Posted by | October 9, 2010 18:57 | Filed under: Top Stories

by James Frye

Two news stories that I ran across seemed to be walking hand in hand.  It’s just the latest in the continuing series of rightwingers peddling hate on the radio and TV then acting “shocked” when someone takes them up on it.

The first comes from talk show host and political commentator David Sirota.  In his blog, he gives us this example of conservative “comedy” (from Colorado radio talk show host Mike Rosen) talking about the proposed Park 51 Islam community center, two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City:

“We’re supposed to have a country that has religious freedom. My ancestors came here because of religious freedom. A lot of people came here because of religious freedom. I think that saying the acts of 18 people on 9/11 represents 1.5 billion Muslims across the land and trying to use that to spur Islam-aphobia is grotesque,” Sirota said.

“I think they should be allowed to build it, followed by the hijacking of an Iranian plane right into that building and blow it to smithereens,” Rosen responded.

Funny stuff, huh?  Of course, if anything like that were to happen I’m sure Rosen would be the first to claim it’s not his fault. Add that to the viral Obama “jokes” floating around the internet and you have a real rightwing laff fest.  Or not, (via the AP):

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Friday, October 8, 2010

Police say two students were injured when a man opened fire at a San Diego-area elementary school.

He was quickly tackled by bystanders, and the children suffered only minor injuries to their arms.

Carlsbad police spokeswoman Fiona Everett couldn’t immediately say if the injuries were gunshot wounds, but added they were not life-threatening.

A witness says he looked out his window to see a man park a van, jump over a fence at Kelly Elementary School, walk across a field and open fire with a .357 Magnum revolver at a crowd of children.

Terry Lynn told KNSD-TV the man was ranting about the president when he was tackled by construction workers.

No doubt this man is mentally unstable but he got the idea about blaming President Obama then trying to shoot up some elementary school kids somewhere. Just like the guy who shot three policemen to death in Pittsburgh because he was “afraid Obama was going to take his guns”  or the other guy who shot up a Unitarian Church (killing two) because he hated the “liberal movement.” Then there’s the Holocaust Museum shooter who killed a guard there but really wanted to kill President Obama’s advisor David Axelrod.

Yep, pretty sure those (and others) came up with doing what they did all by themselves. At least, that’s what my friends on the right tell me.

I can’t help thinking that this is echoing the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing.  President Clinton then gently suggested that this act of terrorism might have been fed by hours upon hours of radio talkers proclaiming that the government was the enemy and it might be a nice idea if they toned the rhetoric down a little bit.  Oh, how those same government-hating, “Clinton and Reno murdered those people in Waco” talk show hosts did wail and gnash their teeth over that. “WE caused Timothy McVeigh to kill all those people?  Nonsense!” they shouted.  Kind of like what’s happening now.

This isn’t a First Amendment issue.  I am a hardnosed defender of that Constitutional right to free speech our founders made sure was not to be abridged.  Heck, I even defend the Phelps “God Hates Fags” gang’s right to do what they do, disgusting and repugnant as it is.  However, as our friends on the right like to remind us from time to time, with freedom comes responsibility.

Words matter.  I don’t ask everyone to love the current president, just take responsibility the rhetoric about him a bit.  Sometimes, people act on what you say even if you didn’t mean for them to.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: James Frye

Long time progressive activist in the Pacific Northwest and self-studying student of politics