Sedition? Are You Serious?

I suppose I should be used to this by now, but it’s hard not to be outraged. Remember when disagreeing with the government was a sign of real patriotism—you know, back in the bad old Bush years? At that time, we were told continually by the Democrats and the media that dissent was a cornerstone of American liberty.

Well, there’s a whole lot of dissent going on out there right now. It started as a trickle, became a shocker with Townhall meetings in August 2009, then led to a more organized Tea Party movement that threatens to rock the establishment.

Suddenly dissent is no longer patriotic. In fact, according to some people, it’s downright evil.  Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick had choice words for critics of the president. The Boston Globe reported,

Governor Deval Patrick, even as he decried partisanship in Washington, said today that Republican opposition to President Obama’s agenda has become so obstinate that it “is almost at the level of sedition.” . . .

Patrick said that even “on my worst day, when I’m most frustrated about folks who seem to [be] rooting for failure,” he doesn’t face anything like the opposition faced by the president.

“It seems like child’s play compared to what is going on in Washington, where it is almost at the level of sedition, it feels like to me,” Patrick said.

Challenged on his wording, he later said, “That was a rhetorical flourish.” Accusing someone of sedition—attempting to undermine or overthrow the government—is simply a “rhetorical flourish”?

Then there was journalist Joe Klein speaking to MSNBC host Chris Matthews:

I did a little bit of research just before this show – it’s on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious.

Do I detect the beginnings of a trend here? Are these the new talking points emanating from the White House, dutifully repeated by fellow-travelers?

Based on the attitude displayed by Obama whenever anyone has a difference of opinion with him, this is not all that far-fetched.