Vail Valley Voices: Hate sets stage for violence
Vail, CO, Colorado
My God, there is a lot of hate in this country. An Islamic-convert extremist murders a U.S. soldier at an Army recruitment center. A pro-life extremist murders a doctor who, breaking no laws, performed abortions. A white-supremacist extremist opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.
Where does all this intense hatred come from? The key word in all the foregoing, of course, is “extremist.”
All these incidents were rooted in extreme ideologies, which is really nothing new. Hatred, intolerance and killing in the name of extreme religious ideologies is not new. Murdering someone you believe to be a murderer to prove that murder is wrong is convoluted but not new. Hatred and murder in the misguided name of patriotism or cultural/racial pride is not new.
But we are seeing an alarming number of ideological hate crimes in the U.S. of late, and I find that
There is so much anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-fill-in-the-blank sentiment that it is frankly surprising that we don’t have more of what we have seen the past few weeks.
There are elements of the lunatic fringe everywhere. And the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to his or her opinions.
But maybe it’s time we all look inward and examine how our speech and beliefs may fuel those radical elements that may take what we say and run with it in a direction we don’t intend.
When Bill O’Reilly relentlessly demonizes and harangues on an abortion doctor despite that doctor working within existing laws, he adds fuel to the fire of the pro-life extremists whether that is his intention or not.
When Rush Limbaugh insanely spews his anti-Obama vitriol, he, wittingly or not, makes the white supremacists feel they have a kindred spirit.
Whenever Jeremiah Wright (I refuse to honor him with “Reverend”) opens his mouth about anything, he divides a nation and stirs those with lunatic notions. One never knows quite where his madness will be directed next because he is more socially conservative than Dick Cheney yet a greater radical anarchist than anyone I have seen since the ’60s.
Those in the political middle can generally never be accused of inciting hatred. That is something on which only the extremists have a stronghold. And I’m sorry to say that, in my perception, it is more often than not the far right rather than the far left that commands hate rhetoric.
I don’t think I am being unfair here. In general, the liberal platform is one of tolerance, acceptance and inclusion, whereas the far right is pretty much just the opposite.
So it stands to reason that the violent extremists are more aligned with the right than the left. Surely the Holocaust Museum assailant and the pro-life doctor killer would not self-identify as liberals.
I consider myself to be an independent-Democrat, but my beliefs don’t follow party lines in the least. I’m frankly not an Obama fan, I don’t trust Nancy Pelosi, and if Barney Frank were in front of me, I’d kick him in the head for his corruption on the Financial Services Committee.
There are also quite a few Republican politicians I like and respect. But my acquaintances on the far sides seem never to make up their own minds or see any potential for the gray areas in life. With them, it is always Republicans good, Democrats bad or vice versa.
I seek out both sides of every issue, and I make my own decisions about issues and people because I have a brain and I pride myself on using it.
But mindless conservative slaves to Fox News who see only black and white and idiotic politically correct liberal whiners bore the brains out of me in equal measure.
If you don’t have the intelligence to listen to both sides and understand that more often than not the truth of every matter lies somewhere in the middle, then I don’t think much of what you have to say.
Those in the far right and those in the far left are extremists just as much as these crazies are who run around shooting up people who rub them the wrong way. They happen to be largely nonviolent, but they are extremists nonetheless, and while they are certainly not responsible for other people’s actions, their hate-filled words are fuel for and serve as a sort of twisted validation in the minds of the crazies.
I really believe that if the extreme rhetoric were to stop, a fair measure of the hate also would stop.
That is a bandwagon we should all want to jump on.
David Dillon is an Eagle resident.
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