Friday, February 19, 2010

Insanity or rightwing terrorism? And what's the difference?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Joseph Stack’s final act, deliberately crashing his plane into an IRS building yesterday in Austin, Texas was, first of all, a human tragedy: Stack dove off the edge into homegrown terrorism, people were killed, and other people lost loved ones. But in cultural and political terms, the attack has been like a sudden lightning strike, creating lots of opinionated noise, and illuminating the nooks, crannies and hidey-holes from which a variety of rightwing nuts have scurried to voice support for Stack’s views — and even his murderous actions.

Facebook fan pages sprang up, calling Stack “a true American hero,” and even comparing dead IRS employees to British soldiers during the American Revolution. Rightwing extremists popped up across the internet, with one woman asserting that “if I were in that building when Joe struck it, I would have been honored to die for a good cause.” And just in case this blog post seems like some lefty blaming the right for everything, consider that the GOP’s new hero, Sen. Scott Brown, told FoxNews that Stack’s actions could be a sign of how frustrated voters are.

It remains to be seen whether or not the media will settle on the word “terrorism” to describe Stacks’ actions, or if the country will come to terms with how dangerously crazy some of the right’s anti-everything rhetoric has become. I’m not directly blaming Stack’s terrorist attack on FoxNews or the Tea Party crowd; but it’s no secret that overheated rhetoric, goofball conspiracy theories and exaggerated claims of “tyranny” and “oppression” can fire up the, um, less stable among us.

Remember last year when a federal report begun under the Bush administration was released, noting the rising danger of rightwing violence? Conservatives reacted by claiming the Obama White House was out to get them, and ratcheting up their rhetoric to evermore-heated levels. Don’t expect the right to engage in any self-reflection as a result of Stack’s attack, though; that would be playing right into the hands of the socialists who are out to enslave us all through their Kenyan dictator, right?

Just one more question: which country does Dick Cheney think we should invade as a response to this latest terrorist attack?

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