Saturday, November 07, 2009

Holocaust, Again

It’s not that the poster reading “National Socialist Health Care Dachau Germany 1945” reflects the thinking or IQ of most of the participants in Thursday’s corporate-sponsored anti-health care rally in Washington, D.C. Most of the protesters, even the ill-informed majority, are neither anti-Semitic nor grotesquely ignorant.

Still, Representative Steve Israel (D.-N.Y.) is courageous, and has it mostly correct, when he (video below) referred to the right of free speech and noted

But with that right comes a responsibility by leaders to condemn that kind of expression. I just cannot believe that Congresswoman Bachmann sponsored and brought to the American people the use of images from the Holocaust, actual photographs of the skeletal remains of people from the crematoria, in order to make a point about the health insurance bill.

I can't believe that Congresswoman Bachmann would stand where she stood, and see those images, and not have the common decency to say, 'I disagree with the use of those images.' I think that she owes the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust an apology. She owes us all an apology. And I'm waiting. We're all waiting.

Clearly, use of holocaust imagery to score political points, as we’ve seen from the right previously in its hysterical opposition to health care reform, is reprehensible; and Rep. Israel is right to imply that Representative Bachmann has little sense of common decency. Certainly, she should denounce such expressions that are obviously offensive and politicians, media, and others need to call upon her to do so.

But Bachmann, as this summary from graphically illustrates, has been completely unconcerned with the truth, and any apology would be empty and worthless.

Most extreme conservatives these days have no sense of shame or humility. One need only look at the race in the 23rd congressional district of New York. Avidly supported by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Bachmann, and much of the Republican right, Douglas Hoffman forced out of the race moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava and managed to lose a congressional seat Repubs have held since Adam and Eve. The day after, Limbaugh commented “Now, I'm telling you, the percentage of the vote that Hoffman got has put the fear of 2010 in the mind of every Blue Dog and in a lot of RINOs. This guy almost pulled it out with his own party running ads against him and endorsing a liberal Republican, and then praising her when she leads and then she endorses the Democrat. And all this is done in 30 days? “ Beck was even more boastful, even more adamant that his cause had triumphed.

There is, generally, no sense of humility and no sense of shame on the Republican right. They win, they gloat. They lose, they gloat.

So don’t expect an apology from the likes of Michele Bachmann- and don’t wish for one. There is no need for this hateful, dishonest creature to utter a banality such as “I apologize if anyone who misunderstood me was offended,” a fairly typical form of the modern “apology.” Her motives are clear, her tactics are clear, and her aims are clear. They are clear, and they are loathsome. And it’s up to the forces of decency in both parties to denounce the destructive radicalism she preaches.

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