Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as having said: “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” It seems to fall into the latter that Bruce King chose to assail me in defense of his cohort, Gene Williams, and I believe I am entitled to rebut his uninspired ad hominem prattle. Those unfamiliar with Bruce should know that King’s essays have appeared regularly in William’s sporadic special interests publication, and understudy King’s articles are even more over the top than William’s own inflammatory rantings, rife with fallacies of every definable form, and characteristically demonstrating a real aversion to any facts.
I vehemently disagree with King’s convenient and simplistic framing of the explanation for why Williams – portrayed as this kindly, astute and gentlemanly politico – has such a considerable and consistent host of detractors. King attributes this “unwarranted” vilification and quasi-martyrdom by we Progressives as our collective failure to perpetually misunderstand, and in turn, misrepresent the modest and charitable Williams’ intentions. For anyone who has tracked Gene’s irreverent and more often irrelevant ramblings over any length of time, it is painfully obvious that he’s just another Republican shill, a grassroots mouthpiece promoting the talking points agenda of the extreme right. He tirelessly seeks to amplify fears, incessantly attacks the left with his clichéd, tired old saws and weary euphemisms, and is at present acting to hype prejudice, hate and discrimination toward an estimated 2.6 million Muslim Americans. I have a bone to pick with anyone who loudly proclaims to be a fervent Constitutionalist, but does not uphold freedom of religion for all Americans. This presents a direct challenge to the promise of American freedoms and who we are as a nation.
So Mr. King makes it clear he has scorn for the Dept. of Homeland Security, then conflates their efficacy with a convoluted non-sequitur that they are in the same category with global climate change which he assumes everyone is on board with believing is merely “a big lie”. That’s so around-the-bend absurd it’s made difficult to comprehend. This is not only what in Logic 101 is termed ‘drawing a bare assertion fallacy’, but lays transparent what camp King has pitched his tent in. In the instance he selectively responded to in my comments, I had also quoted a 2005 FBI report on terrorism, which had concluded that right wing extremism is the most active and growing terrorist threat in the U.S. today. I guess we can assume that Bruce has little respect or regard for the FBI either, then? Contemptuously rejecting such bona fide national security institutions as the Dept. of Homeland Security and the FBI seems more than a little un-American.
But where King really drops his guard and demonstrates both his ignorance and vulnerability is when he avows not a single “terrorist” activity, not a single murder has been carried out by right wing extremists “in or out of the USA”. Au, contraire, sir: April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City, 167 people murdered by Timothy McVeigh at the Alfred P. Murrah Building; McVeigh was indisputably a fervent right wing militia member at the time. Then there have been the eight people associated with abortion clinics in this country who have been slaughtered since 1993, by so-called Christian terrorists. And it was counterproductive to include “out of the USA” in his boldfaced claim, because I’ve got two words to stifle such hogwash: Anders Breivik. An extreme right winger whose cold-blooded slaughter of nearly 90 helpless teenagers trapped on an island should serve as a textbook example of what can happen when the mentally unstable are exposed to a concerted misinformation and hatemongering campaign from a well-bankrolled Islamophobia network spreading hate and fear.
Of which King’s mentor and hero, Mr. Williams, is simply our own small town cog in the Islamophobia Echo Chamber. If there’s one thing I can agree with King or Williams on, it’s this, and this alone: fundamentalism kills.
Richard T. Landry