Monday, April 19, 2010

Moving forward with an eye to the past

Those who would commit mass murder on American soil don't all live in faraway failed states. Sometimes they are closer than we want to believe.

Fifteen years ago today, Timothy McVeigh -- born in upstate New York and decorated with a Bronze Star for his actions in the US Army during the Gulf War -- killed 168 people and wounded more than 600 when he exploded a truck outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001.

America's political atmosphere today is increasingly hostile. The Secret Service is fielding threats like never before, and in February Andrew Joseph Stack flew his single-engine plane into an IRS office building in Texas, killing himself and one federal employee. Conservative talk radio and Fox News bear some of the responsibility for this explosion in anger across the country. They've gone too far and this is the result.

When I see people on TV saying, "I want my country back," I want to tell them to look down at the ground. It's still there. Barack Obama -- unlike George W. Bush in 2000 -- was elected by an undisputed majority of electoral and popular votes. I wish that Obama was as radical a president as those on the right complain that he is. He is a pragmatic incremental moderate and closer to the previous administration on a number of national security, presidential powers and privacy issues than I imagined. He is not a socialist or a fascist -- and most of the people I see using those terms have no idea what they mean. He is, however, the legally elected chief executive of this country.

So, let's have a spirited debate on issues -- one with facts and opinions, but without hysterics and violence.

AP photo via Boston.com

4 comments:

dylan said...

Blaming "conservatives" for Oklahoma City, or hinting that conservatives would be responsible for future acts of anti-government terrorism, is a bit like blaming "liberals" for the 60 deaths in the Los Angeles Feuernacht of 1992, or for the 2,000-plus murders that occurred during a particularly bad year of the Dinkins mayoralty in New York City.

Jim said...

"Conservative talk radio and Fox News bear some of the responsibility for this explosion in anger across the country."

Would you characterize this statement as totally untrue?

dylan said...

I would characterize it as fractionally true.

N.starluna said...

Could you translate "Feuernacht" for those of us who only speak English and Spanish?