I'm not alone being on holiday. Tolerance and peace have also disappeared. The frightening increase in hate speech seen last year's election and fueled by John McCain and, especially, Sarah Palin, has grown out of control. It has been fueled by extremists on television and radio by Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and online in right wing blogs. They have labeled the President as a Muslim terrorist, someone leading the country to socialism, someone ready and willing to come seize everyone's guns, someone unqualified to be president and countless other false rumors and accusations.
Attacks upon minorities, gays and lesbians and other people targeted by these hate mongers is steadily increasing. A Mexican immigrant was killed in Shenandoah last year by six high school football players incensed by anti immigration rhetoric from the likes of Dobbs and Lou Barletta, got off scott free by a white jury.
Yes, tolerance has taken a holiday. It is no surprise to anyone who watched the videos Mike Morrill and I shot at McCain/Palin events last fall. The hatred, vitriol and misinformation being spouted by these people was truly frightening. Much of it wasn't possible to film as the people at the events discovered the effect their hate speech was having. Pennsylvania was getting a bad black eye but that wasn't fair. These bigots are everywhere and are now unashamed to spout their hate speech.
This week's murder of nine year old Brisenia Flores is truly tragic and should awaken every American to the hate and violence taking control of our country. The home invasion was planned by anti immigration leader and spokeswoman Shawna Forde. A veteran of the Minuteman extremist movement heralded by Republican Congressmen and Lou Dobbs, Forde has been a frequent talking head for a group called FAIR. FAIR stands for Federation for American Immigration Reform and she is also affiliated with Minutemen American Defense. She recently called for a series of robberies to fund their extremist activities and this crime was meant to do just that. The girl and her father were brutally murdered.
Sarah Palin is willing to make a fool out of herself (again) to divert attention to her personal responsibility for fostering this hatred. She stood up at rally after rally and fueled this hatred and spread this intolerance in her quest for power. If Republicans still believe in personal responsibility Gov. Palin must stand up and accept her role in this epidemic of violence and forget the bad Letterman joke.
The idea of committing crimes to fund white supremacist movements isn't new. A Pennsylvania man is serving a long sentence in federal prison for planning and executing a series of bank robberies to fund his Aryan white supremacist movement from Berks County, Pennsylvania. Forde is simply adopting the same tactic but with more violence.
Tolerance cannot afford to take a holiday. We have to begin forgetting our petty differences and begin loving one another as human beings. The white power structure in America has run things for hundreds of years and sees threats from anyone who is not white, male, straight and rich. History has proven them corrupt, incompetent, hateful and intolerant (apologies to liberal, tolerant straight white men). Just as my holiday comes to an end next week it is time for tolerance to get back to work.