Jon Voight Joins Chorus of Hate Rhetoric

www.casavaria.com | 15 November 2009

What did Jon Voight mean by suggesting that Pres. Obama is the first and only president in our history to shame “our beautiful White House”, alleging he plans a socialist takeover that would undermine the Constitution? In fact, Pres. Obama is significantly more centrist on a range of issues than were Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy or Franklin Roosevelt, in part because his political philosophy is more rooted in pragmatic efforts at social justice and democratic principle than in partisan wrangling or blind ideology. ...

Rep. Bachmann did not oppose the Bush administration’s illegal wiretapping of tens of millions of innocent Americans, or its establishing the fundamental apparatus of a police state, using terrorist atrocities as an excuse to limit Constitutional liberties, obstruct protest and punish dissent. She did not object when refugees fleeing New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and at the orders of federal authorities, were summarily rounded up and penned in at “camps” run by armed National Guard troops.

Ms. Bachmann and her ideological fellow travelers do not, in fact, oppose the aggressive exertion of government power in order to enforce partisan and even racist ideology, if we are to judge from their past reactions and the policies of the last administration. But they are willing to fabricate the most outlandish and dangerous lies, in order to sow fear and hatred to spur opposition to Pres. Obama.

Why? There is in their way of thinking a fundamental opposition to the Constitutional process. The radical Republican zealots of the Bachmann/Voight variety believe in expediency, not justice. They therefore view Constitutional due process not as a fundamental virtue of American democracy that protects the sacred inalienable rights of every individual, but as a risky gamble that a government serious about prosecutions and punishments can ill afford to let stand in the way of it’s arbitrary diktats.

This view is so entrenched in the ideology of the extremist right that they routinely attack any judge who follows the law in showing consideration for the rights of the accused, unless of course the accused is Rush Limbaugh, Tom DeLay or Dick Cheney. And the former administration actually went as far as to argue before the Supreme Court that the president could simply assume absolute power at any time, according to his own judgment. The persecution of dissenting media voices, anti-war activists and the entire ecological science consensus, has become so pervasive, we can now hear ultra-right-wing pundits declaring clean air provisions an “assault” on our children’s future and anyone who dares to speak the truth about Bush-era misdeeds an “enemy of the United States”.

But it is the combined stories of John Poindexter, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales and Tom DeLay, that can show us what the extremist right means by suggesting Obama is less than or more worrisome to those who are inclined to disagree with him than past presidents:

1. Poindexter, once convicted of crimes against the Constitution, was to run George W. Bush’s “Total Information Awareness” project, an illegal program to record, store and survey every bit of every electronic exchange of any kind within US borders; that project, even after it was cancelled by Congress, morphed into the NSA’s extrajudicial —i.e. unconstitutional— blanket warrantless wiretapping of tens of millions of ordinary Americans…

2. John Ashcroft, who happily signed on to the vastly expanded executive powers of the USA PATRIOT Act, regardless of whether such powers ran afoul of fundamental Constitutional constraints on government power, also won infamy for refusing to let the FBI investigate as a hate crime the murder of a young African American man, killed and hanged in the same place in the same manner as a lynching a century earlier…

3. Alberto Gonzales wrote the notorious “torture memos” justifying illegal acts of prisoner abuse and falsely assigning to the president powers explicitly denied him in written law; he then allegedly orchestrated a campaign of intimidation and retribution against federal prosecutors who refused to carry out trumped up political prosecutions designed to jail rivals to the Republican agenda…

4. Tom DeLay, known for manipulating voting procedures in the House of Representatives, including one case where a vote was left open for hours, lobbyists permitted to roam the floor fishing for votes, and at least one Republican Congressman alleges he was threatened and bribed to switch his vote, is perhaps most infamous for his efforts to gerrymander Congressional districts in Texas, after redistricting had already been done, in order to deny seats to Democrats and undermine the franchise of ordinary Texans…

The campaign of surveillance, manipulation, executive overreach and vote-rigging is clear: there is a tendency, perhaps a concerted effort, to treat minorities as second-class citizens, to manipulate elections, out-district career Democratic elected officials, undermine the rule of law and deny voters who do not favor the right-wing agenda both their candidates and the right to choose among them.

Jon Voight has now added to his hostile assault on Pres. Obama in a semi-crazed interview he gave to Fox News’ Mike Huckabee, in which he claimed Obama was sowing “civil unrest”. The comment is another in a long string of dangerous right-wing assertions that violent rebellion might be a justifiable response to the presidency of Barack Obama. Whatever his feelings about African Americans or other minority groups, Jon Voight’s message is one of hate, with inflections of incitement to violence.

If Republicans want to be taken seriously as a party of loyal, worthwhile and productive, opposition, they must rethink the failed bases of their economic and social platforms, and craft conscientious, firm, creative policies that will make life better and more free for a majority of Americans. The obsessive defamation of a popular president is a ridiculous —and possibly dangerous— sideshow to that president’s high-stakes historic engagement with the world and the major crises facing our nation.

Full text: http://www.casavaria.com/cafesentido/2009/11/15/5107/voight-joins-chorus-of-hate-rhetoric/