-- by Dave
I've read a lot of responses to Bill O'Reilly's ongoing assault against the liberal blogosphere, but the one that made me want to stand up and cheer was Rick Perlstein's barn-burner over at .commonsense. What especially hit home was his description of how the kind of hate being peddled by the right for the past decade poisons personal relationships, embodied by the transformation he witnessed in his grandmother into a fearful, paranoid old woman:
- I'd look out of her eighth floor picture window, down at the scene she saw every day, half expecting to find that nightmare landscape before me. Nope: same as always, the brightly colored sailboats on Lake Michigan, kids and their parents feeding the ducks (Grandma used to take me to feed the ducks), happy, strolling Milwaukee couples—paradise. Where was she getting these fantasies?
One evening's visit, all became clear. She gestured at the blaring TV set. The excruciating grandma-volume was even more excruciating than usual, because she was visiting with her best TV friend. She told me how much she adored Bill O'Reilly. My wife and I cringed. Watching our latter-day Joe McCarthy on TV every night, she had learned, late in life—for this development was entirely new—how to hate her fellow Americans. I almost cried, because one of the people she was learning how to hate was me.
Read the whole thing. And be sure to check out the video above (available also at Perlstein's post), which is a brilliantly edited piece showing how the rhetoric gradually ratchets higher and higher. It's a promotional piece for a Fox Attacks! campaign to organize people in a letter-writing drive targeting the advertisers on O'Reilly's program, which is a terrific idea. I've signed up.
Meanwhile, speaking of brilliant videos, be sure to check out the lastest from Max Blumenthal, on the "Christians United for Israel" tour led by none other than the Rev. John Hagee. You may remember Hagee; he's best known for wishing ardently for Armageddon in Israel. As you can see from watching Max's video, it hardly stops with Hagee; his followers are even more keyed up for the Big Bada Bang.
Some more recent brilliance from Max: Generation Chickenhawk: With the College Republicans, and Take Bake America: The Censored Video.