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June 29, 2007

Comments

Henry

I understand the relevance of Kudlow, Robertson, Simmons, Campbell, and other right-wing fanatics, threatening to kill President Chávez. It is important to denounce their machinations, but how is this post by an insignificant blogger (who is Stan M. and what is his political impact?) important or even newsworthy? After all, nowadays pretty much anybody can post anything on the Internet or even make public pronouncements.

To wit:

In 2004, a teenager threatened to kill Bush in an email sent to the White House, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37836

A Purdue graduate student was just convicted of the same crime, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,287353,00.html

A teenager posted wrote “Kill Bush” on her Myspace page, and was questioned by the Feds, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/10/14/feds-question-teenage-gir_n_31689.html

No less than a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Betty Williams, said “I would love to kill George Bush”, in a conference in Brisbane, Australia, in 2006, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/07/24/nobel-peace-laureate-i-_n_25717.html

Now, I strongly oppose Bush’s policies, but I also object that my opposition to him be associated in any way to these statements. I abhor murder and assassination, both individually and politically, and I refuse to accept that loony pronouncements such as these be linked to my opposition, even coming from a Nobel Peace laureate.

The only political significance of this entry is that Chávez has been so successful in building this aura of importance (beginning to dim recently) and cult of personality, that both his supporters and his opponents seem to believe that the is the problem (or the solution, take your pick).

Henry

Errata:

Where it says "A teenager posted wrote 'Kill Bush'", it should say "A teenager posted 'Kill Bush'"

Where it says "that the is the problem" it should say "that he is the problem"

Justin

Henry,

It is a problem --a very serious problem-- that powerful television personalities in the United States have called for Chavez's assassination. It is a clear sign that the extreme right wields great political influence in the United States. The extreme right demonizes foreign leaders in ways that exacerbate U.S. tendencies toward national chauvinism. In so doing, the right increases the likelihood of agressive external behavior.

Such retrograde rhetoric is a very real threat to countries like Venezuela. It's not as if Pat Robertson is some marginal figure; he played a pivotal role in supporting Reagan's murderous Central America policies, and he's close with Bush. When Robertson makes such statements and then continues making thinly cloaked calls for military aggression against Venezuela (just as he did last week on the 700 Club), anti-imperialists should take heed.

It's worth emphasizing that the entire political establishment --whether they endorse such extreme right-wing positions or not-- is implicated in providing these right-wing nuts a podium. CNBC has given Kudlow his own show, for heaven's sake. Fox News' Hannity & Colmes and MSNBC's Tucker bring extremists like Robertson, Simmons and Campbell onto their programs. And the Christian Right --which offered no real criticism of Robertson's statement-- is a kingmaker in the Republican Party.

I agree with you that Stan M.'s comments aren't necessarily all that important, but the point is that they are emblematic of much broader U.S. tendencies of national chauvinism, tendencies that unfortunately permeate American culture. If it were merely a matter of a few statements here and there on the blogosphere, I wouldn't pay it any notice, but the problem is much more serious than that.

(By the way, so many folks blasted Stan M. on his blog that he ended up erasing his comments section and telling commenters to "get your own damn blog." Kinda funny.)

Henry

We are basically in agreement on this issue.

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