Sunday, September 6, 2009

You Can't Overturn Elections with Temper Tantrums - It's Time to Stop!


I'm asking that all pastors, politicians, and right thinking citizens, no matter their political affiliation speak up against the tragic and pathetic displays of hatred, racism and unpatriotic disrespect of the President. It is not a matter of free speech. It is dangerous. It does nothing to foster understanding, or reconciliation, nor does it provide the rest of the world with a true picture of the democracy we say we cherish and want them to adopt.

There are people who are overdosing on FOX News and conservative radio blather, and fanning flames of racial resentment and vitriol, because, essentially their side lost a free and fair election.
Its high time to call this what it is: it is the worst display of America's worst side. And its gotten far, far out of hand. The cries of 'socialism', 'Nazi', 'Hitler' and such, must stop. Not only is it foolish (the same people who drive on publically financed roads, to rallies and townhall meetings, obviously don't know what socialism is!). It plays into the worst attitudes of some of the worst people in our country.

Eric Folkerth is the pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas. His eclectic blog "When EF Talks" is always full of interesting stuff. But I admit, I missed this post and not only shouldn't I, but everyone should. Here's a piece that deserves consideration...

"...some of us remember John Kennedy. Members of the church I serve remember the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination and how the pastor of Northaven at the time, Bill Holmes, preached a sermon decrying the culture that pervaded Dallas at the time. He cited tangible examples of how Dallas had become an intolerant place and suggested that, while Dallas didn't "kill Kennedy," the culpability for that intolerant society did rest on all who lived here then."

"For this, he got death threats and had to go into hiding. No kidding."

"BTW, sort of proves the point of his "Dallas in an intolerant city" claim, doncha think?"

"Some folks I see regularly remember that time. And they see eerie and frightening parallels to what's happening around America right now. Step back from the past year, and ask yourself where this is all going. Where, if not directly to an assassination attempt, or militant uprising, does anybody think this is going?"

"Enough is enough."

"Once again, as I have before, I call on all persons to stop the hate-mongering. If somebody brings a side arm to a Presidential rally, denounce it. If somebody calls the President a Nazi, a Socialist, a Muslim, a Foreigner, a Monkey, denounce it. If somebody lies about the facts of a policy decision (such as the lie about "Death Panels") denounce it. If somebody refuses to stop telling those lies on national media: boycott them. If somebody seems to condone violence against the President, or behaviors that could lead others to take up violence, reject them."

"Because this is getting out of hand. Seriously."

"And some of us remember that in another time when conservatives could not control their lunatic fringe, a lone crazy killed an American president, right here in our city."

The rest of his post is particularly powerful...

We've gone long enough, trying to 'understand' why people are 'so angry', or 'frightened'. They are angry and frightened because they are listening to people who make a lot of money making them angry and frightened.

They are not misunderstood...

They are not patriots...

They are not the 'forgotten middle class'

They are dangerous.

And they are dangerous people in dangerous times. And its time to stop trying to make sense out of their lunacy. The fear that a president will say something 'inappropriate' to young children, needs to be the last straw. This is about finding a way to overturn an election with a collective temper tantrum. Its about not getting your way, stomping your feet and jumping up and down and crying 'It's not fair!', 'It's not fair!'. This is about politicians who want votes so bad, they lack the integrity to tell people that you don't bring guns to political rallies, you don't shout down someone in public debate and you don't yell insults to elected representatives because they you want to 'show them' how 'passionate' you are.
Its not debate...
Its not negotiation...
It's not compromise...
It's not real politics...
And its dangerous.
Somebody needs to talk to these people and tell them that we live in a country in which anger and passion has its place, that hysteria is not civic discourse - and none of this is a substitute for reasoned debate among citizens.

Eric is right, on a number of levels. It hasn't been that long ago that we've seen all of this before. Its no prettier now than it was then. As a matter of fact, its much uglier and much more replusive.

Its time to stop.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gerald - any comment on these?
It’s racism you want?

* Democrat Senator Robert Byrd:

There are white niggers. I’ve seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I’m going to use that word.

* Democrat presidential candidate Jesse Jackson on Jews:

Hymies

and on New York City:

Hymietown

* During his presidential campaign, Jesse Jackson was linked with (and refused to denounce) Louis Farrakhan, who has at times been linked with the Congressional Black Caucus, which also supported his Million Man March. Farrakhan is a man of the left who has been a harsh critic of President Bush.
o Here’s Farrakhan on Jews:

Many of the Jews who owned the homes, the apartments in the black community, we considered them bloodsuckers because they took from our community and built their community but didn’t offer anything back to our community.

o Farrakhan on Pope John Paul II:

no good cracker

o Farrakhan on white people:

White people are potential humans – they haven’t evolved yet.

o And again:

Murder and lying comes easy for white people.

Does it count as “hate” speech if you say you “hate” Republicans?

* Howard Dean:

I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for . . .

Gerald Britt said...

A645,

I'm not sure what you're trying to get at. I don't know if you're married or not, but the most unproductive arguments a couple can have is, 'Oh, YEAH?! Well you do it too!'

Byrd has evidently renounced his virulent racism, at least to the satisfaction of his constituency, which is black and white, I might add.
Jackson has apologized for this statement, which I believe was made 25 years ago. Farrakhan is pretty much a non-factor, and given way too much coverage and credence by blacks and whites alike - million man march aside.

If you can't tell the difference between the hysteria which is being exploited by 3rd rate radio shock jocks and television schlock hosts like Limbaugh and Beck, who would have to get real jobs if they didn't spew their venom, then I'm not sure what I can tell you.

The fact is none of these people you have mentioned were trying to delegitimize a fair, free and legal election, with lies, innuendo and near scandalous assertions of foriegn birth, disloyalty to the country, un-American political philosophies like socialism. None have compared a president to Hitler. None have tried to stop down the political process of debate with hate speech, hysterical wrangling and purile rage.

None have suggested that a president not be allowed to address the children and youth of America because he might 'indoctrinate' them. They did not object to Reagan, or Bush, or Kennedy doing any such thing.

These actions are not in harmony with the democratic ideals of a free society. We teach (or I thought we did) respect for the office, even when you don't agree with the person or his policies.

And no, I do not believe the fact that the president's race is incidental. No other president has been caricatured as being so sinister, nefarious and 'other' - so much so that parents believe that they have to 'protect' their children from hearing his ideas.

The closest we came to that was with Kennedy. A lunatic fringe created such a hate filled atmosphere that it produced profound disrespect for officials like Adlai Stephenson, Lyndon Johnson and even the president.

This lunatic fringe can be equally as dangerous and we dare not be dismissive of them. Equally dangerous are the un-statesman like politicians who do not have the courage to stand up against these people and tell them that neither their attitudes or actions comport with the ideals we are striving for in this country. Whether we agree with doing it or not, this is not the democracy we are trying to export.

So I'm sorry, the type of reasoning you're trying to promote doesn't hold water. This needs to be a very serious discussion about how open we are as a society.

We are not always going to have presidents with whom we agree. And the office of the president is not the province of one race or religion. We're going to have to get used to that.

If we can accept as legitimate a court ordered election result - surely we can accept and respect an election in which the will of the people of this country was so clearly expressed.

Anonymous said...

"The fact is none of these people you have mentioned were trying to delegitimize a fair, free and legal election, with lies, innuendo and near scandalous.."
Do you mean like the hanging chads in the 2000 FL election?

A double standard is just that -wife or not. This is the third round of "talking points" hate speech propoganda pushed by the left to protect the sacred cow this calendar year

Gerald Britt said...

A846,

You're attempt to conflate the inability to accept the clear outcome of an election of a president and the procedural efforts to determine the outcome of an election (one in which it has been proven that citizens eligible to vote had been disenfranchised) actually makes my point.

The scornful attitudes over a president who incited hope in among voters who were tired of and who rejected a party which increased the wealth of one per cent of the country, impoverished millions; led us into a war with false information and said, 'So' when told that the war was no longer supported by the American people and ran the economy into a ditch, is also part of the problem.

Again, the meritless arguments simply reveal an antipathy towards a president who isn't enough like those who considered the White House the province of one segment of America's population. And, again, it is unfortunate.

Where are the Bush supporters who thought it was unpatriotic and undemocratic to say 'Bush is not my president'. Why aren't they leading the way to show us how 'true' patriotic citizens act?

Anonymous said...

"Where are the Bush supporters who thought it was unpatriotic and undemocratic to say 'Bush is not my president'. Why aren't they leading the way to show us how 'true' patriotic citizens act?"

My guess is they are probably in the same place you were when the original "Bush is not my president" phrase was in vogue with the left.

Gerald Britt said...

I see we've stretched your capacity for constructive input to its limits. Thanks for the conversation so far. We can leave room for someone else to comment.