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Hide and seek with the truth

April 6, 2010

The way this is going, I should add a ‘politics’ tab to my blog. But I’m not sure what this has more to do with, politics or simple truth-seeking.

So there is a Second Amendment March being organized for April 19th. And right off the bat, we can easily find how April 19th is associated with the Oklahoma City bombing. I spent some time studying the different responses from left and right to try to get a grasp of how it’s perceived on either side. Here is a sample of the kind of commentary that conservatives seem to be just walking into, like stepping on a rake.

Apparently, to the right, this ‘Tim McVeigh wannabes’ line is a joke, although Hannity fails to get the joke across to anyone else; it’s an in-joke, and the left takes it as a celebration of domestic terrorism. Likewise for the choice of date for this rally they’re having. April 19th. It also happens to be Patriots’ Day. But they leave us with these mixed messages, in-jokes, what have you, and then they get mad when the left ‘smears’ them or misinterprets it all, somehow.

Except that they are unclear. They have nothing to apologize for, they’ll say. But I’m left with this seeming dilemma, where either the right wing and these militia groups really don’t mean to associate themselves with domestic terrorism, but just make bad choices and have bad P.R.; or perhaps they do mean to associate themselves in this way, and the rest is plausible deniability. What do these militia types think about the Oklahoma City bombing, why not just distance themselves from it? How hard would that be?

Is this person for real? I’ve read this article a couple times now, trying to find the in-joke, the subtle signal that tells me no, this is merely ridiculous, it’s not for real. I can’t find it.

To really give anything other than the kneejerk answer to what McVeigh did, we have to establish what the ground rules are now. The ground rules, not of a peaceful democratic society, which we are not, despite our insistence to the contrary: but the ground rules of a resistance to a despotic government.

War has rules. Yes, war, as Rush Limbaugh commonly states, is about “killing people and breaking things”. But even the most agressive war has rules: rules about whom you kill, whom you target, what you do with innocents and noncombatants, what you do with prisoners of war. And the rules of any war are greatly shaped by the moral code of the combatants, and by their purpose for prosecuting such a war. It is not just “carte blanche” and anything goes.

It’s a discussion of whether McVeigh had the right idea, and in the end dismisses his act of terrorism merely for being too indiscriminate in its approach. Not that the whole killing people, breaking stuff is illegal or bad or anything. McVeigh should have been more precise.

I wonder what the last decade would have been like if Democrats and the left wing behaved as if losing the vote, the debate, the argument, was license to revolt. This is twice now, the bombing in 1995, and what we’re seeing now. There’s been no new act of domestic terrorism — yet. And in the Republicans we seem to have a political party that is interested in fostering this kind of hatred for their own political purposes. Sure, in time they got busted for not acting like they spoke but it’s coming around again. Use the hate, get people fired up, get back in office, screw around again. And these right wingers just seem to have no memory.

I will readily grant how the left seems to be in the same boat, fired up, used then discarded, until the next time. Is it any wonder how jaded I am of the Democratic party, even as I support them (because I have no choice)? I see the log in my eye, sure enough. Just not sure what to do about it.

Ah well. Long enough ramble for one day.

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