Polimom’s been growing concerned by the increased rhetoric and accompanying threats and comments being made by the left and right factions. It’s been going on for quite a while, but the divide between otherwise sane Americans appears to be extending far beyond ordinary partisanship, and I think we should be considering what this means. (I wrote on this at Polimom, Too this morning, also.)
In both cases, bloggers with large radical right audiences attacked someone on the left under an “anti-Americanism” banner. In the case of Jill Carroll, the most vicious of these was Debbie Schlussel, who lowered the bar to the nether-regions in her zeal to villify.
Nasty as that was, the rightwing blogosphere, for the most part, separated itself from her, and one blogger posted an article that has since stuck in my mind (here’s a snip, with my emphasis):
Do we now only care about American hostages if they are Republicans? Bush supporters? Supporter of Israel? Our Iraq policy? Do we cease caring if they support Palestinians? Sunni Muslims? Where are the boundaries?
Or should it be that we care about Americans because they are Americans – or better still, that we care about people of any nationality, race, or creed who have been abducted and threatened with death unjustly.
Debbie, if you can’t understand that basic bit of humanity, then you’re truly lost – and nothing any blogger says or does will make any difference.
An American hostage was freed. I rejoice in her freedom. I don’t ask her political views. Ted Kennedy and Michael Moore are every bit as American as Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln. I don’t have to agree with them to say that, should they be taken hostage, I would pray for their safety, and thank God upon their release.
It’s morality at so basic a level any child could grasp it…
So yes, I’ll apologize. I’m sorry I assumed you knew that the right to dissent is one of the most basic rights a citizen of a democracy has…and I’m really sorry you couldn’t wait one day to start tearing down Jill Carroll – one lousy day, to celebrate the freedom of an American captive.
Bloggers who write flaming, hostile rhetoric are a dime a dozen (on both the right and the left)… but owners of enormous, influential sites are somehow rallying and empowering people to make vicious personal attacks upon the other side; their “enemies”.
As much as I detest the flaming and spinning, I have a choice in what I read and where I then file it, mentally. So does everyone else…. so I have to conclude that when somebody like Michelle Malkin writes a hateful, paranoid rant, and people then make death threats against the target of Michelle’s ire, those people are insane. Likewise, folks who hate all things Bush, read an inflammatory spin on an Indymedia (or other hard-left) site, and then attack the right, are also out of their minds.
Somehow, we’re crossing the lines from disagreement, debate, and opinion into a much darker place, and I can only describe what I’m reading as hate. We aren’t just divided along some partisan metaphorical line any more; these folks appear to hate one another enough to want death and violence.
What is happening to America?
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Update: Don Surber has decided to take a stand.
Update II: Jon Swift writes a letter.