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violent rhetoric

Over at FB, a friend posted this meme:



with the comment, LIKE and SHARE if Obama is a threat to America that voters should remove from the White House in November!

After several weeks of several mass shootings, you just don't say stuff like this. For my own peace of mind if nothing else, I feel compelled to say a few things:

1. The Navy SEALs did not remove Osama bin laden. They shot him. In the chest and in the head. They also fatally shot several other people in bin Laden's house: his adult son, bin Laden's courier, and two members of the courier's family. You may think this is okay, or not. Either way, it was bloody and violent.

2. Obama has a funny-sounding name. Many people in certain fringes of America's political scene think of him as Kenyan, Muslim, and as hating America. His middle name is Hussein, and his last name is one letter away from Osama.

3. One of that clump of shootings I mentioned above - not fatal, thankfully, but still upsetting - involved a man shooting a security guard at the Family Research Council. In the aftermath of that, the FRC president blamed the fact that his group had been labeled a hate-group. The facts suggest (though they're still not clear) that the shooter was politically motivated because of the Chick-fil-A thing. But even if they're not, we now have the victim saying that shooting was wrong because it was motivated by the wrong ideology. There's a tendency these days to think that this kind of disagreement should be settled with a gun.

4. America has nearly one legally-owned gun for every citizen. There are a lot of guns out there, and some pretty shoddy screening processes. I'm not saying this in itself is a problem (I privately think it is, but that's not the point here) - but if we're going to have a lot of guns, that makes it more likely that one is in the hand of a crazy person or a super-stressed person who might see "remove the president" as a call to violence, not to political action.

5. Those SEALs didn't "remove" bin Laden by virtue of guts and courage. They were heroic. I felt proud to be an American that day. But it also took good intelligence work and a president making a decision to act on intelligence that very well might not pan out - and that would have been a major international faux pas if it hadn't. (Imagine the Pakistani response!) The man you want to remove is praiseworthy and courageous, just like those who "removed" bin Laden.

Putting this up on a billboard is beyond irresponsible, in this climate. Sharing it on FB even more so. Seeing it, I honestly felt a little faint. And you certainly don't share it with friends as if it's a good thing. Even if you think Obama is a horrible president and a threat to America's way of life. Using the same language to describe an assassination and a political change comes damned close to promoting terrorism. I'm not saying you don't have the legal right - but it's just so wrong, morally speaking.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
celandineb
Aug. 24th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
Using the same language to describe an assassination and a political change comes damned close to promoting terrorism.

I don't think it's just close, I think it does promote terrorism. And it is absolutely morally wrong to do so.
marta_bee
Aug. 24th, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
I think I was hedging there a bit because both "terrorism" and "promoting" have very specific meanings to me. Terrorism is violent act intended to not only harm specific people directly but scare others. The Aurora shootings are a good example. And promoting terrorism means planning and supporting those specific acts. So if this man had meant for someone reading to actually shoot Obama, that would be promoting terrorism. I put the "damned close to" in there just because I didn't want to have to parse that issue.

But yeah, it's outrageous. There's a whole lot of things short of promoting terrorism that are completely outrageous, and this is one of them.
elliska
Aug. 24th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
Wow! That is really offensive. No matter how you feel about someone, suggesting this sort of action is nothing but wrong.
marta_bee
Aug. 24th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
It is outrageous, isn't it? It both legitimates assassination (same basic thing as an election) and glorifies extreme political groups trying to take down their president, all at the same time. *blegh*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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