29 July 2008

Conservatives & Tennessee Church Murders

A quick digression today. Back to senior “issues” tomorrow.

I now must regard myself as an “enemy combatant” in the culture wars waged by the screech monkeys of the radical right and their foot-soldiers: violently disturbed good old boys. As a liberal, and a nominal Unitarian, I find myself a potential target for the deeply-disturbed, anger and violence based conservatives who regard liberals, populists, and progressives as less than human perpetrators of dark deeds who are to be stalked and slain.

What does it take to make a person, already with rats and maggots warring for control of his brain, take a weapon into a church and gun down innocents in a rampage of hate and murder, simply because the church is liberal and supports such things as gay-marriage? What, indeed?

I have long maintained that conservatives are culpable, accountable and responsible for the things done in the name of conservatism. When one supports a politician one takes on some ownership of the policies and programs of that politician. One does not get to wash one’s hands of those when they go bad. Conservatives are accountable for the nearly 35,000 casualties resulting from the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Conservatives are accountable for the collapse of the Mississippi River Bridge in Minnesota, which sent so many innocents to untimely death because the money for proper inspection and repair had been shut off by...yeah; you got it, conservative politicians pandering to their supporters.

And conservatives everywhere are accountable for those church killings in Tennessee. Oh sure, there are conservatives that were stunned and saddened by the crime. They will join hands and pray, swaying back-and-forth in candle-light vigils for the innocent dead. They will attribute it all to one violently disturbed individual, and then continue to watch and listen to the vile and hateful ranting and tirades against liberals by Dobbs, Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and Coulter. They will continue circulating their vicious and ugly e-mail missives promoting hate and fear and blaming liberals as the cause of all that trouble them.

No one can say with any certainty where is the tipping point that causes a man to take a gun into a church and kill people because the church is liberal. But, it takes no imagination at all to find the hate-speech from the right as a major contributing factor. There are consequences to words. And, in this case, those consequences were tragic and all persons calling themselves conservative, who have not repudiated the calls for violence and hate-filled speech of the Coulters, Hannitys, Limbaughs, and O’Reillys of the world, share responsibility for those deaths.

It is time, as the biblical expression goes, for conservatives to look to themselves. Liberals do not invade churches and kill people, liberals do not poison the airwaves calling for conservatives to be beaten with baseball bats or decapitated, liberals do not blow up clinics which refuse to perform abortions, liberals do not lie hidden in darkness waiting to assassinate, by sniping, doctors who refuse to perform abortions, liberals do not blow up federal buildings with day-care centers filled with playing toddlers and sleeping infants, liberals do not call for the round-up and deportation of immigrant workers and the tearing apart of families, or for the deportation of those worker's children legally born in the United States. Liberals do not intimidate, threaten, bully, or wrongfully remove from the voting rolls, others to insure the "victory" of their ideology. Liberals do not engage in gay-bashing, race-baiting, or other hate-crimes. These things are not patriotic or American--they are monstrous opposites!

Liberals do none of those things. People calling themselves conservative do! They do those things and much, much worse. And they do so proudly, with disgusting bravado and sickening self-righteousness.

Enough is enough. It is way past the hour for decent people who regard themselves as conservative to repudiate and stand up against the hate mongers. Too long have good people stood silent as sociopaths, pundits, radical fringe-religion preachers and other criminally insane egoists spout and spew vomitous hate toward their fellow Americans. From such do murderers draw inspiration and affirmation.

This is a moment of accountability for conservatives in America. My bet is they will fail the test, and that I, and other progressives, will remain at-risk enemy combatants in the culture wars.

Shane Fox (7/29/08) asfx@aol.com

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