The Real Purveyors of Hatred

I would like to introduce you to Eric Fuller, in case you haven’t yet heard of him. I’m not sure how much coverage this man is getting in the mainstream media, but he just may be the face of the unhinged Left.

Fuller was in the crowd in Tucson the morning that Jared Loughner decided to unleash himself on the world. Two of Loughner’s bullets hit Fuller—one in the leg and the other in his back. His injuries were not serious, and he is out on the street again doing what he does best—agitate.

Getting shot does not make Fuller a hero. In fact, the reason he was at Rep. Giffords’s meeting that morning was to confront any Tea Party activists who might show up, “to shout them down because I can make a lot of noise,” Fuller explained. His business card identifies himself as a “political circulator.” In fact, shortly before Loughner opened fire, Fuller was in a full-scale confrontation with a former Marine in the crowd. The discussion was apparently so heated that Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords’s aide who was killed just minutes later, had to intervene to stop Fuller from escalating the argument further.

Lately, Fuller has become infamous for a number of comments:

  • “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle, and the rest got their first target.”
  • “Their wish for Second Amendment activism has been fulfilled … senseless hatred leading to murder, lunatic fringe anarchism, subscribed to by John Boehner, mainstream rebels with vengeance for all, even 9-year-old girls.”
  • In an interview with the New York Times: “[Republicans] appeal to simple-minded rednecks.”
  • In that same interview, he repeatedly referred to the “Tea Party crime syndicate.”

Then on Saturday, Fuller was in the audience at an ABC townhall broadcast in Tucson. One of the invited attendees was a Tea Party organizer, Trent Humphries. Throughout the meeting, those sitting by Fuller were increasingly concerned by his behavior, uncomfortable being near him. Finally, he rose up, took a picture of Humphries, and declared, “You’re dead.” At that point, sheriffs took him into custody and escorted him from the room. His final words to everyone in the room? “You’re all whores!”

Can any fair-minded person compare Fuller’s fulminations with words spoken by Palin, Beck, Rush, or anyone on the Right and draw a moral equivalence between them? All this talk of civility needs to begin with those who are the real purveyors of hatred, not those the media routinely accuses.

Note: After writing this post, I read where Fuller apologized to Humphries for his actions. One hopes this is sincere, yet being taken into custody and turned over for psychological evaluation can lead a person to do whatever is necessary outwardly to avoid consequences. I will be convinced this is genuine when his life mirrors his words.

Memorial?

Perhaps this will be my last post on the Tucson tragedy. There are a few words more to say, particularly after the memorial with President Obama on Wednesday.

First, a final word on the so-called journalism that has dominated the week. The journalistic profession, in my view, was another of the casualties:

The irresponsible charges during the week set a new low standard, not only for journalists but for those in politics who sought to use this for their own gain. How bad was it? Let us count the ways:

It would be nice if that lesson could be learned.

Then there was the memorial service. If one were to simply read the words the president spoke, it would be difficult to find anything to criticize, although even using all the right words may conceal the worldview behind the words. Americans generally want to believe the best about their presidents. Yet this much must be remembered: a good speech is simply that; it does not indicate any change of direction in policy, and his policies are hurting us as a nation. Obama may get a bump in approval as a result of his ability to read a good speech, but we need to look beyond the words to the philosophy that continues to animate the man.

The service itself was disconcerting. Organized by the University of Arizona, an institution with a decided leftist orientation, it began with a Native American blessing that included an address to Father Sky and Mother Earth—the former being the source of masculine energy and the latter feminine energy. At least that’s what we were told. Inviting this man to invoke a blessing, when none of the victims was Native American, was another bow to political correctness. A proper representation for those who died would have been a Christian minister and a Jewish rabbi.

The university also provided T-shirts for everyone to wear with the slogan “Together We Thrive: Tucson and America.” T-shirts at a memorial? That actually fit nicely with the political atmosphere as the crowd whooped and hollered at everything Obama said. He probably should have been embarrassed by it. Perhaps he was. As many have commented, this was more a pep rally than anything else—or the kickoff to the Obama reelection campaign. Those in attendance were weighted to the left of the political spectrum. When Republican governor Jan Brewer was introduced, she was booed.

The focus was  more on the president than the victims of the shootings. The crowd obviously considered him the rock star for the evening.

A memorial should be just that. When Ronald Reagan attended the memorial for the astronauts who died in the Challenger explosion, he was not the center of attention. There was a proper sense of reverence and respect that dominated the proceedings. His major address to the American people had come earlier in a short Oval Office speech without a crowd. For the sake of dignity, I believe Obama should have followed that example.

Civility was the keyword for the Obama speech. That’s fine as far as it goes, but did he ever single out the uncivil words and actions of those who were making the false accusations? No, instead he approached it as a matter of moral equivalence, that both sides must now be civil. Excuse me, sir, but there was only one side displaying incivility in this case. As one commentator, Carol Liebau, noted, why did it take so long for the president to deal with this at all?

We were treated to four days — Sunday,  Monday, Tuesday and most of Wednesday — of ugly rhetoric and vituperation from the left, while The White House remained silent.  

It’s not clear to me whether this was (1) simple mismanagement; (2) an effort to make sure the anti-conservative message got wide play before attempting to appear “above it all”; or (3) waiting for polling data to learn what tack would resonate with the greatest number of Americans. I don’t mean to nitpick, but you can be darn sure that if national dialogue had been heading in some direction that the President clearly opposed — as, say, in the Hasan shootings — it wouldn’t have taken him four days to make some effort to shut it down.
This new call for civility also might simply be the way to try to silence opposition to his policies. Anyone who disagrees with him may be branded “uncivil,” and in the current atmosphere, that is possibly the worst accusation one can make. It will take someone with a real spine to stand up to that; if you continue to argue against Obama’s wisdom, you will be considered an instigator of violence.
I know some will not like my comments today. They will accuse me of distorting what took place Wednesday evening. They have the right to criticize. Yet I have both the right and the obligation to say what I believe. While the media fawns over the “healing” that took place, I must respectfully disagree with that assessment. Any healing was superficial; the fissures remain.

Palin's Fitting Response

So much has been written about the unsubstantiated accusations regarding the Tucson shootings that I hate to dwell on it, but the cartoonists have just now caught up with the issue, thereby providing some pertinent commentary. One has compared the conspiracy mentality with the ongoing mania over Pres. Kennedy’s assassination back in 1963:

Who are the real crazies here?

It was only a matter of a couple of hours before the accusations started flying:

It kind of brings to mind the infamous quote from former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel:

In this case, though, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik stood in for Rahm. The whole thing has become rather surreal:

As most of these cartoons recognize, Sarah Palin has borne the brunt of the false accusations. What do you do when you are accused of being responsible for the actions of a deranged individual? She could have remained silent, of course, but a measured response, I believe, was necessary. She delivered that measured response yesterday on her Facebook page in the form of a video dealing with the entire situation.

For the video, go here. I watched it carefully, and came away impressed with the manner in which she handled not only the accusations, but also with her upbeat spirit as she pointed Americans toward a proper perspective on the events of the past few days.

Some of her best lines are the following:

Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

That is a statement pointing to personal responsibility for one’s actions—one heard all too rarely nowadays. She also called the journalists on the carpet for their irresponsibility:

If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

Palin delivered her message with a soberness befitting the tragedy. She decried the political atmosphere around the tragedy without focusing too much on how she personally was a prime target. All in all, it was a fitting word for a troubled time.

Yet her critics pounced again: the use of the term “blood libel,” they yelled, means she is anti-Semitic. Even liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz came to Palin’s defense on this one, making it clear that the term has a much broader usage in our society. Palin, when she was governor, had an Israeli flag in her office; her evangelical Christian faith ties her spiritually to the Jewish people.

Commentator Jonah Goldberg made fun of the reflexive, knee-jerk Palin critics, noting that if she had used completely innocuous terms, they still would have found something wrong—probably criticizing her for her use of semi-colons. And as that famous philosopher Forrest Gump reminds us, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

There’s a lot of stupid going around these days.

The Tucson Tragedy

When we celebrated our one-year-old grandson’s birthday in Tucson on December 29, I went to the nearest grocery store to buy the ice cream. It was a Safeway store located in a shopping center on the corner of Ina and Oracle. On Saturday, that very store was in the news as the scene for a most horrific shooting. As I have watched the coverage the past couple of days, I can visualize from my own experience the very spot where one young man carried out his sinful deed. Less than two weeks ago, I was there.

The object of his ire apparently was his congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. He succeeded in shooting her in the head, yet even though the bullet went through her brain, she remains alive in an intensive care unit. Doctors are cautiously optimistic, but any recovery will be slow. In the process, the shooter, later identified as Jared Loughner, killed six people outright, one being federal judge John Roll; a total of twenty were injured by his bullets. Fortunately, he was captured on the spot and is now in custody.

Almost immediately, information on Loughner surfaced. I’ve seen his You Tube screeds. If you’ve seen them, you know they are largely chaotic in nature with a logic that sometimes defies definition. Without doubt, they are the product of a troubled mind.

He is an atheist—that much is clear. Beyond that, it’s difficult to find much consistency in his belief “system,” if that’s the proper term for it. On the one hand, he writes about reading the Constitution and believes in holding gold rather than fiat money. Yet he’s not a “conservative.” Two of his favorite books are The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. His atheism separates him from traditional morality based on God’s law. One of his high school acquaintances remembers him as someone who was “left wing, quite liberal” politically. Another called him a “hater,” adding, “He was a goth-type. He was more of an outcast.”

In other words, he is in no way connected, philosophically or in practice, with modern conservatism or the Tea Party movement.

That has not stopped some extremists from using this tragedy for their own political purposes. Leftist bloggers have already blamed Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and any opposition to the Obama agenda for Loughner’s actions.

I was watching the Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, in his news conference Saturday evening when I was bowled over by his editorializing. I’d never heard of Sheriff Dupnik previously; I had no idea of his political leanings, but he didn’t leave a nationwide audience in the dark for long.

He immediately rushed to judgment, placing the blame for the shootings on what he called “vitriolic” comments from talk radio [code for Rush Limbaugh et. al.]. He then proceeded to trash his own state of Arizona, labeling it the most bigoted state in the nation [presumably for its strong stance against illegal immigration]. This man was supposed to be giving an update on the day’s proceedings; instead, he chose to unleash what I would consider to be “vitriol” of the lowest caliber.

Yesterday, in an interview with Fox News, Dupnik followed up his initial comments by declaring that Loughner’s actions were the result of an atmosphere created when “one party is trying to do something to make this country a better country and the other party is trying to block them.” For Dupnik, the party trying to make things better is the Democrats and the party trying to block them is the Republicans.

Can this man be trusted to be involved in an honest investigation of the facts?

The one thing the sheriff said that was true is that the political discourse has become heated. He didn’t help the situation, however; all he did was fan the flames with false accusations. The New Testament book of James provides this instruction:

But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Let’s allow the righteousness of God to come to the forefront at this time.