The right wing nutters love to vocally "remind" anyone and everyone whenever someone objects to whatever ignorant nonsense is being trumpeted by them at any given moment, that nobody can trample on their freedom of speech. This speech apparently extends to public accusations of secret terrorist ties, such as those recently ignorantly bleated by Representative Michele "I don't let the truth get in my way" Bachmann and her xenophobic "patriot" allies. It is by this same token, then, that I would expect my freedom of speech to be equally respected when I make this connection--Michele Bachmann's ignorant, self-serving fear mongering is significantly responsible for the tragic deaths at the Milwaukee Sikh temple yesterday morning.
This is the irony that the increasingly despicable American right-wing either ignores or does not attempt to grasp (there's a reason why recent studies have linked lazy, non-critical thinking to an increased association with the modern Republican party). While these self-professed "patriots" and "truth-tellers" rant about the dangers to American society from "the other" into any Fox News camera, Rush Limbaugh microphone, RedState blog post, or any other form of conservative propaganda instrument, the fact remains that historically the biggest threat to American society is from "patriots" like them who have taken their hateful rhetoric to its violent end. They will scoff and launch into 9/11 and the threat from Islamic terror, yet review the number of right-wing or anti-government attacks and you'll see it's an equal threat:
-Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols 1995 OKC bombing--168 people dead, 800 injured
-1995 Charles Polk indicted by grand jury for plotting to blow up the Austin, Tx IRS building
-1995 Arizona extremists derail an Amtrak train, killing 1 and injuring 70, leaving behind antigovernment messages
-1996 neo-Nazi Larry Wayne Shoemaker goes on a shooting spree in a black neighborhood in Jackson, MS, killing 1 and injuring 7
-July 1996 nail bombing in Atlanta's Olympic Park killings 1 and injuring 100 by Eric Rudolph
-1998 Rudolph with another nail bombing outside a Birmingham abortion clinic, killing 1 and maiming a nurse
-1999 Buford Furrow, Aryan Nations member, fires 70 shots into a California Jewish community center
-2009 Keith Luke of Brockton, Mass. arrested after allegedly shooting three black immigrants from Cape Verde, killing two of them, as part of a racially motivated killing spree. After capture revealed plans to go to a synagogue and "kill as many Jews as possible."
-2009 James von Brunn, 80 years old, shoots and kills a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. von Brunn is a long-time Neo-Nazi.
-Andrew Stack in 2010 flies kamakazies his private plane into an office building--2 dead, 13 injured
-2010 Justin Carl Moose, self-described “freedom fighter” and “Christian counterpart to Osama bin Laden,” arrested by the FBI for planning to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic
-2011 IED found in a backpack along the Spokane, Wash., route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade with 1,500 marchers. Officials later arrest Kevin William Harpham, a long-time neo-Nazi
This is only a small listing; you can read about more incidents from the Southern Poverty Law Center website here
These incidents are always quickly disavowed from any association with right-wing media and media figures, and usually any mention of such an association is decried as an attack on free speech/attempts by the left to "silence" the other side of the political spectrum. Yet it remains a fact that despite all the bluster by the right about the danger to America after 9/11, there is no mention of the fact that the number of hate groups increased by 40% following 9/11, which leads to the conclusion that the "America" the right really cares about is white, non-Jewish, non-immigrant America. This is the same right-wing that fell into an mass apoplectic spell during the reported planned construction of a mosque near the former WTC last year because of the encouraging "message" it would send to Islamic terrorists, yet with the same collective mouth argues that there is no link between their continuous xenophobic, paranoid, anti-government, anti-immigrant, fear-mongering rhetoric and the series of right-wing terror attacks.
Which brings me back to Michele Bachmann, and her irresponsible comments about Huma Abedin and Representative Keith Ellison. Take a moment and consider the reverse--what if a member of the House Intelligence committee made comments about the United States government being infiltrated with individuals with racist, anti-immigrant plans? Or if an American politician with an equivalent national profile to Bachmann warned African Americans that the majority of law enforcement is bigoted by nature, and not to be trusted? Does anyone think that person would still have a serious shot at re-election, or only receive a few tepid condemnations from their party??
This hypocrisy is outrageous, and yet it's so insidious that we don't even think to be outraged about it any longer. We're all used to the same jargon--mass shootings by anti-government white people are "deranged loners", while any such suspect who is not white triggers a nationwide terror alert. What we cannot become complacent to is the deadly words of irresponsibility that Wayne LePierre, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh, Pamela Gellar, and the others of their ilk use to help them gain popularity and money. This speech, albeit free, comes with a price, and the events of yesterday just go to show that price is often the lives of innocent Americans.