Within weeks of Adolf Hitler's coming to power in Germany, the Reichstag building (parliament) was set on fire late one February night in Berlin. When police responded, the only person they discovered in the building was a mentally disturbed young Dutchman named Marinus van der Lubbe. He was subsequently put on trial and executed by beheading. Since that time, there has been much speculation that the Nazis deliberately set the blaze. To this day, there has been no definite resolution of that question. Nevertheless, Hitler used the fire to lash out at his opposition, namely the Communists and the Social Democrats. An Enabling Law was passed that gave Hitler dictatorial powers in the face of this "threat". Communists, Social Democrats and other opposition figures were arrested and shipped off to concentration camps like Dachau.
I know some of my readers criticize me for often using Nazi analogies to describe current events. The question here is whether the Tucson incident will be used by government leaders, media and others to try and crack down on their opponents. (i.e. conservative pundits, tea party etc.) Is it possible that the incident in Tucson, which was carried out by an obviously mentally unstable individual whose beliefs are still cloudy, be used to put limits on our free speech and the free exchange of ideas? Or am I overstating this possibility? Let this professional English teacher make it crystal clear:
I am not suggesting for a minute that the shooting in Tucson was orchestrated by our government (like George W Bush has been accused of orchestrating 9-11). Nor am I suggesting for a minute that a round-up is coming, in which Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin tea-partiers and humble bloggers like me are about to be thrown in jail as a reaction to the Tucson incident. Yet, these figures and groups are being blamed for the actions of one demented man. These charges are not only false and unfair, but they are political as well. Am I suggesting that talk radio is going to go silent within the next few days? Of course not. But consider this.
The left's reaction to the opposition is that it is "overheated rhetoric", "racist rhetoric", violent rhetoric", etc. That is also false. Yet, we have working their ways through Congress such ideas as the "Net Neutrality law", which would get the government's foot in the door of the Internet. We have the so-called Fairness Doctrine-specifically aimed at conservative talk radio, which dominates the air waves simply because the people want to hear it and liberal talk shows consistently fall on their collective face.The aim of the government is to levy so many petty rules and regulations about "fairness" on radio stations that they would opt to leave talk radio and switch to something easier, say country music, for example,
Now we also hear the voices of politicians like Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois speaking about how free speech is being abused. In addition, left-wing writer Paul Krugman has written an op-ed in Sunday's New York Times blaming the Republicans and the right for Tucson-and Oklahoma City. His article is so absurd it doesn't merit any further response. To hear these people talk, it is free speech that is leading to things like Tucson. That is nonsense.
When the Ft Hood shooting occurred, the liberal media fell all over themselves advising us "not to rush to judgement". They tried to push the idea that Major Hasan was simply a troubled man possibly pushed over the edge by the troubling accounts he heard from soldiers returning from war. In this instance, it is precisely those same media people who are rushing to judgement even in the face of the preliminary evidence that conservative politics and criticism of the government played no role in this tragedy.
Also consider this. We have a highly politicized Justice Department under Eric Holder that pointedly turns a blind eye to the New Black Panther Party intimidating white people at a voting place in Philadelphia and the activities of George Galloway openly collecting funds for the Hamas-led government in Gaza. We have Janet Napolitano describing conservative activists, tea-partiers and returning war vets as a significant danger to national security and public safety.
However, when you look at the facts, there have been no incidents I am aware of involving violence or threats of violence at tea parties or town hall meetings. The only violent incidents were instigated by goons from the unions or others in opposition to tea parties. No talk show host or conservative politician has called for violence. Is there fierce opposition to government policies under this administration? Has there been "heated rhetoric"? Yes, but it has been done in a lawful manner.
So call me crazy if I once again drag out my tired old analogies to the Third Reich. I am not comparing this administration and its supporters to Nazis. But as you listen to the rhetoric from the Democrats and the liberal media, remember this; in the Reichstag fire, the German government took one mentally-disturbed individual and used the incident to wipe out dissent and opposition. In Tucson, we have one mentally-disturbed individual. From that, there is a move to discredit the opposition voices and perhaps silence them.
Arrests and banning of parties? No. Government infiltration, Internet neutrality legislation, and Fairness Doctrine?