I was going to write today about the efforts of the American right to delegitimize the President of the United States of America — the use of flat-out falsehoods and scare tactics, specifically regarding the demand that he not address the children of our country, in order to create an atmosphere where people no longer feel they owe any loyalty to the man himself, or the system that brought him to the White House on a landslide.
I was going to talk about this lengthy quote from a recent Vanity Fair piece (as brought to my attention yesterday by commenter licensed to kill time on Balloon Juice ), and how terrified I am of the parallels between the atmosphere that surrounded President Kennedy as he headed down to Dallas, and that surrounding President Obama today:
“In that third year of the Kennedy presidency,” Manchester wrote, “a kind of fever lay over Dallas country. Mad things happened. Huge billboards screamed, ‘Impeach Earl Warren.’ Jewish stores were smeared with crude swastikas.…Radical Right polemics were distributed in public schools; Kennedy’s name was booed in classrooms; corporate junior executives were required to attend radical seminars.” A retired major general ran the American flag upside down, deriding it as “the Democrat flag.” A wanted poster with J.F.K.’s face on it was circulated, announcing “this man is Wanted” for—among other things—“turning the sovereignty of the US over to the Communist controlled United Nations” and appointing “anti-Christians … aliens and known Communists” to federal offices. And a full-page advertisement had appeared the day of the assassination in The Dallas Morning News accusing Kennedy of making a secret deal with the Communist Party; when it was shown to the president, he was appalled. He turned to Jacqueline, who was visibly upset, and said, “Oh, you know, we’re heading into nut country today.”
I was going to talk about the disgust — the revulsion — I feel toward the many politicians who would apparently rather accept the dangerous lies of their furtherest hinterlands (and the professional lobbyists and performance artists [no, you tell me: Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh - mentally unstable? Or performance artists? Or both?] who claim to represent “real America”), and ask everyone who can hear my furious typing to contact any Republicans who represent them in Washington or elsewhere and call on them to loudly reject the lying and incitement to violence that have come to represent “discourse” in our tired and aching land.
But I don’t have time. And I don’t have strength. I am exhausted with the anger, the fear, and the disgust. This is not democracy, this is not even common decency, and I cannot, for the life of me, understand how today’s elected Republicans can look themselves in the mirror in the morning.
Until this moment (to borrow the words of attorney Joseph Welch at the McCarthy hearings), I think I never really gauged the GOP’s cruelty or recklessness…. Have they no sense of decency? At long last, have they left no sense of decency?
Please, call your people. You are their bosses, and they are behaving abominably. And I fear lives lie in the balance.