Thursday, February 27, 2003

The War on Dissent: Goosestepping Along

Some fresh salvoes in the ongoing war against any criticism of the Bush administration:

Michael Savage, soon-to-be MSNBC talk-show host, has proposed the following law:

The Sedition Act

Read its sickening contents for yourself. At his Web site, his basic pitch is this:
Time to Arrest the Leaders of the Anti-War Movement,
Once we Go To War?
We Must Protect Our Troops!

Via Media Whores Online, we also have the latest offerings from that Faux journalist, Bill O'Reilly:
"Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can't do that, just shut up.

"Americans, and indeed our foreign allies who actively work against our military once the war is underway, will be considered enemies of the state by me.

"Just fair warning to you, Barbra Streisand and others who see the world as you do. I don't want to demonize anyone, but anyone who hurts this country in a time like this, well. Let's just say you will be spotlighted."

Hell, Bill. Why not just urge them to start building the concentration camps now?

Finally, Atrios bring us this startling account of what befell an antiwar protester recently in Atlanta:
I never chanted, raised my voice, confronted anyone or was disrespectful to those around me. I simply held my sign and stood my ground. The abuse came first from a small group of homemakers standing near me, their small children dressed in red, white and blue.

"Go home! You don't belong here," they said.

All around me folks began to speak up, and it wasn't long before a large group of people crossed the street with banners and flags and began aggressively yelling "Go USA!" Bob, a young man with a ball cap and a sign reading "Drop Bush, Not Bombs" came and stood with me for support.

The really frightening stuff began when a television cameraman stopped and asked me why I was there. As soon as the crowd saw the camera pointed at me, they went wild. I was trying to express myself and they screamed at me and over my voice. A man stood behind me making obscene gestures as I spoke.

The reporter tried three times, unsuccessfully, to get a picture without obscenity. One woman spat in my hair. The journalist gave up and moved on. The mob did not. Men and women violently screamed in my face and Bob's.

It stopped just long enough for the president's motorcade to pass by and then erupted again. We were told to " Get the f--- out of the country," had obscene gestures pushed in our faces. An elderly man told me to "Go to hell!"

Some months ago, I opened up a thread at Salon's Table Talk:

The war on dissent: Will the far right silence criticism of Bush?

Its basic predicate was my theory that as the Bush administration faced more difficulty acheiving its agenda, it would be more likely to resort to unleashing the reactionarism of the extremist right, particularly those jingoes who equate dissent with treason. As I've noted on multiple occasions, such views are innately anti-democratic, because their essence is intimidation, not debate. And the end result would be increasingly violent confrontations between Bushevikis and protesters opposed to his policies.

I predicted that the administration would make the necessary wink-and-nudge remarks that would loose these particular dogs -- and indeed, just before this most recent spate, we saw Vice President Cheney similarly equating dissent with treason.

What I didn't anticipate was the extent to which the mass media -- particularly the Fox News/Limbaugh/Savage axis -- would play a prominent role in whipping up this jingoism. But it's clear this is occurring at a brisk pace now. As the propaganda volumes rise, look for things to become increasingly worse.

And if the Democrats make a serious run in 2004 at the Bush regime's grip on power, don't be surprised if it becomes downright dangerous to be a liberal.

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