Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nut Allergies

Here’s where I apologize to my readers for politicizing something that shouldn’t have been politicized. John Patrick Beddell suffered from bipolar disorder, a brutal disease that knows no politics. I was wrong to label him a right-wing nut.

I jumped on that Christian Science Monitor story because frankly I was pissed off. Pissed off that we had yet another senseless shooting, pissed that yet another unhinged person managed to get their hands on a gun, pissed that yet another symbol of the United States government was targeted. After weeks of wall to wall media coverage of the conservative hate fests known as the Tea Party Convention and CPAC, both of which peddled in paranoia about birth certificates, immigrants, America-hating liberal “socialists,” death panels, terrorists, etc., I reacted. So I’m sorry.

And here’s where I piss you all off again.

If this incident proves anything it’s that everyone has nut allergies. No one wants to claim their nuts, and it’s been interesting to see where people draw the line here. Beddell espoused virulent anti-government views on his podcasts and politically claimed Libertarian affiliations. So we lefties have labeled him a right-winger.

Meanwhile, the right-wingers claim that because he was a 9/11 Truther, he must have been a lefty. As an aside, it’s news to me that 9/11 Truthers are lefties--we’ve always associated the 9/11 Truthers with the far right fringe--the anti-Semitic, Stormfront, Klan crowd who claim Jews were tipped off not to go to work at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. And for crying out loud, the Tea Party candidate for Texas governor was a Truther. So I learned that no one wants to claim the Truthers, either.

So listen, folks. I’ll be the first to admit when I’m wrong but that street goes both ways. John Patrick Beddell suffered from mental illness, end of story. So did all of them, that's obvious. I mean, anyone who does something irrational like shooting up a Unitarian Universalist Church production of “Annie” because they hate liberals is nuts. But it seems to me that we have more nuts getting off their sofas and actually taking action these days. And I have to wonder why that is.

We live in a time where there’s inflammatory hate speech dominating the airwaves and the vast majority of it is coming from the right. Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck and the rest pollute the airwaves on a daily basis with outlandish lies blaming Democrats, liberals, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi etc. with every imaginable sin against God and country. I don’t see anyone standing up to that, in fact, your politicians have embraced it.

So I want to see a scintilla of responsibility from your side of the aisle. Your grassroots movement is hawking stuff like this, and your protestors are showing up with signs like this one (and they aren’t even true since several of you made a point of bringing your warm gun to an anti-government protest). Your leadership conference features a Pelosi pinata and Harry Reid punching bag. You’re breeding paranoia, filling peoples' heads with bizarre conspiracy theories about FEMA re-education camps and the U.S. Census and claiming liberals are attacking Christianity and all sorts of irresponsible crap that isn't remotely true. No one on the right has said that any of this goes too far, in fact, y'all are pumping your fists in the air going "fuck yeah!"

So don't act shocked when your movement gets blamed when someone of any political stripe goes off the deep end. Y'all need to dial back your rhetoric a couple notches.