Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Right-wing hate speech unearthed

Following the Tennessee church shooting and the Arkansas assassination, I've found a list of numerous recent examples of right-wing commentators and politicians inciting violence against opponents. This list is borrowed from an article I found on AlterNet, but the quotes themselves belong to the loudmouths who initially issued them.

For instance, Rush Limbaugh declared, "I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have 2 on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."

Right-wing Rep. Peter King (R-New York) once encouraged the assassination of the late Tim Russert. "I think people like Tim Russert and the others, who gave this guy such a free ride and all the media, they're the ones to be shot," King cried, regarding an unspecified incident.

Right-wing commentator Melanie Morgan said she would "have no problem with" the editor of the New York Times "being sent to the gas chamber."

Bill O'Reilly invited Al-Qaeda to blow up San Francisco. Ann Coulter once said, "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." Another right-wing commentator, Kathleen Parker, said that Wesley Clark, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, Dennis Kucinich, and Rev. Al Sharpton "should all be lined up and shot."

I know these commentators mean it. They mean every word. I learned that at the Catholic high school I attended while the '88 election was going on. I don't remember the exact words of a confrontation I had with a right-wing schoolmate when I was 15, but this account is nearly accurate:

Right-wing schoolmate (referring to the presidential election): "Who are you for?"

Me: "Dukakis."

Right-wing schoolmate: "Dukakis is a liberal who's for killing babies. All Democrats are. That means you're for killing babies, because you're a Democrat."

I tried walking away, but he persisted.

Right-wing schoolmate: "Only stupid hillbillies are Democrats."

I tried walking away again, but he began raving against labor unions, accusing me of "killing babies", and ranting about other grievances. He approached one of his friends, pointed at me, and said, "He's for Dukakis."

Immediately, the other so-called student walked up to me and punched me in the stomach as hard as he could.

Now we know who grew up to be "values voters", I guess.

This violent behavior was the norm at this school, because the school administration encouraged it, but that's not the point. (A secret ballot of my sophomore class had Dukakis winning in a landslide, but I was one of few who admitted voting for him, because of the bullies' climate of fear.) The point is that members of today's conservative intelligentsia are distinguished by an almost lifelong history of promoting violence against dissenters. Conservatives used to be more respectable, but in the past 20 years their debates have turned into bully runs.

(You can argue whether today's conservatives are even conservative at all. One thing seems certain: They aren't liberal and are certainly right-wing. You can call it whatever you choose.)

The Arkansas and Tennessee murders aren't isolated incidents but represent a pattern of violence incited by right-wing leaders.

(Source: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/95112/the_tragic_arkansas_shooting_and_conservative_hate_speech)