It Wasn’t That Long Ago

Set aside your beliefs about health care for a moment.

Friends, things are getting out of hand with respect to respect for the President. Things are getting out of hand with respect to the things people are saying about Barack Obama. Things are getting out of hand with respect to their actions.

I have written about this before, now and then, and I write about it again today because I am genuinely concerned. And, as a pastor who believes in peace and nonviolence, as Jesus did, I am imploring everyone to do anything in their power to change the situation.

First, it was the presidential campaign and the outrageous claims that Barack Obama was a foreigner and a Muslim.

Remember that?
Remember how talk show hosts on the right wing fanned those flames?
Remember how Hillary Clinton did too? (when she answered the question “Is Barack Obama a Muslim?” with “Not that I know of.”)
Remember how, as the presidential campaign went further into the Fall, the “Town Hall” the McCain/Palin campaign fanned the flames of such paranoia and hate? Remember how it boiled over outside town halls?

Here’s a reminder, a short clip of the scene outside a McCain/Palin townhall in Denver Colorado last Fall:

Note the little girl, probably very near my own daughter’s age, who pantomimes monkey gestures, in clear reference to an Obama cut-out that someone off camera is holding. She later walks by the cutout, saying “Look…the monkey from Tarzan!”
What kind of parent allows that?!

Watch how another man punches the cut out. Watch how others scream: “Communist!” “Terrorist!” “Where’s his turban?” and “He’s got a rag on his head!” and finally “God may not be on my side, but Satan is on your side.”

Maybe you didn’t see this video when if first came out.

But, friends, it wasn’t that long ago.

Remember when finally John McCain had the courage to stand up at one of these meetings and say “no more?”
Here is the video of McCain showing real courage:

Friends, it wasn’t that long ago.

Then, it was how people didn’t believe that Obama was an American.

Remember that?
Remember how right wing talk shows again fanned the flames, including nationally syndicated shows, like Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck?
Remember how members of congress, even when shown copies of his legitimate birth certificate, would not admit on national television that he was a citizen?

It culminated just a little more than two weeks ago, when Republican members of congress were attacked by angry constituents, waving their own birth certificates and claiming Obama was not a citizen. Here’s the video, in case you’ve forgotten:

It wasn’t that long ago.

Then, it was the lie that Obama wants to kill old people. This was coupled, of course, by outright vitriolic and rude reactions in town hall after town hall meeting. Watch Sean Hannity gleefully “go to the tape” to show the reaction against health care at one town hall:

Note how, nowhere does he reject the rude, angry, heckling behavior. Even if he opposes health care reform, one would expect him to reject that kind of behavior.

It wasn’t that long ago.

Now? Yesterday? In the wake of all this vitriol spewed at Obama *personally,* we read that no less that TWELVE armed citizens brought guns to a town hall meeting featuring the President yesterday.

Watch footage from Chris Matthews interviewing a Rep. Gringrey (Rep) about why folks are bringing their guns:

A few observations:

1) These folks are wearing their guns (and even semi-automatic weapons) openly. They are TRYING to be provocative, and TRYING to make a statement. I know and respect gun owners greatly. And I know that many of the gun owners I know would be horrified to see these men waving their firearms around in public.

2) Matthew’s question is salient: Why bring a firearm to a town hall with the President? You’re not going to be able to bring it in. I can tell you from watching presidential motorcades in previous times, the President is the most heavily guarded human on the planet. HE doesn’t need the protection. Why do it?

When you string all the previous together, the only reason I can see is that somebody is attempting to provoke the lunatic fringe. Talk Radio, certain elected officials, and many other silent co-conspirators, are attempting to speak code to the lunatic fringe. They are secretly hopeful that somebody WILL use their gun, and WILL kill President Obama.

Don’t believe me? Remember this from Fox News some months back:

Again, notice how the host does not immediately challenge Liz Trotta for saying this highly offensive joke. (Full disclosure: she did later apologize. on air…)

Remember that?

It wasn’t that long ago.

Don’t believe me? Might you believe Frank Schaeffer? He is the son of one of America’s most prominent fundamentalist ministers. He absolutely believes that all of this mounts up to a “coded message.” Take a look:

Why am I bringing this up?

Because if there IS a “coded message” here, the only way to speak against it is to speak up loudly and forcefully against it. Because I’ve been saying this over and over again.

Because some of us remember John Kennedy. Members of the church I serve remember the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination and how the pastor of Northaven at the time, Bill Holmes, preached a sermon decrying the culture that pervaded Dallas at the time. He cited tangible examples of how Dallas had become an intolerant place and suggested that, while Dallas didn’t “kill Kennedy,” the culpability for that intolerant society did rest on all who lived here then.

For this, he got death threats and had to go into hiding. No kidding.

BTW, sort of proves the point of his “Dallas in an intolerant city” claim, doncha think?

Some folks I see regularly remember that time. And they see eerie and frightening parallels to what’s happening around America right now. Step back from the past year, and ask yourself where this is all going. Where, if not directly to an assassination attempt, or militant uprising, does anybody think this is going?

Enough is enough.

Once again, as I have before, I call on all persons to stop the hate-mongering. If somebody brings a side arm to a Presidential rally, denounce it. If somebody calls the President a Nazi, a Socialist, a Muslim, a Foreigner, a Monkey, denounce it. If somebody lies about the facts of a policy decision (such as the lie about “Death Panels”) denounce it. If somebody refuses to stop telling those lies on national media: boycott them. If somebody seems to condone violence against the President, or behaviors that could lead others to take up violence, reject them.

Because this is getting out of hand. Seriously.

And some of us remember that in another time when conservatives could not control their lunatic fringe, a lone crazy –acting on his own, but living in the stew of cultural venom that pervaded this city as the time– killed an American president right here in our city.

It wasn’t that long ago.

(As always, if you like this post, then “like it”  or “share it” on Facebook by clicking the box below, or send it to your friends…so others can see too…and leave a comment…EF)  

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

29 thoughts on “It Wasn’t That Long Ago

  1. Thank you, Eric. This is a sane, understandable, and pertinent statement. I'll send it around. It is time to be an American and stand up for the democracy that put this administration in place and will possibly put another in place in less than four years. Hate and inflammatory public response erode the intelligent discourse that democracy should be guided by.

  2. It is my belief that the Republican party is behind most of the protests and vitriol aimed at Obama. The policies he is putting in place are working as intended, and the Republican party is in panic mode trying to figure out how they are going to regain a majority in Washington. I would be willing to bet that Karl Rove is sitting somewhere making up all kinds of malicious slander intended to discredit our President. He is truly a master of knowing how to spin lies repeatedly until the public believes it is truth. Keep in mind that the Republican party is also responsible for, and in support of, America's Pro-Life terrorist movement.I don't think the Democratic party is without its problems and bad apples as well, but given a choice, the Democrats are without question the lesser of two evils to have in control of our country.

  3. Well said, Eric!We need more folks (in pulpits, hosting TV shows, and in front of Congress) to stand up to this lunacy. We need the news media to report it as fringe craziness rather than showing it as one perspective of "both sides" of a rational debate.

  4. I have three comments:1. Message to Christians: Conquer thyself2. Check out the official report on health care wait lists in Canada: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/commerce.web/product_files/WaitingYourTurn2008.pdf3. Eric, you may think you are standing for what is right—but by showing these clips you are “striking” the people whose views you oppose and are giving the fringe element on the right more weight than they deserve. Your post inflames instead of preaching your purposed message of pacifism.Patty Collins

  5. Eric, This topic on hate talk is very important.Please pardon my intrusion, taking it back momentarily, to health insurance reform.It is a time sensitive comment, so—I think many of your friends may want to know that people in the faith community will have their chance to urge President Obama not to weaken on his stand for a public health option.Folks can join him in conversation on a live teleconference (2 pm tomorrow, Seattle or Los Angeles time—5 pm on the East Coast). 4 pm in Dallas. Just grab your phone or go online with your computer. Sign up at http://www.FaithForHealth.org/I just wrote this note to President Obama: William Greider said yesterday in the Nation, “After his brilliant beginning, the president suddenly looks weak and unreliable”, talking about your “ abrupt retreat on substantive health care reform”. Today Bob Herbert (NYT) writes, “The hope of a government-run insurance option is all but gone.” Please say it isn’t so! I have spent day and night going to the mat for our citizens on this important issue. Our California Senators are now saying “Yes” on the public option. My Congressman Adam Schiff is now saying “Yes”. How can we help you win this issue you have so often said is so the best way to go? Maybe he will answer me tomorrow. http://www.FaithForHealth.org/Don Thomas MD, Pasadena, CA

  6. Hi Eric, I agree with you as far as the level of bile. When people can learn that two folks of good character, good morals and good intentions can have diametrically opposed views on a subject and still be …. two folks of good character, good morals and good intentions, we will have come a long way.I found it interesting and instructive to listen to the words of your congregants as they talked of Dallas in the 50's-60's as "a city of intolerance." I don't discount that. I find it telling that the city in my country in which I sense the most intolerance now is my nation's capital.We have moved to the point that you are well spoken, in full command the facts and, frankly, are brilliant, because you AGREE with me. If you disagree with me, you are the village idiot's stupid brother (or sister-let's not be sexist). Perhaps the most telling sign of arrogance is the condescendingly smiling 'you-just-don't-understand/'get-it' response. The arrogance of such bipolar political hype shuts down thoughtful debate on every issue. It also masks a deeper insecurity – an inability to engage in real discussion because the understanding is so shallow.The 'hate speech' you cited is real – it is also one sided . Do you really believe the danger is from one direction? Just look at the 2nd comment – change the name of the party and the word "life" to "choice" and you will see what I mean. The health care debate has become so polarized that it is comical. Can we agree that a belief in a government run program does not make one a Stalinist or Maoist? Can we also agree that favoring a privately managed program does not make one a heartless Gordon Gekko?Step back from the media caricatures and sound bites and engage in conversation. Make the leap of faith that people may actually be working and acting in good faith with good intentions. Understand that they may disagree with you completely and you still can get along. Some humility with your family and friends can be a powerfully attractive force, especially since the Spirit seems to work more easily that way.I pray for our President and his team to be safe. I hope they will also use this opportunity to move beyond demonization to serious discussion. Let's presume good intentions and go from there.Peace and grace,Don Wiley

  7. I think the news media has a big dirty hand in this. Hate generates ratings, just look at most the TV offering, Even the best dramas are dark and play on anger, hatred and fear. But we have to take responsibilty too. We need to give peace a little power with love, encougement, and help while maintaining an unwavering path toward truth.

  8. [sigh] Nice move, dr, don. Let's play the 'faith'/'inclusive'/'good person' card for all who agree on a particular point and the 'faithless'/racist/heartless card on those who happen to disagree – though their track records speak differently….I appreciate the illustration.

  9. I see this anti-Obama sentiment at work all the time albeit "look both ways" before you say it. It comes down to not only right wing Americans seeing their political influence subside, but also seeing their numbers deminish as minorities are the "majority" in having new births. This scares them into a "Planet of the Apes" mindset that makes them act like a caged animal who's cornered. With the reactions of Britain's conservatives who are critics of their health system, but not abandoners, seeing the US right wing exploit them through lies, I say….give them all the rope they want…eventually they will hang themselves with all the vitriol and hatred. God's speed and care to those protecting the President and others attempting to better our nation.I also find it very hypocritcal that these same people that don't want "socialized" medicine, insist on being the "single payers" of the current socialized or free medical care in this country. They are the property tax payers that fund the county hospitals. Seems to me that they'd want everyone to participate in this cost…

  10. Thanks for the opportunity and the forum for the illustrations:A)Comment 2 "Karl Rove is sitting somewhere making up all kinds of malicious slander intended to discredit our President. He is truly a master of knowing how to spin lies repeatedly until the public believes it is truth. Keep in mind that the Republican party is also responsible for, and in support of, America's Pro-Life terrorist movement."B) "right wing Americans seeing their political influence subside, but also seeing their numbers deminish as minorities are the "majority" in having new births. This scares them into a "Planet of the Apes" mindset that makes them act like a caged animal who's cornered. With the reactions of Britain's conservatives who are critics of their health system, but not abandoners, seeing the US right wing exploit them through lies, I say….give them all the rope they want…eventually they will hang themselves with all the vitriol and hatred"Planet of The Apes?? _Their_ vitriol and hate????? Republican pro-life terrorists??? After watching the hate speech directed at former President Bush, I find it interesting that none of your other writers have mentioned MSNBC.Face it, you're calling it "hate speech" from the right and waxing rhapsodic about the "passionate advocacy" (gosh, I like that phrase) from the left. Don't be fey – just be honest and say you want everyone who disagrees with you to shut up. Now, if we could just get a PC rider attached to the First Amendment…..

  11. Very interesting read. The most interesting part was that you did not start by stating this lack of respect started with the hatred and disrespect shown toward our President, George W. Bush. Remember the all the "celebrity" types who used their stage (where they were supposed to entertain with music or comedy or such), who used that forum to "down" President Bush. Opinions are okay; disrespect reprehensible. Remember Madonna on stage who shouted something to the effect of "Sarah F****ing Palin?" Remember the Sarah Palin lookalike hanging from a noose right before election time? Remember the talk show "The View" falling all over themselves with adoration when Obama visited their set? Do you remember watching how they treated McCain afterwards? Barbara Walters lost my respect that moment. John McCain appeared to me to be one of the most respectable, humble, fair persons. It saddened me when I didn't see him treated with the same fairness. Again, political opinions are one thing; complete and utter disrepect, another. I've watched this start during the term of President George W. Bush and was horrified when no one spoke out then. I appreciate your bringing up the subject now, but think about the last 8 years. Didn't it bother you as much then?

  12. P.S. How 'bout researching and finding some of the videos I referred to that were not really talked about in most media? IE Sarah Palin in noose, The View's interviews, Madonna in concert, the list goes on. Let's present both sides and then maybe all of society will decide enough is enough. On both sides.

  13. Hey Anonymous(both of you last two): You don't know a lot about me and my history if you believe I stood idly by and allowed George W Bush to be unfairly attacked. I won't go into it here but, sufficed to say I defended him quite a bit against unfair personal vitriol and attack. Anybody who knows me personally knows the very good reasons as to why….which I will not go into here, except to say: it's clear you have no idea what you're talking about with respect to my own personal opinions and history and who I have or have not defended in the past.As for "when this all started" I am pretty sure a whole lot of folks on the other side of the aisle will remind you of the things said about President and Hillary Clinton, far before the Whitewater scandal ever made headlines. I will not choose to go back over that history. Because, frankly, although this started a long time before GWB, "when it started" is completely beyond the point.So, you're point is: "THEY did it first!!"?What do parents say when children say that?They say, "I don't CARE who started it…you both just STOP!!"This kind of stuff *has* been going back and forth for a long time, and it doesn't matter who started it. What matters is: will people on the conservative side have the courage of people like John McCain and say "Enough!" when it gets out of hand?I happen to personally believe that what's happening now is of an entirely different scale than anything that's come before. You can disagre with that, and this is fine. That's our first amendment right at work…Despite any examples you can name from the Bush presidency, I happen to find what's happening now different, because of the *reaction* it seems to be creating among a great many people.Madonna can say offensive things on stage, and nobody's going to die because of it. No roaming band of her teenaged fans, dressed in black and chewing gum, ever showed up at a Bush rally carrying guns. Never happened. Not once.To compare her use of profanity onstage with a major network stirring the pot of armed insurrection shows how far divorced you are from the reality of these situations. These are not the same.Despite the fact that somebody hung Sarah Palin in effigy (something I find horrifying…) no opponent of her's ever showed up at one of her rallies packing a semi-automatic weapons. Not once. Never happened.So, Anonymous (both of you) I have made it clear that I often spoke against hate speech directed at President Bush. I often rejected personal attacks against him and his family.Can you both reject what's being said about Obama? Will you reject his being called a "Nazi?" Will you reject people showing up at rallies with guns and signs about "watering the tree of liberty?" Will you do that?Because these people on the fringe (and I'm not at all assuming either one of you are one of them) will not listen to folks from the left, calling them out.It will only be when folks on the right have the courage of John McCain that such organized hate against the sitting President will stop fomenting to the point that myself and others genuinely fear for his life.

  14. Please don't misunderstand my points. (and by the way, I'm "both of them) No, my point was not to say "they started it first". I do stand guilty as accused as far as I do not know you nor do I know if you defended GWB in the past. Good for you if you stood up for the some of the hatred in the past! And to answer your question: YES! I do reject people showing up with guns (it horrifies me!) My family are all LAW ABIDING gun owners and hunters who rally for gun rights, but do not consider ourselves radicals or extremists. I DO reject any unfound statements made against Obama. At the same time, if concerns are raised, I hate to see fingers being pointed at those raising the concerns and those persons being accused of racism or hatred. I've been preaching it for years, to my children and those who surround me: RESPECT. I don't care what side started it, END IT (the nastiness). When you present a view, listen carefully and courteously to the other person's point of view. (and I do hope I did not come across as uncourteous in my earlier response to you). I'm on your side as far as the hate has to stop. The disagreements may not (and disagreements are normal), but the hate must. I do have a concern about Madonna or any one else saying these things, because who are most of these people influencing? The children who may not be fortunate enough to be raised in a God-loving, fair-minded home (and I fear there's too many children in that situation today). Is this kind of talk really doing any good for society? You seem to think it's on another level, but in my opinion, it's when we begin to allow these "small" (?) outbursts to continue that it blows up into something we didn't (but should have) seen coming. When seemingly "little" spouts of vulgar language and insinuations begin to seep into our lives on television and our children witness this from these "superstars" (scary, huh)and it seems okay because it's on TV and these people are "cool" it's very frustrating to me, the parent trying to raise the child to be respectful. The MTV award shows, or VMH shows (I don't watch them because of what they've become; but have read what kind of language and hatred has been popping up on them!!) When did this all begin!!! How can WE stop it!!! Please, I'm with you on this, but hate is hate! It sounds like politically we may be on different sides, but trust me; I fear, too.

  15. Thanks for clarifying, Anonymous. (And I did figure out, after I had posted, that you were the same person both times…)I agree that many of the gun owners I know would also be horrified by folks waving their guns around at these rallies. And, I don't know enough about the law, but it seems like this might actually violate some "concealed weapons" laws…or maybe those states don't have those…I have no idea….Either way, I know that many responsible gun owners, who take their firearms very seriously and carefully, are disturbed by this too.

  16. It's easy to turn up the heat, hate and hubris when there is no community. It's easy to be doctrinaire outside of relationship. I don't believe President Obama is in any more danger than President Bush or President Clinton were because of who he is or what he's done – I believe the alienation, intolerance and anger level in the culture has risen. One need only examine what is now considered acceptable violence, drug use and random or serial sexual promiscuity in 'PG' and 'PG-13' entertainment.Let's stop the violence by opening our eyes to the cultural climate which condones such hate by promoting the alienation of people. Be willing to forsake your arrogance in favor of humility and Christian submission.

  17. Don: I think you are absolutely correct in saying that the culture as a whole is far too permissive of speech and actions that dismiss others and their points of view….and that demonize political opponents into less-than-human.I'm assuming the "your arrogance" in the last sentence applies to all who can't understand the corrosive nature of violence of all kinds in our world.And we'll just have to agree to disagree as to the current dangers to President Obama. There is data to suggest that, in fact, he *is* in more danger, in that he has already received more documented death threats than President Bush ever received in his eight year tenure. In fact, the Secret Service tallied more threats before the *inauguration* than Bush ever got in eight years.In fact, the Secret Service says the death threats are up 400 percent over the tenure of GWB. Read about it here:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/5967942/Barack-Obama-faces-30-death-threats-a-day-stretching-US-Secret-Service.htmlThat seems like pretty factual data to suggest that the situation is different, but you are certainly free to disagree.Tell you what, if nothing happens to him in the next eight years, I'll take you out for coffee. God forbid, if something does happen, you can take me out for the same, if and when.

  18. To Don Wiley:Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the facts are that Pro-Life "Christians" are committing terrorist acts in our country by targeting doctors who perform abortions, which at this point in time are legal in our country. Pro-Choice people are not stalking and killing anyone to further their agenda, they are going about it in a more civilized, legal manner. Regardless of which side of the issue you are on, it is obvious the behaviour of the Pro-Life side is the more atrocious behaviour. Me, personally, I think abortions are a shame, and I would hope that very few are ever performed unless absolutely necessary. But I am not about to tell some woman what she can or can't do with her body and life. That should be her decision.I stand by my comment on Karl Rove, and there is not a human on Earth who can prove me wrong on that one. The man is bad for America, bad for planet Earth. Period. You seen to be distracted by the concept of one person hating on another because they disagree. I think the issues more prevalent here are truths versus lies, and what's good for our country and planet versus what is not good. The truth of any issue is what I care about. Don't tell me you're invading Iraq in order to liberate the people from an oppresive dictator when the truth is you want to get their oil flowing to our country. Don't make up more lies to support your story so others will go along with it. Don't suppress truth and fact in order to get what you want while doing harm to everyone and everything around you so you and your constituents can make more money. These are the kind of actions that generate hatred, and if one loves their country, then it seems only natural that they would hate anyone who behaved this way and did harm to that country. Certainly, lies did not originate with Bush and Cheney. Politicians have been lying to us for centuries. Those two and their administration just took it to whole new level of secrecy and corruption that has to be reversed, because it is wrong. People hate them because they were so wrong. So very wrong and bad for America and Earth. You can dismiss what I have to say as "opinion", but what I am saying is based upon truth and facts, not personal preferences or agendas.

  19. While I do agree that the rhetoric is getting out of hand and should be toned dowm, and I do think that the armed protesters are irresponsible, they are not illegal. There have been two incidents of armed protesters at town hall meetings. These occurred in New Hampshire and Arizona. 1) Automatic weapons have been illegal without special federal permit since 1934. No one was carrying automatic weapons at either meeting, they were carrying semi-automatics. Big difference. 2) Violating a concealed carry law means carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The weapons carried were carried openly so if a law was violated, it would have been an open carry law. Eleven states permit open carry of legal weapons without permit. These include Arizona and New Hampshire, the two states where the armed protesters appeared. The states allowing unlicensed open carry are:Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, New Hanpshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming. There are twelve more states that allow open carry with a license. There are seven states allowing concealed carry with a permit. In the remaining states, open carry is generally lawful, but the state may lack preemption or there may be other significant state or local restrictions.At either protest, no one was carrying an illegal weapon or carrying a weapon illegally. As I said, I agree the rhetoric needs to be toned down. In the future, please educate yourself before making irresponsible and inflammatory statements. Thank you

  20. Annonymous: I'm sorry you found my side musing, wondering about the legality of the openly carried weapons, to be "irresponsible and inflammatory."I did not intend it as either. It wasn't really my main point, and you'll note that it even appears in parenthesis. The *main* point of the blog, as you note, was to point out how irresponsible these actions are.I'm glad you agree that this is the main point, and that you further agree that the rhetoric is getting out of hand.

  21. I have slightly revised the point about the openly carried weaponry to:a) change it from "automatic" to "semiautomatic" weapon, andb) take out the insinuation that the way they carried them might be in violation of Arizona law. Hopefully, those changes can help clarify that these weren't the main points anyway.To those of you who may be reading this entry for the first time, welcome! Hope you'll leave a comment or two.

  22. on the money eric. i don't recognize what the far right has done to this country as legitimate. these are not the republicans i grew up with. and they all seem to have their own tv show. stand up and be heard. we've got to or our silence gives the fringe the support that they don't actually have.james lee stanley

  23. Good article.One thing that folks need to remember. As right-wing as the Republican Party appeared, it's losts a lot of reasonable and moderate Republicans lately. As it goes further and further to the right, the makeup becomes VERY narrow.

  24. Hi Anonymous-I appreciate the passion of your belief. You see abortion as "a shame" based on your reading of 'the facts' – yet, you are simply dismissing those who choose to follow scientific facts that show it to be the murder of a human being. If a person believes genocide is taking place, based on the numbers of abortion annually, how could you say "it is obvious the behaviour of the Pro-Life side is the more atrocious behaviour". I won't presume to guess what your opinion is of those who choose to believe those facts. I respect your right to believe and make your decision about when life begins – there is good science on both sides of the issue – but you are painting the entire pro-life movement as "terrorist" in the same way some folks paint all Islamic believers as terrorists. Both are examples of using a spray gun where a very fine-tipped brush is necessary. There are a very few persons who have pursued that course – the vast, overwhelming majority "are going about it in a more civilized, legal manner" – they disagree and vote for women and men who share their belief.As to Karl Rove – he did exactly what Rahm Emmanuel is currently doing – "not wasting a crisis". They are both wrong. And I believe we ARE wasting a great deal of time, energy, creative effort and genius on hate. It's time to stop it. The cowboy axiom is "There ain't no pull in a broke rope." Hate breaks the ties that bind us together as a community. Hate breaks the rope. If we are ever going to pull together as a nation, we need to give up the arrogance of hate and choose the humility of respect and love. That's my faith, anyway, and I'm gonna stick with it.

  25. A previous anonymous person wrote:>1) Automatic weapons have been illegal without >special federal permit since 1934. No one was >carrying automatic weapons at either meeting, >they were carrying semi-automatics. Big >difference. The only difference between a semi automatic weapon and an automatic weapon is a metal file, an internet connection (or military training), and a little time. Worst part of it is that you can't tell the difference from the outside.Kelly Smith — I'm only marked as anonymous because I didn't want to take the time to create yet another login to yet another website. I'm more than willing to tell anyone who I am.

  26. I believe we should all, left and right equally, stop the hate and slander vs. the other side. It's always more prevalent when there's a Democrat in office to hear the Republican voice negatively, just like we all heard the Democrat voice negatively against a Republican adminstration during the last presidential term. I find it funny that you "anonymous" (give us a name if you've got something so important to say) make inflamatory comments against the right wing right here in this statement against being a hater and an inflamatory person, just for the sake of making yourself feel better than another. [Referencing the above statement: "Keep in mind that the Republican party is also responsible for, and in support of, America's Pro-Life terrorist movement. I don't think the Democratic party is without its problems and bad apples as well, but given a choice, the Democrats are without question the lesser of two evils to have in control of our country."]I am a conservative Republican and am certainly NOT "responsible for, and in support of, America's Pro-Life terrorist movement." Nor are any of my friends and peers who believe in a more conservative government view than you. Here's my effort in stopping the slander by asking you kindly to stop this behavior, as asked by the author of the statement to which you are responding.Caryn Suehowicz

  27. Thank you for your article Eric ~I too fear for our President and the people around him.I fear in my heart that there are those out there somewhere who may have convinced themselves that a terrible violent act is the answer to *their* fears.I so appreciate having a Christian minister write about this issue and encourage those who lean to the right to tamp down the vitriol.I am not an organized religion type, but often use the WWJD mantra to make decisions. People of Faith ~ Christians, Muslims, Jewish & Buddhist ~ Never forget God is Love, Love is the bedrock of our best choices. Love, Faith, Empathy, Compassion & Understanding.I believe we can make it through this crisis if we all stick together.Peace & Blessings, GreetaSue Ahart

  28. Oh, by the way all, I am the daughter of a lifetime NRA member & legally posses a firearm myself. So ya can't call me a hippy, lefty, communist! So there!! Had to get my Levity Fix. GSA

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