Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Shrinking Violets

The right wing has begun to mobilize in opposition to the activism for gun control among Parkland, Florida students. While acknowledging a couple of exceptions, Steve M. observes a "common thread" among the critics in that

The smear merchants are avoiding direct attacks on the students. The sinister plots all involve outside agents who are using the students for their own nefarious ends.

As soon as I started watching videos of Emma Gonzalez's weekend speech and other media appearances by the teenage survivors, I assumed they'd be attacked by the right -- we all remember how opponents of children's health insurance funding smeared the family of Graeme Frost, a seventh grader who spoke up in favor of the funding, in 2007.

But the attacks on the shooting survivors aren't direct -- not even on Gonzalez, whose buzz cut I was sure would be the subject of endless ridicule on the right.

SM noted at least three examples. They included a tweet, retweeted by One America News Network and True Pundit, and liked by Donald Trump, Jr. in which Gateway Pundit's Lucian Wintrich claimed "EXPOSED: School Shooting Surviver Turned Activist David Hogg's Father in FBI, Appears To Have Been Coached On Anti-Trump Lines (Video)."

Ex-Representative (R-GA) Jack Kingston, SM claimed "sorrow can very easily be hijacked by left-wing groups who have an agenda.... Do we really think 17-year-old on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally? ... Organized groups that are out there, like George Soros, are always ready to take up the charge, and it's kind of like instant rally."

Most comprehensive was Fox News" Todd Starnes, who manages to blame the "mainstream media," Saul Alinsky,"liberals," "indoctrination camps," public schools, and government (sort of a double trifecta) when he rants

The mainstream media is cynically using a lot of traumatized teens from Parkland, Fla., in their latest shameful attack on President Trump and the National Rifle Association.

It's right out of the pages of "Rules for Radicals" -- turning innocent children into propaganda pawns to peddle a fake news narrative....

Honestly, we can't fault the kids. They have been through an unimaginable ordeal, and long before that, their minds were poisoned by liberals who believe there's something wrong with the Second Amendment.

So when you hear the youngsters spouting off about how the NRA should be destroyed and how NRA members are child killers -- take a deep breath and understand they have been brainwashed by government-funded indoctrination camps - pardon me - public schools.

Others could have been cited, such as Dan McLaughlin, "The Baseball Crank," who wrote in National Review “if you have ever been, or known, a teenager, you know that even comparatively well-informed teens are almost always just advancing arguments they’ve heard from adults.”

This approach seems to have been ripped from an old playbook. The right has employed this tact for years in legislating against reproductive choice.

Slate's William Saletan found that in the days after candidate Donald Trump slipped and stated "there has to be some form of punishment" for a woman who procures an illegal abortion (a statement he later retracted)

 “Women who choose abortion often do so in desperation and then deeply regret such a decision,” said March for Life, which organizes the annual rally of pro-life organizations. “We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.” Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said many women turn to abortion as “an escape route from a life of unbearable shame, secrecy, and hardship.”

The Susan B. Anthony List, another pro-life group, said punishment should be reserved “for the abortionist who profits” from the transaction, not for the woman whose male companion “drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.” Charles Camosy, a pro-life scholar and author of Beyond the Abortion Wars, added that even in the absence of explicit male pressure, women should be spared punishment because they’re “coerced into having an abortion as a means of having social equality.” Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, said Trump was wrong because “women who have had abortions are already in a prison of guilt and shame.”

It could be called hypocrisy or cowardice. Some opponents of gun safety legislation have in recent days avoided blaming outside forces for the activism of students urging control of firearms. But those who have succumbed to shifting responsibility are frightened at the backlash which ensue upon criticism of young people, particularly of individuals whose friends were cut down by gun violence.
Like the vast majority of opponents of reproductive choice, these persons lack not only good sense, but the simple courage to identify their adversaries honestly.

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