All of this is calculated to silence those who disagree with them nothing less. From the baseless allegations of hostile tendencies and designs, to their reflexive, non sequitur accusations of racism and homophobia, these tactics are the stuff of totalitarian regimes, not representative republics.
I was responding to this quotation.
I fail to see how saying that watching demonstrators walk around with guns, or seeing congressmen make comments about how the government is responsible for blowing up the building in Oklahoma City is anything other than provocative. If fail to see that this sort of rhetoric is useful under these circumstances.
I am unhappy about seeing armed folks at any demonstration, and that includes police and national guardsmen. But most especially that includes the demonstrators themselves, no matter what their politics. I have trouble believing that there are any demonstrations anyplace where the presence of firearms makes the conversation calmer and more relaxed. The very presence of a firearm is a danger and a threat. It is a weapon.
I support the right of people to own them, but they should not be a part of a political discussion.
If somebody is not aware of the message of hostility that carrying a weapon conveys in any gathering, they probably should be considered dangerous because of a defect in reality testing. Some folks, through preference or necessity, hunt for food, but it is doubtful they do so on the sidewalks of a city or through the publicly trafficked areas of a national or state park.
Allegations that such folks are acting in a hostile fashion seem to me to be acknowledgement of reality. The presence of firearms does not open the range of discussion, after all, except for those who are armed and who feel their opinions are given extra weight by that fact.
Discussions of homophobia and racism are, in practice, almost always non-sequiturs. The subjects are such that folks who are homophobic and racist only open them when they believe that the climate is favorable and sympathetic. They have no desire at all to have the subjects raised in any venue when it brings up the least discomfort for them. However when folks call Congressmen, such as Barney Frank, "Barney F-G," and the like, I guess I'd have to say that Gay bashing and Homophobia really are or should be, at any rate part of the discussion. And when members of the Black Caucus are spat upon publicly, there too, I guess that racism has made itself part of the discussion. They are very much part of the ongoing flow of events. They do follow. They are not non-sequators, and those who would claim otherwise are indulging in an orgy of positive thinking.
In totalitarian regimes, to conclude, these discussions would not be in the open, back and forth.
I was quite upset perhaps two years or so ago when the border patrol, first, searched a bus I was on in Buffalo on its way to Ithaca, then searched it again in Rochester, and finally searched it yet again in Rochester on the way back, checking everybody's papers and closely questioning some Japanese visitors and an Indian Couple. That I felt was an obscene intrusion of state power. I don't believe it bothered any of my friends on the Radical Right here at the time. If somebody did that to me again, I would be fully as bothered today as I was then.
I suspect that, under this new administration, were this to happen to you or one of your friends, you would be aghast and I believe, by the way, for good reason for it would be evidence of the sort of fascist dictatorship that you've been complaining might be coming might actually be showing its ugly head.
But where were you two years ago?
And what about the current existence of the legal framework that allows this sort of thing to go on. It is legal now, you know, and it's bone-headed to be fine with it under one administration and horrified with it under another. Especially since, friends, we disagree on which administration supplies the greatest threat, and each of us is magnanimously willing to grant that the other may be wrong.