It has been very revealing watching members of the Right deny the responsibility of their ideology for two tragic murders that have recently occurred which captured the attention of the Nation. First came the cold blooded slaughter of an abortionist, Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas followed up shortly by the brutal killing of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.
Dr. Tiller’s death is troubling because he had been the target of anti-abortionists’ rage before. The person charged with his murder had been known to stalk and even vandalize the clinic where Tiller worked in the days preceding his death. Several people in the clinic have gone on record saying they knew about Scott Roeder’s attempts at disrupting the operation of the clinic and notified the proper authorities yet nothing was done to apprehend Roeder which could have possibly prevented Dr. Tiller’s death. Such ineptness on the part of the federal bureaucracy does not mean that even more layers of government are necessary to protect the citizens but rather irresponsible civil servants need to be replaced with more diligent and efficient ones.
The death of Stephen Jones at the National Holocaust Museum at the hands of a white supremacist is a tragedy underscored by the fact his murderer had a long history, easily documented that could have possibly pointed to such a heinous crime being committed by his hand, age notwithstanding, yet he very easily walked down a metropolitan city street with a .22 caliber rifle and shot and killed an armed federal agent. The reason why I mention again both of these crimes is because of the contortions those on the right are taking to distance their ideology from these two men who claimed to hold that ideology near and dear to them.
Political pundits are taking great lengths to say that these murderers aren’t from the right at all but rather from the left of the political spectrum, despite the fact they, the perpetrators clearly identify with the Right. Punditry has managed to make actions a mark of political persuasion and not words. Pundits have told their admirers that death and killing are marks of the political left, terrorism is identified with Muslims and Islam. The Right claims any action that is noble and necessary to save America from its enemies upto and including wholesale slaughter and invasion of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan as virtuous, and therefore worthy of being called conservative.
This was the kind of meme advanced by Dick Cheney, more recently, and the entire Bush administration before which reduced all argument to ‘with us or against us’ sloganeering. In that small universe built by the likes of the triumphant Right there wasn’t anything that we did to those ‘against us’ that could be considered illegal or immoral behavior. The concept of “exceptionalism” had been developed to the point that meant even the boundaries of legality didn’t apply to our behavior, or we made every attempt to legalize illegal behavior in order to legitimize our unlawful actions. This flouting of the law for suspect political aims is a vicious circle we continue to go around when we obscure the motives of these latest criminals for their criminal behavior.
News accounts and political commentators have taken great pains to classify these murderers as lone gunmen who are completely separate and detached from the environment which they have enveloped themselves. By doing so they hope to further distance themselves from the effect their rhetoric has on the people who listen, subscribe and eventually act on it.
In our system of law as it pertains to capital crimes unless there is a conspiracy there is no guilt by association. Conversely there is also no innocence by association. Christian leaders and conservative citizens in general have jumped at the chance to label Mr. Roeder a vigilante, a monster and things far worse.
Regrettably this tactic is only applied to people from the right who spent an entire two terms of a right leaning Republican administration painting with the broadest of brushes entire groups of people based on the actions of individual(s). This has been a common practice of demagoguery; the politics of the many condensed into the actions of the lone individual. Cries, which were raised at the turn of the century, of bombing the institutions that are symbolic of political ideology have given way to the absolute negation of ideology and their import on an individual’s actions. Murderers on the right have suddenly appeared on our political and national landscape to kill their perceived foes because these killers were inherently defective and acting completely on their own. Conversely the last eights years of a Republican administration were spent literally trying to root out whole communities of conspirators who lurked in every corner of our country waiting for a chance to reap their collective death and destruction at the earliest possible moment on an unsuspecting public that need the invasive protection of a government bureaucracy, because of the actions of a few.
Finally the absence in many cases of condemnation from the people who claim allegiance with right leaning philosophy for the murderous tendencies of their co-ideologues is another characteristic of the sudden revisionism going on in Obama’s America. During the Bush years people were always challenged to condemn the acts of coreligionists or fellow party members whereas today’s America sees there is no need for condemnation because such doing so rarely accomplishes anything and not worth the time spent.
Condemning Roeder doesn’t add anything to the pro-life cause. Pro-abortionists are always quick to remind the Christians of Christ’s rule of not judging or condemning. Why add fuel to the fire by condemning Mr. Roeder, isn’t it just a matter of six of one and a half dozen of the other? Both Tiller and Roeder have One that will be their final judge and he is neither hot under the collar, biased or partial. Why don’t we leave all that to Him?
In many ways such ideas mirror the current glossing over done by the Obama administration vis-a-vis Bush Administration crimes. The motivation for such an attitude is clear; it absolves ideologues from the responsibility of their actions of the past or the future while still holding on, in their own minds at least, to a perceived higher moral ground. Gone are the litmus tests that were applied to every ethnicity before which required a strict adherence to the law on the part of every member of a political, ideological group or the utter abandonment and banishment of that group in the absence of a vociferous outcry and condemnation of any of its members, however tangential that connection may be.
Finally, there is the absence of a cry for governmental insertion in the settlement of accounts for anti-social behavior. Instead, the right has resume its position they so recklessly abandoned during the 911 era and want no government interference at all in protecting society. Instead of wanting the affairs of the country to be overseen by a white haired Bush, the right blames a black haired Obama, as if he were the trigger puller of these two most recent attacks on the national consciousness. The turnaround of the right on a dime as it were, is one more indication of the bankrupt philosophy it harbors. That no one from that side of the political spectrum can see the sudden hypocrisy of their positions is another indication of just how low they have sunk in abandoning principle. There is no indication that the Left is or will be any better; their actions to date have only enabled the right to the detriment of us all.