Sunday, May 10, 2009

Right-wing paranoia

I have received a curious comment on my April 20 post, "The right-wing malcontents are bashing Obama." It was written by a highly educated, articulate reader who occasionally visits and comments on my blog.

She wrote: "Just because [Obama] is coming after the Christians, veterans, pro-lifers, etc...doesn't mean the Jews are safe."

I expected disagreement, of course, with my view of President Obama's opponents. But what could have produced such an hysterical response to my criticism about the recent series of anti-Obama" tea parties." At those events, I had written, "paranoid Obama-bashers vented their spleen about taxes, soaring government spending for financial bailouts, and what they regard as government encroachment into their private lives"?

President Obama is a Christian, and his much-publicized search for a church to attend on Sundays suggests that he is an observant believer. I have seen no evidence that he is "coming after" his fellow Christians. And why would he do that?

Nor as a World War II veteran have I seen any evidence that he is about to do something awful to my fellow veterans. Indeed, as some one who has been frustrated by my rare dealings with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, I am impressed by President Obama's appointment of retired Gen. Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. A critic of the Bush Administration's Iraq war, he is a refreshing change from the incompetent political hacks who have headed the department in recent years.

But what really strikes me about my respondent's comment is her frightening claim that Obama's policies do not mean that "the Jews are safe." What does she mean? The only explanation that I can imagine for the provocative comment is her knowledge that I am a Jewish-American who has an intense interest in Israel.

Her point, I guess, is to warn me that Obama is will be less sympathetic to Israel than his predecessor. President George W. Bush's policies were indeed very favorable to the Jewish state. I believe that this was largely because of benign neglect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, rather than of any profound pro-Israel sentiment on Bush's part.

President Obama has demonstrated that he will take an aggressive stance to settle the Middle East conflict. Presumably, this would mean pressure on Israel to make concessions that could affect its security.

I had recognized that this might occur if Obama became President. Nevertheless, I voted enthusiastically for him, and I strongly admire what he has accomplished so far. Like many ardent Jewish-American partisans of the Israeli cause, I am not a single-issue voter.

While I am seriously concerned about Israeli security, I am also interested in other important issues--national security, health, education, and other matters dealing with foreign affairs.

So my respondent's warning that the Jews might not be "safe" because Obama is "coming after the Christians, veterans, pro-lifers, etc." makes no sense.

I resent the use of the term "pro-life" by those who want to ban abortion, and I support efforts to preserve a woman's right to have one. I thus do not worry that Obama is "coming after...the pro-lifers."

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Blogger Sylvia K said...

Great post, as always, Mort! Can't imagine what she is thinking or why, but I seem to feel, that way about a number of people these days. People that seem to be so bent on attempting to shred Obama's image. I'm very happy with what he is doing and trying to do and as I wrote in a post last week, the testosterone group has been replaced by the mellow doctrine and I can see improvements each day. No, not huge ones all at once, but it's still progress and I'll take that.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 7:21:00 PM  
Blogger Vagabonde said...

I read the comments by this lady and was also very surprised – surprised that a person with such feelings would also read your blog and not some very ultra-conservative blog instead. Living in the Deep South I hear the same type of comments by some very nice people but not well informed; people who only listen to and read what support their fears. I also find that in this country, people are much more fearful than in Europe, and senior citizens most of all. They may have gone through hard times here but not a war and deprivations like we went through in Europe and so, they are very afraid, and if they listen to Fox News with their paranoiac segments on Obama, they are scared witless.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 8:51:00 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

If you will forgive my 'earthy' reply to the woman who made such inane comments, I think she is a certified nut case. Ideology leads people to rant mindlessly. (Think of Cheney on his crusade to justify himself.)

As usual, political critics of that caliber don't make sense, don't have a clue about what is really going on, and just need to vent if their guy didn't win.

I would like to be as broad minded as Obama and calmly listen to all sides. I try, but fail. I do enjoy a well thought out argument if it differs from my beliefs. A good debate is healthy, but to try to answer such nonsense as that woman's is fruitless.

I am sure she is a ditto-head and proud of it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger Kay Dennison said...

I read that comment and gagged as I did when I read that blog on a previous occasion. I find it amazing that an ostensibly well-educated person can spout such tripe.

When Mark Twain said, "No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." he didn't specify a particular political party. I tend to think he is right.

Monday, May 11, 2009 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Friko said...

Let me say, how glad we are in Europe that the Bush era is over and Obama's era has begun. Already the signs of change are everywhere and fear of what America might do next is much less now than it was.

Might this lady be confusing Obama with the Nazis of the long-dead German Reich? Could she be referring to the poem by Pastor Niemoeller? :

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me -
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Monday, May 11, 2009 8:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Hattie said...

My feelings about Israel have changed much for the worse over the years. By your deeds and all that.
However, none of this imperils the Jews. That is just a silly idea. Madoff, now...

Monday, May 11, 2009 10:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anne Vavrik said...

In reference to your final paragraph, I prefer to use the term "anti-choice" rather than "pro-life" for that reason.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 9:22:00 AM  
Blogger joared said...

You've answered this "critic"(?) quite well.

I also believe the term "pro-life" was inappropriately commandeered.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 4:00:00 AM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Good article Mort. I find it much easier to be pro-choice these days. Some people I know (and love as they are family members) are anti-choice and it felt like I was lumped in with Josef Stalin and people who eat babies.

With respect to Israel, I feel much more confident that issues will be looked at rather than ignored over the next eight years.

Thursday, May 21, 2009 3:25:00 AM  
Blogger Ron Southern said...

I don't have much sympathy for your critical commenter, but I think I recognize what she's doing. She's scared, and scared people like to scare other people so that maybe suddenly everyone will agree with them. The professional republicans are mostly trying to scare us lately about the Guantanamo tourists who will be moving in next door to us, but I guess it wouldn't hurt their cause to get all individual groups to be afraid of everyone else.

Friday, May 22, 2009 2:10:00 PM  

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