group plots to incite violence through violence is bad news for peace-loving citizens everywhere.  

In the past, these fringe groups were relegated to passing out poorly-photocopied pamphlets and their extremist rhetoric, only heard by a small group of like-minded militants.

This is not the case anymore.  The Internets, a reflection of humanity itself, allows for constructive as well as destructive activities.  The box has been opened on that one and there is no closing it so the only way for good people to fight wrongs on the Internets, is to write the rights which brings me to the point of my post, words and violence.

A verbis ad verbera.

Take the following film, Hotel Rwanda.  The film is:

based on true events that took place during the genocidal violence that erupted in Rwanda between the Hutu and Tutsi groups in 1994, when the Hutu military and Interahamwe militias killed roughly 800,000 Tutsis over approximately 100 days.

The film opens with a radio being tuned in to RTLM, playing an extremist anti-Tutsi broadcast (“They are cockroaches. They are murderers. Rwanda is our Hutu land”) to elaborate on the situation in Rwanda in 1994. Massive tensions existed between the Hutus, the majority group and the Tutsis, the minority group that had once had governmental control. The invasion by the predominantly Tutsi RPF and the resulting civil war had increased these tensions.

In this movie based on actual events, the RTLM Radio Host finally uses a code phrase, I believe it was “it is time to cut down the tall trees” to take what had been planned in words to a horrifying reality, the genocide of the Tutsi people.

So what does this have to do with us?  Well, hopefully nothing beyond trying to help out Rwanda.  But, I submit that radio hosts barking out “extremist anti-(insert political party here) rhetoric over the airways is something we Americans are all too familiar with in today’s political climate.  In Rwanda, their organized hatred and use of mass media did not end well.  In America, we have more than just radios to organize through, tensions are high politically and formally tin-foil hat wearing types of talk of “civil war” and “revolution” are arguably becoming more commonplace.

After recent passage of the healthcare reform legislation U.S. conservative talk show host Glenn Beck

told his radio audience Monday that Democrats who supported the bill would be remembered as "an enemy of the republic" and "an enemy to the Constitution." But he urged viewers of his Fox News television show Wednesday to avoid violence, because ‘radical’ supporters of the Obama administration are counting on such attacks to discredit their opposition, he said.

"Not only is it completely nuts and wrong, it's exactly what they want," Beck said. He told viewers, "They are begging for it. You are being set up.” Current

Mr. Beck, to his credit, is telling his media audience not to get violent but not because it is wrong in itself to hurt another human being, but because it would give political leverage to his opponents if they did.  Also, this suggests Beck’s followers needed to be told to not get violent in the first place.  That is a problem.  It means that the threshold between violent words and violent actions could very well be crossed if we are not more careful and responsible.  Words are powerful and with a platform like a major news network, words can become extremely powerful.  So what can we do to counter the Glen Beck's of the world?

I challenge you to reach out to a friend of differing political views.  Have a chat on FB.  Go to coffee, beer, whatever.  It is a good way to remind yourself that there is flesh and bone behind those ideas you may disagree with; that we are all human and deserve mutual respect and you may even discover you agree on a lot more than you disagree on despite what the political pundits may have you believe.

Originally posted to 3generations on Tue Apr 06, 2010 at 12:59 PM PDT.

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