“Eliminationist? What’s that? Who are they? I’ve not seen that word before and don’t understand. “
These are common reactions when people see the real work being done to define the violent rhetoric today. There is a movement of people who are radical and think seriously of how to demonize then eliminate their opposition. The language of elimination is becoming very common. There have been public calls for the President’s death. We have a Facebook poll voting for or against the Presidents death. The Hate Radio hosts, from Rush to TV’s Beck and many more, are using increasingly radicalized speech in their programming.
Ann Coulter has famously used language that is eliminationist. After 9/11 in the New York Observer she said, “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is that he did not go to the New York Times building.” The direct call for the violent destruction of an opponent is becoming more common. That remark was made in 2002 and was considered highly unusual. Coulter got her publicity.
Today comments are filled with calls for violent destruction. They are made nearly every day. Whether it is radio, a church, a meeting of radical militia groups or the internet sites calling for death and destruction it is there to be heard or read. In many cases it seems they mean every word. Rush may be a person more motivated by money and ego but Glenn Beck is a true believer. The Militia’s are true believers. Many church pastors or members are true believers. Unfortunately, many people are true believers.
This isn’t localized in the South or the West. This is everywhere.
Today a good friend who is 83, one of the most vigorous, intelligent men I know, told me that he was convinced that President Obama wants America to be lost. I could not have been more stunned. When legitimate conservatives begin to believe that the President consciously wants the country destroyed then there is a much deeper problem in America than I ever thought.
This course of thinking has evolved into mainstream thinking and language. I recommend two books. “The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right”. Written by David Neiwert, an award winning journalist for his MSNBC reporting on domestic terrorism, it is detailed and eyeopening. To be honest for me it’s also stomach turning. His blog is Orcinus and worth a daily read. Secondly I recommend “Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy” by Jeffrey Feldman. Jeffrey is a friend and long time observer of the political scene. His blog ,The Frameshop, is famous for his insight to political communication.
We should all educate ourselves as portions of the rhetoric in this country become more filled with violent hatred. Without understanding the seriousness of the problem we cannot cope with it or change it.
(Crossposted from Polcampaign )