Saturday, August 08, 2009

Stars and Bars and Right Wing Conspiracies

Have you noticed the number of vehicles (mostly pickups) around town sporting confederate flags or decals? I don't quite know what to make of that - is it some sort of statement or just a bit of nostalgia for the ancestral homeland? If it's a statement, get over it. The civil war ended almost 150 years ago and it marked the beginning of the end of state supported oppression. Yes, it was about states' rights - but the one right that war was about was slavery, how can you be nostalgic for that? States' rights continues to be a rally cry for certain conservatives, but of course they only want states to have rights they agree with. If a state OKs gay marriage, tighter environmental laws and other such policies, those same conservatives are ready to pass federal legislation to take away those state rights.

I was enjoying some java at K-Bros the other day and at the next table there were some regulars (loudly) going on about the president and his attempt to reform health care. A few minutes of their conversation was devoted to their certainty that Obama was not born in the US (despite irrefutable evidence that he indeed was). Then a few minutes were consumed by hateful talk that linked the president to satanic/communist organizations. A couple (but not all) of people at this table made overtly racist comments. Some of the folks at the table regularly bring their bibles and I can't help but wonder how they then can tolerate so much hate. The thing is that none of their beliefs are at all accurate, and some are outright lies that are easily disproved by any sort of casual research. Their talk tends to feed upon itself and in the absence of another point of view to provide some checks and balances, it creates a hysteria that stymies the legitimate and needed debate of issues. Sarah Palin's recent Facebook post where she says the Obama health plan will have a death panel that decides who will receive care and who won't is an over-the-top example of the irresponsible propaganda that the radical right is using to scare those who are easily manipulated.

I am in no way suggesting that people shouldn't express their ideas - even if they are repulsive to me. Can a free country keep someone as extreme as Norm Olson (see related post) out of politics? I hope not, but I do hope that more balanced individuals then become motivated to get involved and refuse to let someone like him make decisions for the community.

New ideas need to be practical. Established practices need to be modified as new information comes to light. We all need to work together.

But with that said, I think it is important to stand in the place where you live and refuse to be intimidated and silenced by the voices of ignorance and hate.


Wolfe Tone said...


A free country can keep someone like Norm Olson out of politics when they engage in sedition.

From Olson's exploits, to the hate speech practiced by extremists (including Sarah Palin), it sure seems to me that the line between the Constitutional right of freedom of expression, and the actual encouragment of insurrection has been crossed by many in the right-wing.

I really do wish The Main-Stream Media™ would start calling this behavior what it truly is.

Great blog, by the way! I always enjoy reading your posts.

freeper said...

Ignorance and hate still dominates the motivation of a minority of the nation.

That minority holds a much larger position in Alaska.

I would hope that you confronted the racism and bigotry, the ignorance and hate you witnessed in that coffee shop.

Allowing that kind of thing to pass unchallenged only enables more of the same.

Yes, you run the risk of things becoming ugly, but there's little doubt the meek acceptance produces far uglier consequences.

It's time we all confronted the racist and the bigots.

Let them know that not everyone will give a wink and a nod to their behavior.

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