Friday, August 14, 2009

Everybody chill…please

I am posting this article from ABC News in its entirety, because I think it's important. Commentary will follow.

Obama's Safety: Fear Grows for President as Hate Groups Thrive on Racial Backlash

Violent Signs, Gun, Standoff Latest in Emerging Anger Towards the President

By BRIAN ROSS, ANNA SCHECTER and MEGAN CHUCHMACH

August 14, 2009

Experts who track hate groups across the U.S. are growing increasingly concerned over violent rhetoric targeted at President Obama, especially as the debate over health care intensifies and a pattern of threats emerges.

The Secret Service is investigating a Maryland man who held a sign reading "Death to Obama" and "Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids" outside a town hall meeting this week. And in New Hampshire, another man stood across the street from a Presidential town hall with his gun on full display.

Los Angeles police officers apprehended a man Thursday after a standoff with him inside a red Volkswagen Bug car in Westwood, CA – the latest disturbing case even though officials said the man had mental problems.

"I don't think these are simply people who are mentally ill or off their rocker," Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told ABC News of those behind the threats. "In a very real sense they represent a genuine reaction, a genuine backlash against Obama."

Experts say a sharp growth in so-called militia groups that helped spawn a wave of domestic terrorism in the 1990s – and are now using YouTube, rock music and the Internet to recruit members and spread hate and fear - shouldn't be ignored.

"It's certainly a scary time," said former FBI agent Brad Garrett, now an ABC News consultant. Garrett said the Secret Service "cannot afford to pass on anyone," and he believes "they really do fear that something could happen to [Obama]."

Garrett said statements like one recently made by controversial radio host Rush Limbaugh comparing a logo for the White House plan to a Nazi symbol "legitimizes people who are on the edge to go do something or say something."

"And if you go and take a look at this, you will find that the Obama health care logo is damn close to a Nazi swastika logo," Limbaugh said.

Later, someone painted a swastika outside the office of Congressman David Scott of Georgia, one of Obama's supporters.

While officials told ABC News that the President's daily threat matrix has yet to reflect a sharp increase in threats, White House officials privately admit deep concern and have told the Secret Service to keep security tight, even if Obama objects.

"I think the president has, in effect, triggered fears amongst fairly large numbers of white people in this country that they are somehow losing their country, that the battle is lost," Potok told ABC News. "The nation that their Christian white forefathers created has somehow been taken from them."

Protest sign2 Read it again, if you need to. White House officials have admitted "deep concern," and have asked the Secret Service to be hyper-vigilant.

I'm too young to remember President Kennedy's assassination, or those of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. As someone who loves history, though, I've read quite a bit about the reaction in the country and around the world, as well as talking with family members who do remember those horrible days. My Dad was in the National Guard, and it was a dangerous time for him.

Does any rational person in this country want to go through such turmoil again, or see anything bad happen to the President, his family, or those close to him? It would be disastrous on many levels, including our standing in the world. We finally get a President that much of the world kinda digs, and some lunatic takes him out? Is that really the image we want to project to the world?

I don't know how many ways I can say it. Those who are inflaming people with their incendiary words are now doing more harm than good. I believe that many of the people who are shouting at these meetings are concerned citizens who don't mean any harm to anyone (although yelling does nothing to further the discussion). However, and this is a very large and important caveat, there are people who hate our President and wish to do him harm, and those numbers are apparently increasing. The vitriol that we're hearing from those who are primarily concerned with their ratings is inflammatory and hateful, and there will be someone at some point who will become so incensed by what they are hearing that they want to harm the President.

For those who would say that President Bush got plenty of vitriol himself, there's no denying that. But come on...anyone can see that what we are witnessing now is at a level that is beyond what President Bush had to deal with. It would seem to be approaching the tipping point, and if these so-called "patriots" on TV and talk radio really wish to see their country safe, they will ratchet down the rhetoric several notches. Terrorists don't come only from overseas. Remember Timothy McVey? Words have power, and they can move people to action. Make sure that your words move people towards positive action rather than hateful, negative action.

Protest sign3 I would also remind anyone who wants to harm the President that the Secret Service has pledged to protect him and his family, and they are willing to give their lives to do so. Your goal may be to harm President Obama, but you may harm or kill others in your attempt, people who have done nothing but serve their country and their President. What does that accomplish, other than sating your own irrational anger?

So everyone needs to chill the eff out and calm down. Be civil, be respectful, and stop the hateful speech.

One more commentary on a related issue, then I'll pipe down for a while. [grin] Much of what I’m hearing from those who oppose health care reform is that countries like Canada and England have horrible systems and that people there have to wait so long for care that they die. I'm not sure who they're talking to, because every single online friend from those countries who has emailed me or commented here has been a great supporter of their health care system. Ziggy and Ted in Canada, Simon, Mort, Sybil, Andy in England...did I forget anyone? Indeed, some of our friends across the pond have taken exception to the right's hijacking of their National Health System for their own purposes, and have had a few things to say about it. One of the most egregious--and ludicrous--comments came from a business editorial which said that someone like Stephen Hawking "wouldn't have a chance" in the UK, that because of his affliction and physical limitations, he would be left to die.

Professor Hawking was born in the UK, lives there, and released a statement saying that he wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Britain's NHS.

23 comments:

  1. Love that sign "Get a brain MORANS" would be hilarious if it weren't a definitive statement on the results of going through our educational system. Also, I agree Beth, many of my UK friends applaud their NHS and we could do worse by seeking a model that actually works. As for President-baiting it's an unfortunate but long-held tradition but I frankly doubt Mr. O is in any real physical danger. Those that prepped him for years to take the throne are far too powerful. Bilderberg Group anyone?

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  2. Unfortunately, methinks that those who need to hear this message are probably not regular readers of "Nutwood Junction"....

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  3. One thing that cracks me up and fills my head with a certain measure of comical glee is, with all these dim-witted, imbecilic tea-baggers running around calling Obama a Nazi and comparing him to freakin' Hitler, what do the neo-Nazis think at having their patron saint and his ideals co-opted in such a way as this?

    I think we need to put both of these groups on an island and let them settle this like the idiots they are. And, whomever is the last one standing, well... He can be the glorious representative of the White Race™. And, as representative of the White Race™, he gets a free pass to call Obama the n-word in public all he wants without having to cloak it behind this silly Nazi garbage (honesty really is the best policy). Of course, we still get to laugh at the dumb, crazy bastard since, well, all he gets is the ability to yell really loudly and use the n-word when he barks about how sick he is of a President who's only been in office seven fucking months.

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  4. For the life of me I do not know what the problem is down there with people opposing health care reform. So many people down there have no health care at all, so why deny them this basic right. Our system up here works just fine. Sure, there are cutbacks and it might mean waiting a little longer to have an elective surgery. I was diagnosed with uterine cancer in May and on June 19 I had my robot assisted surgery. I found out two days ago that I am now cancer free and need no treatment. The cancer is gone. That is pretty good care to me. Did not cost me a dime and I did not go bankrupt trying to afford all of this and I did not have to sit and die. These horror stories you here are not true. If you need urgent care, you will get it. I fear for Mr. Obama as well. For too many Americans the mentality is to solve all problems with guns, violence and killing.Why look over oceans for terrorists when they are living amongst you.

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  5. Jeez... it has really devolved into a world of craziness in the bread basket huh? Not one demonstration here in NY/NJ has gotten ugly yet... I don't know if we are just that savvy or people are being quieter about their hating, but wow. It is really appalling.

    Another wonderful post, Beth.

    be well,

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  6. Brilliant, as usual.
    Scary times we're living in these days.
    I don't ever recall a sign declaring Death to W...or Clinton or Bush 1 or Reagan. I, too, wish people would calm down and listen before they react, because osmetimes, while their reactions might mean little or nothing, someone else takes the same stance and does something foolish or dangerous.

    I'll say it with you: Calm the Eff down!

    >;/

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  7. Hi Beth,
    Somehow it feels almost futile ... there's a certain lunatic fringe out there that seems hell bent on getting their way, even if it means a perversion of everything this country stands for.
    Best,
    Marty

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  8. Well said and sadly, very necessary. I'm old enough to remember the assassinations of John F. and Bobby, as well as Martin. It was as if the world stopped spinning for a while and we were all so sad and afraid. I recall my mother crying. After MLK's death, I remember watching my dad put on his riot gear before going to work as one of four black officers on the Wilson police force. The entire town was under curfew as were so many cities and towns throughout the South and other parts of the country. I pray that we never go through such experiences again

    It's not all the shouting that frightens me, it's the hate and anger against Obama on a personal level that is so disturbing. So many of these people aren't anti-health care reform, they hate Obama and hate never breeds anything except evil.

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  9. Tragic situation, hopefully this will all be done in November, with passage of a reasonable bill, and we can start rebuilding the divide.

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  10. Clarence Page wrote another good article that health care may end up being Obama's "Iraq". sigh.

    some Republicans paid people to go to the town meetings and argue.

    i agree with all you wrote above. Per usual.

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  11. Ever seen the movie Idiocracy? I'm a bit scared that's what may be happening happen eventually when I hear stories like that and see pictures like that..I think Obama is doing what needs to be done to bring better coverage for everyone despite what it may do to his popularity in the short term-I was lucky I has insurance when I had my ulcer rupture, near the same time a woman in LA died on the emergency room floor of the exact same thing and surprise surprise, she had no insurance..what happens to me if it happens again when I lose my job in 8 weeks and the insurance that comes with it? I don't get racism either-just shows ignorance and weakness...

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  12. As you know Beth, I don't think Obama is good for our country. However, I certainly don't want to go through another JFK or MLK. It would be a terrible tragedy for this country. I'm just waiting for the next election to, hopefully correct the mistake the voters made this time.
    Joyce

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  13. I understand, Joyce. I remain confident that time will prove that this was far from a mistake: it was absolutely the right choice.

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  14. I'm beginning to hate hearing or reading the news. I sometimes feel like I'm living behind enemy lines here in Oklahoma. I wish I was a better debater. I feel the need (athough I haven't done so as yet) to post a sign in my museum stating "No Politics Spoken Here". Those of us who believe in the intelligence and good sense of President Obama are in the minority here, and I certainly don't respond well to idiots shouting in my face. Thanks for this post, Beth.

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  15. I remember all 3 assasinations and I believe each day we still have Obama alive is a miracle. I just pray that he will get through all of these hate mongers without the same happening to him. I like my president!!!

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  16. I think those folks have been watching FOX news too much. I doubt the ones who need to read this will ... and if they do, they will think you are some unspeakable traitor.

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  17. Oh Beth, I am really concerned for your President. I remember the horror felt throughout the world at the other assasinations and would NEVER WANT TO SEE THAT AGAIN. Can people have such short memories...
    All we can do is what you are already doing publicise the lunacy of it all as much as you can.
    Love Sybil xx

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  18. So sad! Hoping your today treats you well. Take care,
    Katie

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  19. This frightens me so much and I pray for Obama and his safety every day.

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  20. Geesh, I lose power for a day and find myself sick in bed the next and look what happens! I haven't heard anything about this. I would hate to see anyone as

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  21. sorry, Nick is on my lap(top), he stretched and somehow my unfinished comment went through.

    Anyway, I really hope nobody does anything stupid like that. If that would happen our country will fall to pieces and the divide will be greater than ever. It would be tragic.

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  22. I remember the assassinations, bombings, Vietnam War on TV, and the riots. We had some PTSD from all that, I'm sure. No, we do not ever want that to happen again. It's too much to think about the Obama children and Michelle to have to experience what the Kennedys, Kings, and others did.

    Thoughtful post.

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  23. Regarding your last two paragraphs about the UK's NHS...

    My sister is married to an Englishman and lived in the UK for a few years and was not happy with the NHS at all. I have forwarded this post to her and encouraged her to post her firsthand experiences with them.

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I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?