Monday, April 19, 2010

Learning from Madness

Today's NYT has several op-ed pieces on the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City fifteen years ago, including by Bill Clinton.  While Clinton's piece is entirely predictable--a call for the partisans of today to be clear about what they mean and the distinction between peaceful dissent and violence--it makes very clear that the government is us and we are the government.  In another time of anti-government jeremiads, this reminder and the consequences of extremism are quite welcome.  
In the current climate, with so many threats against the president, members of Congress and other public servants, we owe it to the victims of Oklahoma City, and those who survived and responded so bravely, not to cross it [the line between protest and violence] again.
 In the aftermath of the Hutaree arrests, where ordinary militia types did not back up the more extreme folks, I need to note that not all gun-nuts are violent, that not all Republicans are sympathetic with those call for violence, and that not all Tea Partiers are racists.  However, it is important that such folks distinguish themselves from those who promote violence.  And just perhaps they might want to change their rhetoric so that they do not appear to be calling for anyone's assassination.

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