By David Swanson
Imagine being so angry that you couldn’t find a job that you were able to decide, as a man in Tennessee just did, that the way to solve your problems was to attack liberals – the people who support (albeit ineffectively) workers’ rights, union rights, and fair trade, who oppose NAFTA, oppose tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, support investing in job creation at home rather than wars abroad, and want to tax corporations and the super-rich rather than small businesses and working people.
And imagine deciding that the way to attack the people who stand for everything that might help you is to go shoot up a bunch of men, women, and children. And then imagine telling those damn liberals: “You see, you were wrong at least about gun policies, because if angry desperate people who believe everything they hear on the radio weren’t allowed to get mad and go buy guns I never could have shot up your children’s play! And why are you showing a dumb play about poor kids, anyway? You never put on plays about people like me, potential billionaires down on their luck who’ve been threatened by Muslim terorists and mistreated by blacks and gays and women and liberals!”
And imagine the Associated Press report completely playing along with your delusion, and writing:
“Although individual Unitarian churches can vary dramatically in outlooks, most congregations retain a deep commitment to social justice, which has led many to embrace liberal stances on the ordination of women, civil rights and gay rights.”
What if labor rights had been mentioned?
And then imagine that the Knoxville News Sentinel gives your heros credit for deranging your mind and filling you up with bizarrely misdirected rage:
“Inside the house, officers found ‘Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder’ by radio talk show host Michael Savage, ‘Let Freedom Ring’ by talk show host Sean Hannity, and ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.”
And what if you were then given decades behind bars, without ever a word of thanks from your heros, to think about what in the world you might have been thinking? What would your advice end up being for others in the same sort of trouble you were in?
I like to think you’d eventually recommend selling your radio and television and spending some time talking to real people.
Speaking as a liberal who supports a sustainable full-employment economy with guaranteed education, income, and health care, I’m sorry that we have failed you and so many others so drastically, in fact failed so badly that you don’t even have the slightest idea who we are. I suspect that if you knew us you would find us to have goals you approve of but to be grotesquely and despicably timid, hesitant, and easily compromised in how we go about trying to accomplish anything. And you’d be right.
We’ll tell your story, for a week or so, both as an example of the effect of hatemongering propaganda and as an example of desperate economic stress and lack of community. But will we DO anything to improve those situations? I seriously doubt it. This is an election year, after all.