How many times have I said that everyone has a right to free speech and to their own opinions, but there is a responsibility within exercising one’s first amendment rights–that they cannot use free speech to maliciously threaten or cause harm to others?I think more than enough times.And yet there are those who remain defiant–not of me but of that very principle (and in many ways, that legal standard).
I was highly outraged in reading last week’s Bronx Times article of a certain individual, Art Murphy, who came to the Throgs Neck section to spread hateful rhetoric about President Obama, an act which right wingers declared “unpatriotic” and “enemy combatant” during the era of former president George W. Bush; that even any kind of criticism aimed towards Bush and Company at the time, however peaceful it may be, resulted in false arrests and harassment of those protestors with bogus charges of disorderly conduct (indeed a double standard here).Murphy calls for the impeachment of Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.Yet, not one impeachable offense can be named.Why??BECAUSE THERE ARE NONE!
Yet, there tends to be a growing chorus of right wing punditry campaigning nothing but misrepresentations about the current administration.The article, well reported by Daniel Beekman,featured Murphy, representing Lyndon LaRouche who is referred to as a political crank from Hackensack, depicting Obama as genocidal and identical to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler with images of Obama painted with the Hitler moustache.The article also featured two different reactions–one from Neil Cohen and another from Sandi Lusk.
Cohen said he liked what he heard, that although he voted for Obama, he’s disturbed about the unemployment figures, to say the least and declared Obama to be doing “a horrible job” and calling him a Marxist.But Cohen also admitted that he gets his information from FOX News Station, particularly Glenn Beck.There’s where the problem lies–FOX Network has no interest whatsoever in presenting the truth; their reports and analysis on President Obama have been unreliable, slanderous, malicious, and without fact, the same way they distorted the truth about the previous administration, making Bush and company so righteous, the same way they declared Sarah Palin to be idealistic for the White House when she is not.FOX is anything but “fair and balanced” as they profess themselves to be.Putting it mildly–they are nothing but fairy tales when it comes to news and politics.Had Mr. Cohen surfed the channels and even the Internet more often, he, as many already have, would have realized and take notice that several other news networks, some who formerly cooperated with FOX, totally isolate themselves from the Conservative Network that now has a record of misrepresentations and misleading the public.Likewise, FOX is one of many conservative organizations responsible for instigating the hateful, violent, (and racist) rhetoric against Obama during the campaign, especially where Palin falsely associated Obama with terrorists which was followed by one of her supporters’ chanting “Kill him”.Mr. Cohen, like many who watch FOX Network, let himself be duped by this station.
Sandi Lusk, on the other hand, got it correct: “People are frustrated but to use Obama as a scapegoat is not only a disgrace, but it’s downright dangerous”.She also attributed the anti-Obama movement to the GOP pundits and an absolute ignorant mob mentality, especially when those same right wingers cannot accept the fact that we now have an African American in the White House and the idea that African Americans are capable of governing and leading this nation.Cohen himself recognized this factor.And Lusk said that it’s scary.She couldn’t be more correct.
Look, the fact remains that President Obama inherited–understand this: INHERITED–this nationwide mess from his predecessor which the right wing punditry spent eight years covering up and distorting the truth, something which the American People grew sick and tired of, which led to Obama huge landslide election victory.This mess was not going to go away at the snap of a finger and reciting the word “Abracadabra”.It certainly was (and still is) going to take a lot of time to recover.Obama himself said “things are likely to get worse before it gets better”.And the one major reason why progress has prolonged is because of the GOP’s in Congress (and their ally: former Democrat now Independent Senator Joe Lieberman) who forever commit obstructionism against any and every progressive initiative (which is proof there was never a 60 vote super majority for Democrats under this rank and file tactic), all for complying with Rush Limbaugh’s on-air statement “I want Obama to fail and as conservatives, it’s your job to make sure that he does”, fixing this idea that if they make Obama fail, that will enable them to regain control and power.Well, recent polls show Obama having a much higher rating than that of Congress, citing the GOP’s obstructionismfor Congress’ low approval rating.This shows that much of the America isn’t buying the GOP’s agenda and hence finds them to be that more untrustworthy.
Indeed I said we all have first amendment rights, but along that is a responsibility.I also said that everyone is entitled to their opinions but no one is entitled to their own facts.Having said that (and I know some of you reading this are going to blast me for saying the following, but I’m going to say it anyway): I am hereby calling for all the hateful, violent, and somewhat racist rhetoric aimed towards President Obama (as well as his administration and two Congressional leaders) to cease before somebody gets hurt.This has gotten way out of hand and is unnecessarily dividing this nation further.At the beginning of his presidency, I called for everyone to give Obama a chance.Unfortunately, there are those who chose not to and now we’re at utter chaos because of such defiance.In fact, to support his Bush’s actions & policies that brought us into this mess and to defy Obama’s actions and policies to clean it up and restore this great nation is totally insane and incomprehensible.We can all agree and disagree on issues however the idea is to keep it civil and within topic, and not resort to personal attacks. But there needs to be more cooperation and more support for our current president and not this constant petty obstructionism that we’ve been seeing.So I say again:enough with the hateful violent rhetoric before someone gets hurt or (heaven forbid) killed.
And that someone could either be progressive or conservative.It’s not worth it.
Michael S. Wilbekin
Bronx, NY 10473