Posted by: Taylor Hoff | December 10, 2009

EXTRA EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT! MAN ON INTERNET CHANGES MIND!

This was a very convincing and interesting editorial that I had to post for you all.  It’s not often that the people I follow shift their stances, and I believe that this gives further credit to Charles Johnson, writer of Little Green Footballs. A little background on Johnson, he is best known (or unknown) for revealing the scandal behind the NBC faked documents depicting Former President Bush as a party-hard incompetent, as well as holding AP newswire reporters in Israel accountable for doctored images. There is no truer sign of intelligence in today’s political environment than someone who is willing to accept that an adjustment in world view is necessary. There is far too much partisanship in politics today, there needs to be a defined effort to bring about an end to this mindless bashing. Perhaps the rise of a third party. May I suggest taking Fiscal Conservatives, Social Liberals, and Individual Rights Activists and mashing them together into the Libertarian Party of 2012?
-TDH

Editorial: Losing the right to be Right

In Editorial, Michael Orbach on December 8, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Issue of December 11, 2009/ 24 Kislev 5770

Something unheard of happened on the Internet on November 20th.
Defying all historical precedent, someone actually changed his mind.

Charles Johnson, the popular pro-Israel, rightwing blogger of Little Green Footballs, announced he had severed his ties with the political Right. A post entitled “Why I parted ways with the Right” listed his dissatisfaction, which included the right wing’s support for fascists like Pat Buchanan and white supremacists like Robert Stacy McCain. Johnson also wrote about the Right’s support for anti-government conspiracy theories, anti-science craziness and the hatred reserved for President Obama, which goes, in his words, far “beyond simply criticizing his policies.”

“The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff,” Johnson wrote. “I won’t be going over the cliff with them.”

Despite our generally conservative stance, we can’t help agreeing with Johnson on a number of points. The right wing’s embrace of Buchanan is disturbing, to say the least, as is their wholehearted denial of climate change without allowing for any sort of compromise or reasoned discussion. Johnson’s post made us ask, in turn, where has the sensible rightwing gone?

While the left has always had its share of crazies (ever met a card-carrying Republican with a PETA membership?) it seems the Right has begun to match them kook for kook, loon for loon.

A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League, “Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies,” places blame for the increase of violence, anti-government conspiracy theories and militias at the feet of the political Right. In one example, a large Tea Party rally in Washington D.C. was complete with Nazi imagery, racist imagery, and “imagery that implicitly or explicitly promoted violence.”

The media is rightfully blamed for its part in this, with Fox News and Glenn Beck being singled out as leaders. Though they have led the race to devolve politics into a he-said she-said screaming match, the blame is not theirs alone.
If this weren’t so scary it would actually be quite funny.

This is certainly not to say the current administration should be immune to criticism — we have recently criticized the President’s plans for Afghanistan, his habit of bowing to foreign leaders, his healthcare plans. However, once the subject of “death panels” is introduced into the health care conversation you are no longer engaged in an educated policy dialog but a screaming match.

To be sure, the report stretches quite a bit. Glenn Beck is no Father Coughlin; Beck is no anti-Semite — he is actually remarkably pro-Israel. Beck, at best, is an opportunist capitalizing on anti-government feelings already present.

So why should this concern us so much? Here’s why:

We don’t believe in trickle-down economics anymore, but we do believe in trickle down hate. And violence and intimidation that is practiced against our government representatives could soon enough be practiced against us.

Every Shabbos we pray for the government of the United States. As the third chapter of the Pirkei Avot notes: “Pray for the welfare of the government, for without fear of governmental authorities people would swallow each other alive.” A Tea Party rally is no place for a Jew. Whether you agree or disagree with his policies, Mr. Obama is the President of the United States and, if nothing else, he deserves to command the respect that we as citizens owe to that office.

All of this truly makes us wonder where the Right wing has gone. Leaders like Sarah Palin, Joe Wilson, and Dick Cheney are more embarrassing than inspiring. The conservative movement, as Sam Tanenhaus writes in The New Republic, and like punk rock before it, is dead. This Chanukah we know what we want: a rebirth.
We want the right to be Right.

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