Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TN Takes Spotlight in Plot to Assassinate Obama

I'm still learning and reading about the two men who were arrested and charged with federal crimes, including a plot to attack and kill schoolchildren and a plot to attack and kill presidential candidate Obama. While the allegations of the plot might seem too weird and half-crazed to ever succeed, these two gun-toting men wanted to shoot and decapitate fellow Americans, even children, expecting to die in the process of an act that qualifies as terrorism.

Oddly, only a few months ago, a lone gunman, deranged on hate, targeted children and "liberal Democrats" in the heart of Knoxville at the shooting at the Unitarian Universalist Church. Murderous rage fed by the constant barrage of talk radio's hateful accusations against our own countrymen, our neighbors and their children are the actions of the mentally unhinged, of course. Sad to see that Tennessee is the place where such events unfold.

The Tennessee Republican party issued an odd statement yesterday afternoon, saying they are victims of hate too, which prompted Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly blog to write:

There's an odd tendency in some far-right circles for conservatives to feel like they're victims of some kind of persecution. The problem with this bizarre complex, though, is that a) it's absurd; and b) it leads to ridiculous comparisons like this one from the Tennessee Republican Party. The statement seems to argue, "Sure, white supremacists planned a killing spree, but everyone should feel sorry for us because we've been targeted, too."

The Tennessee GOP really sees a parallel between a crude piece of art, random vandalism, and a plot to kill more than a hundred children and a presidential candidate. In Robin Smith's eyes, there's some kind of equivalency between the three. This is pure madness.

This is, of course, the same Tennessee Republican Party that's been so extreme in its vile attacks against Obama that McCain and GOP lawmakers felt the need to condemn them.

We'll see if there's any pushback against Robin Smith's breathtaking press release."

Other observations I have made in the last year are likewise disturbing. As Senator Obama rose to prominence, I began to encounter many who I have long-considered friends, repeating much of the pure lies and vile hatred circulating in email lists and weird web-sites, which stand as blatant racist attacks. In recent weeks, I have overheard and been part of conversations where this madness seems to have taken deep root. It's sad to see how many have been prone to listen and to believe the nonsense, though it has surely been instructive to me, revealing much fear and loathing for non-white residents of the U.S. It's always been there, it's just more visible these days.

But that's a sad revelation. As Newscoma writes in West TN, just a few miles from Bells, TN, "Hate is a scary thing."

It is of little surprise that the Senator decided not to campaign in Tennessee. I wouldn't be surprised to learn he may have even been warned the risks of attack were to high here and not to visit at all.

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