Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something's coming... I don't know... What it is... But it is... Gonna be........

Something's coming.... and it doesn't look good.

Watching MSNBC this morning as they replayed Rachel Maddow's interview  with the former leader of the Alabama Constitutional MilitiaThe subject was the Bring Your Guns to Washington Day (an event whose slogan is: Don't Retreat, Instead, Reload) and the whole thing was an enlightening experience.  I had been unaware of the preparations for this and the many similar events scheduled for April 19th.  Ready for another special way to spend the day? How about the group encouraging you to throw bricks through the windows of your local Democratic Party headquarters?

April 19th is the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, which, in 1775, effectively started the American Revolution.  It's also the anniversary of the 1993 FBI/Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas. Talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences..... do you suppose the FBI gave any thought at all to the historical resonance when then laid seige to the Mt. Carmel Center that afternoon? Probably not, I'd guess.  But Timothy McVeigh certainly did when he blew up the Murrah Federal  Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.  

As I said, it was very enlightening.  There's a holiday which exists outside my purview.  Normally, this would wound me.  Someone is celebrating and I'm not invited?  But really, do I need to commemorate a frustrating tangled miserable from any perspective event?  The fact that David Koresh was fathering children with teenagers seems to escape these people. 

I'm no more angry with them than I was with the Weathermen who blew up Sterling Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When the Little Cuter and I were doing the prospective students' tour, our guide stopped outside that building and pointed out the discolorations which remained after the bomb exploded and Robert E. Fassnacht, a graduate student studying superconductivity - not related to military uses at all - was killed.  Though the terrorists (and yes that's just what they were) targeted the Army Math Research Center housed in the building, the unintended consequences included damage to people totally uninvolved in military research.  The bombers went to jail and those protesting against the war were forced to face the fact Hell No, We Won't Go shouters might also be mixing ammonium nitrate and fuel oil and sending a loaded van into some geek's laboratory.  

It was a sobering experience to come to terms with the extremes of my anti-war position.  Could I say that I shared their rage and so their actions were excusable?  Understandable?  Defensible?  No,  I couldn't.  I had friends who tried to convince me that there were degrees of wrong and that attention must be grabbed but I could never get past the fact that innocents had died.  

And what do these people think will happen when loaded guns are the focal point of a political rally?  Loaded guns are an issue for me here in Arizona, as I watch our State Legislature discuss bills allowing high school teachers, or college teachers, or patrons of eating and drinking establishments, to carry concealed weaponry.  Loaded concealed weaponry.  Business now sport fliers like these


I am afraid that the Tea Parties' lack of civility and respect for differences of opinion has taken an ugly turn.  Were supporters of the Vietnam War concerned about protesters' violent acts?  Did they smear the entire movement because of the Weathermen?  Am I falling victim to the same trap?

I'm never surprised when what goes around comes around but this is still a little spooky.

3 comments:

  1. A review of the big political blogs right after the passage of the Healthcare Reform Bill showed that not a few folks are seriously worried about the crazies right now, that there have been specific threats and implied threats under FBI investigation. The young adults who worked so hard to see Obama elected have no personal recall of the Weathermen, or Kent State, or the violence that roiled the nation in the sixties and seventies, but we do. I never expected to see that sort of thing again in my lifetime, but there's a humming in the air right now that unsettles me. I'm glad you're writing about it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's exactly that "humming" that worries me, Nance. I'm feeling it the same way I felt it 40 years ago, only this time I'm on the other side. I have an appreciation for the strength of the feelings that, I agree with you, young people just don't share.

    Are "they" compiling "secret governmental files" on "righteous protests"? That outraged me in the early 1970's; today I hope those files are thorough and extensive.

    Am I changing for the better? Just getting older? It's definitely an issue to explore. All I know is that, right now, I'm more than a little nervous.
    a/b

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow. I just happened upon your blog from a mention on a NYT piece, and I just happened upon this article from your archives. Reading this in light of what happened to you makes me kind of feel deja vu.

    ReplyDelete

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