Lies and prevarications.

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.



  1. Kennedy: First Roman Catholic President. Obama: First African American President. I see a pattern. I just hope that is the end of the equivalence. Obama is the first black man to be criticized by the right for telling kids to stay in school and work hard to get good grades. What’s a brother got to do to get some credit from these guys?

    Too many Very Serious People want to paint the folks in the fever swamp as ignorant. Sorry, but that would be giving them a pass. They are racists. It is really that simple. These aren’t the people who wear sheets and burn crosses on people’s lawns. They are the people who stand quietly by. They know the perpeatrators of these vile deeds and are easily convinced that the family must have done something to deserve the cross burning.

  2. I have sometimes wondered if the reason Pres. Obama is taking on so much at once was because he thought he might not make it through his term. Then I tell myself No, no, no: There are good, basic, political-strategic, reasons for him to push hard up front, reasons which have nothing to do with a calculus regarding assassination.

    Nonetheless, when I see and hear those who are not merely bewildered and afraid that Things Aren’t What They Used to Be, but those who are angry and CERTAIN that Obama’s presidency is illegitimate, I fear for him and his family.

    Those who are only afraid are unlikely to try to hurt the Obamas, but those who think they’d be righting some wrong (and, in the process, turning themselves in ‘martyrs’) by getting rid of Pres. Obama are far more likely to go through the trouble of trying to kill him.

    Those who would save us: they’re the ones to fear.

  3. They can’t disown the crazies because the crazies are all they have left. The Republican Party no longer stands for anything other than racist, paranoid, murderous hatred. Any Republican who stands up to the nuts would no longer have a constituency.

  4. licensed to kill time

     /  September 6, 2009

    I’m glad you saw fit to post this on your blog. It seems to have struck both of us in the same way – that this outbreak of hatred and fear might very well end in an unspeakable act, one that I had the misfortune to live through as a young child.

    The Grand Pajandrum is right. This is about racism and making Obama the Other, illegitimate. As evidence, I give you something I ran across at a winger site the other day:

    ” posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 8:19:44 AM by null and void (We are now in day 210 of our national holiday from reality. – 0bama really isn’t one of US.)”

    (sorry, I don’t remember which site it was but this was the posters tagline.)

    They can’t say it much more plainly than that!

  5. Lise

     /  September 7, 2009

    Appearantly I thought that after President Obama came to office, the right-wing would see the sensibleness of what the left was saying, thank us for setting them straight, and ask us to teach them the words to Kumbaya.

    This has been a very interesting time. I try to imagine that folks on the right could feel as scared and powerless as I felt under Bush/Cheney. And I want to tell them, “No! We’re the good people! Don’t fear us! Work with us! Trust us!” Sigh.

    The shoe on the other foot. Most uncomfortable.

    And yes, they scare me, anger me, disgust me. I want Rush Limbaugh tried for sedition, if not treason.