A lot of people worry these days about the death of civil discourse. The Pope, in his new encyclical, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), laments the death of civil discourse and cites "ancient philosophers who proposed friendship as one of the most appropriate contexts for sound philosophical inquiry." It's more than faintly ludicrous, this plea for friendship coming from the selfsame Pope who has tried so relentlessly to stamp out dissent in churches and Catholic universities, but let's follow the lead of the crazies who killed Matthew Shepard and take the Pope at his word.
Friendship is the proper context for discussion. Fine and good. Take the gun away from the head, Your Holiness, and we can discuss the merits of homosexual sex, of homosexual marriage, of homosexual love, of monogamy versus promiscuity, of lesbian or gay couples raising kids, of condom distribution in the schools, of confidential counseling for teenagers, of sex education that addresses more than abstinence. We can discuss abortion, we can discuss anything you like. Just promise me two things, friend: First, you won't beat my brains out with a pistol butt and leave me to die by the side of the road. Second, if someone else, someone a little less sane than you, feeling entitled to commit these terrible things against me because they understood you a little too literally, or were more willing than you to take your distaste for me and what I do to its most full-blooded conclusion, if someone else does violence against me, friend, won't you please make it your business to make a big public fuss about how badly I was treated? Won't you please make a point, friend, you who call yourself, and who are called, by millions of people, the Vicar on Earth of the very gentle Jesus, won't you please in the name of friendship announce that no one who deliberately inflicts suffering, whether by violence or by prejudice, on another human being, can be said to be acting in God's name? And announce it so that it is very clear that you include homosexuals when you refer to "human beings," and announce it so that the world hears you, really hears you, so that your announcement makes the news, as you are capable of doing when it suits your purposes? Won't you make this your purpose too? And if you won't, if you won't take responsibility for the consequences of your militant promotion of discrimination, won't you excuse me if I think you are not a friend at all but rather a homicidal liar whose claim to spiritual and moral leadership is fatally compromised, is worth nothing more than...well, worth nothing more than the disgusting, opportunistic leadership of Trent Lott.
A lot of people worry these days about the death of civil discourse, and would say that I ought not call the Pope a homicidal liar, nor (to be ecumenical about it) the orthodox rabbinate homicidal liars, nor Trent Lott a disgusting opportunistic hatemonger. But I worry a lot less about the death of civil discourse than I worry about being killed if, visiting the wrong town with my boyfriend, we forget ourselves so much as to betray, at the wrong moment in front of the wrong people, that we love one another. I worry much more about the recent death of the Maine antidiscrimination bill, and about the death of the New York hate crimes bill, which will not pass because it includes sexual orientation. I worry more about the death of civil rights than civil discourse. I worry much more about the irreversible soul-deaths of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered children growing up deliberately, malevolently isolated by the likes of Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich than I worry about the death of civil discourse. I mourn Matthew Shepard's actual death, caused by the unimpeachably civil "we hate the sin, not the sinner" hypocrisy of the religious right, endorsed by the political right, much more than I mourn the lost chance to be civil with someone who does not consider me fully a citizen, nor fully human. I mourn that cruel death more than the chance to be civil with those who sit idly by while theocrats, bullies, panderers and hatemongers, and their crazed murderous children, destroy democracy and our civic life. Civic, not civil, discourse is what matters, and civic discourse mandates the assigning of blame.
Crooks and Liars reports that James Adkisson, the man who murdered two worshipers at a Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, TN this past July was sentenced to life in prison without a possibility of parole. Adkisson was allowed to release "a manifesto" (the linked C&L post has a link to the .pdf document), which reads in part:
Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country & these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them....
This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn't get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It's the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence."
I thought I'd do something good for this Country Kill Democrats til the cops kill me....Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I'd like to encourage other like minded people to do what I've done. If life aint worth living anymore don't just kill yourself. do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.
Like Tony Kushner, I have long refused to see little moral difference between a psychopath like Adkisson, who sees himself a besieged true American whose entire way of life is threatened by Democrats, and those who enable such behavior (isn't it interesting that Adkisson notes "mainstream" media critic Bernard Goldberg, whose book on the one hundred most dangerous people apparently created a wish-list for his murderous fantasies? Will be still be asked to give his opinion on FOXNews?) I go further, however, and see little difference, morally, between Adkisson, who at least had the balls to act on his beliefs, and the fellow who wrote this:
There are simply too many things going on with Barack Hussein Obama, I can't focus on just one of them. Any one of his decisions have the potential for driving the United States of America over the cliff to our doom. And amazingly, he has accomplished this much in less than two weeks!
At this rate we will have a full blown Marxist dictatorship inside of two years.
I don't know what to comment on first.
I fear we are witnessing the final death throes of the United States of America.
Obama is intent on change, alright. He wants to change this country from the United States of America to the United Soviet States of America.
From his first day, every thing he has done is a disaster in the making. From signing the order to close GITMO, suspending trials for the terrorists, cutting our military budget by 10% (that's just the beginning of the dismantling of the military, mark my words), threatening to abolish free speech, to the capping of Wall Street executive's salaries.
What gives Obama the right to dictate (key word)how much executives can make? What gives him the right to limit how much any one can make? Today it's the Wall street executives. Tomorrow it may be you. That's Marxism at it's worst!
Can't the American people see what he's doing?
He has the power and he has the political backing of the other Marxists in the two houses of Congress, and if he stays in office long enough, and has the opportunity, he will pack the Supreme Court with Marxist judges.
He is taking us further into Socialism with every executive order, with every pronouncement, and with every concession he makes to the enemies of our country. And I include on that list enemies of America who call themselves Americans while actively trying to undermine America's security and freedoms.
What has to happen for Americans to rise up and throw this Marxist bum out on his ear? Does he have to declare himself "Dictator for Life" before the American people wake up and see what he's doing?
So. What can we do? We need to clean house, that much is certain. But, how do we do it?
I don't have anywhere enough of a readership to accomplish anything. I feel as if I'm talking to a wall. I have no power to lead a grassroots movement against this traitorous government.
But we need to act. Now. We need to let our voices be heard. Now. We need to throw these bums out, and the sooner, the better. Perhaps, if we move quickly enough, we can salvage what's left of our liberty.
Make no mistake. Obama is systematically destroying our country. And he's not even being subtle. He is blatantly dismantling the Constitution before our very eyes and we seem to be powerless to stop him.
We can write our Representatives in Congress. We can jam the Congressional switchboards with our calls. We can take to the streets and shout our frustration to the world. But the problem with that is this:
The media are in the tank for Obama, and our protests will not be heard. The Democrats in Congress are backing Obama, and will back him all the way to our death, and most of the Republican Representatives are spineless. They will sit back, watch, and complain.
Which is, by the way, the only thing we ordinary freedom loving Americans can do.
God help us all.
While I usually say that I keep reading and posting there to laugh at their absurd pose of some kind of combination of political realism, erudition, and staunch refusal in the age of "Yes we can!", in fact I keep up with them because, to me, the only difference between Mark, Marshall, al Ozarka, and Eric on the one hand and James Adkisson on the other is Adkisson was intelligent enough - from his little manifesto, he is clearly far more articulate than the entire American Descent crew combined - to figure out how to load a gun, point it at a human being, and pull the trigger. Also, he wasn't a rank coward, hiding behind a screen name, tossing out meaningless insults and fact-free punditry on the death of America at the hands of the commie-Muslim-fascist Barack Hussein Obama. They are no different. Their minds operate on the same level.
While we can rest a little easier because James Adkisson will discover how much folks in prison love a guy like him, I do fear that there are many, many others out there who preach the same hate-filled dreck. One or two of them might just develop the testicular fortitude to act on it. That should keep us all up nights.