Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lee Harvey Oswald?

Yesterday, on the radio while driving to work a man, a teacher in Nashville TN, told the story of how, after picking up his 10 year old daughter from school was driving home when a right-wing fanatic rear ended his automobile because he had an Obama bumper sticker on the back of his car. The victim, I dislike that word - let's use survivor, the survivor of the incident recounted the horrible tale of how, after pulling over and exiting his vehicle to speak to the driver, this wingnut continued smashing his SUV into the back of his sedan to the accompaniment of his daughter's screams as she was still strapped into the back seat! If this wasn't enough, AT THAT VERY MOMENT as I was listening to what's become an all too familiar tale of right wing violence these days, a man drives by in a red pickup outfitted like a contractor's vehicle sporting a bumper sticker on the back that read "Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when we really need him?"

Silence... pause... what? Let me look at that again...

"Where is Lee Harvey Oswald when we really need him?"

It doesn’t take but a nanosecond to understand what this man advocates. I was incensed as
any American should be. I drove by Mr. Bumper Sticker to see what sort of person would put such a hateful message on his truck for all to see and saw a man furiously biting his nails but otherwise appearing as normal as can be; middle-aged Caucasian, thin, fit and tan, with longish salt and pepper hair.

After writing his license plate number on my hand I drove right on by and immediately upon arriving in my office called the Los Angeles field office of the Secret Service and reported what I saw. As we know, the agent said they take all threats against the president no matter how casual or veiled seriously, which in this case is a public statement that one wishes an infamous assassin would do to the current president what he was alleged to have done to a former president. As a card-carrying member of the ACLU I'm all for expressing one's views no matter how repugnant but advocating this in public is well over the line in my opinion especially in the current political milieu.

Where does this hate get us? Paul Krugman, Nobel prize winning economist and columnist of The New York Times says it well when he writes "In the short run, Republican extremism may be good for Democrats, to the extent that it prompts a voter backlash. But in the long run, it’s a very bad thing for America. We need to have two reasonable, rational parties in this country. And right now we don’t." I would argue we need more than two but that’s a different post. See the link to his most recent column in the title of this post.

How did the Nashville story end? Well the teacher obtained the license plate of the offender, called 911 and the man was arrested. Apparently he was drunk, which obviously is no excuse.

Me thinks a goodly portion of the right wing is drunk too - drunk on hate whipped up by the likes of Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, Fox News et. al. and incredibly some Republican elected officials like John Boehner. Disagreeing with a policy or legislation is as American as one can get but the bill passed by majority vote. Last time I checked in a democracy the majority carries the day.

Please, my fellow American citizens that happen to be Republicans - the bill passed and is the law of the land. Get used to it. Get used to it like many Americans who happened to be Democrats had to get used to the fact that conservative Supreme Court justices appointed George W. Bush to be president. Its how the system works. We have rules that we need to follow or else we end up like the Balkans or Somalia.

1 comment:

Heather Helene said...

Some judgement is called for. Like judging that this man had crossed a line. In almost every other scenario these days, uneducated judgement seems to be the way of life and, indeed, something you feel moer like a survivor of. Good post.