Becoming the Enemy
The Peach does not like to sound paranoid. And we have always objected to the knee-jerk invocations of Hitler and Nazi-ism that are often trotted out on slight provocation by people of many political stripes to basically shut down discussion of an issue: You're opposed to building a public bike path in town? You must be a FASCIST. Want to protect a woman's right to safe, legal abortion? You're just like those NAZI EUGENICISTS! We're sure you see what we mean.
So we are as surprised as anyone to find ourselves sounding a warning bell. In the wake of an election won in large part through the demonization of gay people and liberals, there is some scary, distinctly eliminationist rhetoric emanating from the right that should give us all pause.
Here, Orcinus reports on Michael Savage's recent bare-knuckles attacks on liberals, in one case telling them to "crawl back in their holes" because "you're done." The language creates an unmistakable association between liberals and vermin that, well, we've all seen before -- to the vast, dehumanizing detriment of an entire people.
Okay, you say, Michael Savage is a wingnut freak. Who listens to him? You are right that he is a wingnut freak, but according to his Web site, 10,000,000 listeners tune in to hear him rant. So much as we'd like to just relegate him to the fringes of discourse, we really can't.
Next, this kind of language is making its way into other, less fringy media channels as well. Rush Limbaugh has announced that if there is any compromising to be done, it will be the Democrats who must do it -- in the Newspeak of the Republican party, compromise really just means capitulation by anyone who opposes their policies. And when Rush talks about "the enemy," you begin to see how he is not-so-subtly conflating liberal Democrats and the press with terrorists.
And for those who simply won't "compromise" in the new sense of the term, Mike Thompson of Human Events proposes what is really frighteningly starting to sound like a "final solution": expulsion of the troublesome liberals from the midst of decent, God-fearing, red-state Americans. We are not kidding. Mr. Thompson lays out his plan for forcibly expelling the likes of New York and Massachusetts from the United States, while using vicious language to denounce liberals:
For many decades, conservative citizens and like-minded political leaders (starting with President Calvin Coolidge) have been denigrated by the vilest of lies and characterizations from hordes of liberals who now won't even admit that they are liberals--because the word connotes such moral stink and political silliness. As a class, liberals no longer are merely the vigorous opponents of the Right; they are spiteful enemies of civilization's core decency and traditions . . . When they tire of showering conservative victims with ideological mud, liberals promote the only other subjects with which they feel conversationally comfortable: Obscenity and sexual perversion. It's as if the genes of liberals have rendered them immune to all forms of filth.This does not read like satire to us.
Clearly, there has been little official sanctioning or repetition of these extreme sentiments, but neither has there been a murmur of condemnation. The Peach still cannot quite envision where our great nation could take the leap from radio talkshow bloviations to actually rounding up liberals and arresting them. But then, we are sure the same has been true of millions of people who suddenly found themselves being branded as enemies of the state in various places and times in history. The Peach will be watching these developments closely.