BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
Not all terrorists are trained by Al Qaeda. This should not be a startling revelation, but somehow it is an epiphany for a lot of people when they stop to think about that statement.
Of all people, we in Oklahoma should know the truth about the existence of homegrown terrorists. We have experienced the awful results of distorted minds of the likes of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, whatever their intentions may have been.
Such minds do not develop in a vacuum. Their twisted view of their world did not come about without stimulation. Such are developed when strange and bizarre ideas fall upon fertile territory. Sometimes these ideas may not even seem bizarre to those doing the talking that conveys them.
Does Rush Limbaugh really mean to incite actions when he says he wants Barack Obama to fail, and when he makes inflammatory allegations? Do those who claim that Obama is a foreign Muslim conspirator, and enemy of our way of life, really mean to incite hate? Do those who say that Obama is a socialist, and that he is leading this country toward a communist dictatorship really mean to encourage violent acts?
There are those who provocatively claim that Obama is a “baby killer,” because he believes in a woman’s right to control her own body without government interference. Some are stocking up on guns now because they believe when told that Obama is going to abolish their second amendment rights. They think they might have to use the guns against confiscation efforts. The recent killer of three policemen in Pittsburgh was such a case.
There are now calls from the right to “prepare” for a “revolution” if our government continues its fiscal ways, interference with capitalism, and raising taxes on the wealthy. “Taxation without representation,” they say, trying to justify themselves. Talk show hosts use such terms. Even a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota is openly talking of a revolution in her public speeches.
Do they really mean these incendiary words? Well, they are handing out tea bags now symbolizing rebellion against taxation. Let us hope such free speech remains symbolic.
Let us recall from history that an anarchist killed President McKinley. A Confederate sympathizer conspired to kill President Lincoln, expecting to be a hero. President Garfield was shot by a deranged, disappointed office seeker. Lee Harvey Oswald’s motives are an enigma. He was a disappointed socialist, rejected in Russia. Hostile, full-page, right wing ads in the Dallas papers at the time of President Kennedy’s visit may have been a trigger. There is still uncertainty about conspirators. Do we dare tamper with such volatile minds?
Our history is replete with attempted assassinations of our presidents by deranged persons with peculiar ideas and “good” intentions. Unstable minds and personalities are fertile ground for divergent associates and leaders, extremist writings, and extremists in the media.
While some of us may fear for the President’s safety and security, and others fear disruption in our nation’s democratic processes, we must realize that threats are hatched around and amongst us. McVeigh had connections with right-wing militias and tax protesters.
The administrative excesses, assumption of powers, and trampling of constitutional rights by the last administration, fostered the concerns of many.
As Americans were plunged into the despair in the depths of the Great Depression, there were various movements of a serious nature advocating revolution. Certain of these were fascist in character, reflective or even connected to happenings in Germany and Italy. Others were socialistic or even communistic, with ideational ties to the reds of Russia.
There were soup lines in cities, Hoovervilles populated by Depression refugees, as per Woody Guthrie, and armed dispersal of veterans from their place on the Washington mall requesting redress on promised bonuses from their government. Striking union workers were clubbed in the streets by the local police under company orders, as well as beaten by hired goons.
Indeed, large segments of American citizens were poised to be led off into revolution until President Roosevelt took office and offered them hope within their system of government. Roosevelt averted potential revolutions.
This history suggests that we must not take lightly the intense hostility felt across America toward the bankers and financial speculators whom people see taking their jobs away, stealing their savings, and pirating their retirement accounts. The recent destructive rampages in London by protesters and anarchists is revealing of a wide hostility toward such capitalists and their political representatives. Gasoline at $4 a gallon, along with obscene profits, provoked anger at big oil. Somebody should be listening.
We must be cautious about the shrillness of our rhetoric as we debate our differences. We must be careful about the words we use. Certainly there are those out there at both poles who are susceptible to suggestion. There may be those who will take up what they are led to see as a “noble” cause, and act out the rhetoric they hear. Catastrophic events then follow.
We have some advice for our media hyperbole revolutionaries: Put a lid on it!
– Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer