(The following commentary is from “Brutally Honest”, hosted by David 2, which airs every Saturday night at 7pm ET on ShockNet Radio. The transcript is posted here with the author’s permission.)
“Don’t Tread On Me”
It’s a statement, a threat, and a warning.
Continental General Christopher Gadsden used that slogan for his flag during the American Revolution. The first maritime flag of the US Navy had thirteen stripes, a snake, and the statement “Don’t Tread On Me”.
The people who use that statement are sending a simple message: Don’t cross us. Leave us alone. Don’t get us angry, because you won’t want us angry. Like the snake imagery that often accompanies this statement, the warning is clear… this person is angry… this person is pissed… and this person is ready to strike if they feel the slightest bit threatened.
But underneath that statement is a second one that has manifested itself of late. A little fine print that also serves as a threat and a warning.
Underneath “Don’t Tread On Me” is the codicil that says “Don’t Blame Me”.
“Don’t Blame Me” when things go bad. “Don’t Blame Me” when tragedy happens. “Don’t Blame Me” when people get hurt or when lives are lost. “It’s not MY fault”, they are quick to proclaim, when their rhetoric leads to tragedy.
These are the groups that talk about revolution. They talk about the fear of invasion, the fear of an all-powerful enemy LURKING in the shadows, creeping into our neighborhoods, taking over EVERYTHING in society and threatening to destroy EVERYTHING that we hold dear in this world. They are the ones beating the WAR drums and using the WAR rhetoric. “We are AT WAR” they proclaim, “and the enemy is all around us… and if you’re not WITH US, then you’re with THE ENEMY! DON’T TREAD ON ME!”
So last week a little tragedy befell the country of Norway. A government building was bombed in the middle of Oslo. Ninety minutes later a gunman dressed as a policeman opened fire in a youth camp in the nearby island of Utøya. Over seventy lives were lost, many of them teenagers.
And according to the police there, BOTH incidents were done by the same person. The same TERRORIST by the name of Anders Breivik.
Only this TERRORIST wasn’t Muslim. This TERRORIST was CHRISTIAN. This TERRORIST was a CONSERVATIVE that BOASTED through his online postings that he was going to do this to spark a revolution, to start a war AGAINST Muslims, AGAINST liberals, AGAINST multiculturalism, AGAINST the things that he claimed were destroying Europe and destroying his country and destroying everything that he holds dear. A church-going CHRISTIAN that proudly boasted about the righteousness of the Crusades and used the Knights Templar as his inspirations.
“Don’t Tread On Me!” he shouts, echoing the voices in this country.
And now those same voices that were screaming “Don’t Tread On Me” over here are saying “Don’t Blame Me” for this.
“Don’t blame us” say the conservative and neo-conservative voices in the United States. The very people that have been opening their sewer holes and spewing an ENDLESS deluge of WAR rhetoric; the very people that have been quick to brand ALL MUSLIMS as INVADERS, TERRORISTS, JIHADISTS, MURDERERS; the very people that have been quick to brand all liberals and all moderates and anyone else who doesn’t agree with them as being TRAITORS, SYMPATHIZERS, ANARCHISTS, and a PLAGUE on society, a CANCER that MUST be excised from the societal body; the very people that talk endlessly about the THREAT of immigrants, the EVILS of multiculturalism, the SCOURGE of anything different; the very people that are quick to paint their adversaries and critics with the BROADEST of a blame brushes as possible, blaming them for EVERYTHING under the sun; those same people are now looking over at Norway and the tragedy that has befallen that nation and they are actually saying…
“Don’t blame us for this. It’s not OUR fault that this happened. WE didn’t tell people to blow things up. WE don’t advocate terrorism or violence or bloodshed. This guy was a loner. He was a lone nutcase. He’s crazy. HE’S not a part of us, and WE OBJECT to ANYONE painting US with the same broad brush that we use on everyone else!”
“Don’t blame us,” they’re saying. “Don’t blame us.”
No… No you conservatives and neo-conservatives DO NOT have the luxury of getting away with saying “Don’t Blame Me”. Not now. Not anymore!
For DECADES now, conservatives and neo-conservatives have been painting the world with a broad brush, pinning EVERY wrongdoing, no matter how slight, as being part of some creeping EVIL. Every TV show or movie or book or magazine or song on the radio that doesn’t reflect THEIR ideals of how society SHOULD BE is branded as being part of some “liberal multicultural conspiracy to destroy society”. Ann Coulter makes her fortune writing books and columns accusing liberals as being “traitors” and “godless”. She puts those terms on the front cover of her books! Conservative and neo-conservative talk show hosts like Michael Savage and Sean Hannity compare liberals and moderates and anyone NOT like them as being “cancers” and “diseases” and out-and-out THREATS to the security of the United States. Fox News has continually talked about how we are in this “THIRD WAR”, or now it’s a “FOURTH WAR”, against Mexico because of illegal immigrants. Lou Dobbs, formerly of CNN and now on Fox Business, talked about how illegal immigrants supposedly tried to kill him for talking about them in a negative way.
THEY are the ones that have been chanting “With Us or Against Us! WITH US or AGAINST US!”
Not only have they painted their opponents and critics with BROAD brushes, but they have actually CODIFIED that brush and they have turned it into a RECOGNIZED LEGAL DOCTRINE called “Negative Secondary Effects”, which allows them to blame ANYTHING THEY HATE with ANYTHING BAD that happens in society. ANYTHING!
In the minds of a conservative or a neo-conservative, if a man gets drunk and crashes his car into a family of six, it’s supposedly the fault of a strip club in the area because it serves alcohol with skin. If housing prices go down, it’s not because of the banks screwing over the American people, or because local officials aren’t keeping the roads paved or the streetlights working, it’s supposedly because of an adult book-and-video store that operates in the obscure corner of one of fifty strip malls five miles away. And they actually WRITE LEGISLATION in cookie-cutter format based ON that assertion and are given the blessings of the judicial system.
Over the past few weeks, every freedom-hating so-called “pro-family” organization out there with a fax machine and a publicist have been waging an endless crusade to get rid of NBC’s upcoming fall show “The Playboy Club” because it celebrates the Playboy Clubs of the 1960’s. Never mind that the actual Playboy Clubs were about as raucous as a church choir. Oh, no, it’s because it’s PLAYBOY, and these groups want to blame PLAYBOY and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for EVERYTHING EVIL. They want to blame Hefner and Playboy and all the fans of Playboy magazine for all of the child porn and all the sex slavery going on in the world, never mind that the most notorious abusers of children happen to belong to the Roman Catholic Church.
You cannot find a broader brush of blame than that, and that brush is being wielded loudly and proudly by conservatives and neo-conservatives in this country and by their counterparts around the world.
And yet when one of their own takes them up on their war rhetoric, when one of their own gets inspired by Timothy McVeigh and Jim David Adkisson to launch a new wave of violence by blowing up a government building and slaughtering teenagers in a hail of bullets, these same groups then say “Don’t Blame Us” for it.
When James Kopp murdered Doctor Barnett Slepian in 1998, he supposedly was a “lone nutcase”, even though he was linked to a group called the “Lambs of Christ”.
McVeigh and his friend Terry Nichols, responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing, were both supposedly “lone nutcases”, even though they were linked to militia groups.
When Adkisson went to the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church in 2008 and killed two people and wounded seven, supposedly following a hit-list based on Bernard Goldberg’s book “100 People that are Screwing Up America”, he was supposedly a “lone nutcase”.
When Eric Robert Rudolph set off a bomb in the middle of the 1996 Olympic Games and then planted bombs at women’s clinics and gay nightclubs, he was supposedly a “lone nutcase”, even though he was connected to a group called “Christian Identity”.
When Paul Hill murdered Doctor John Britton in 1994, he was considered a “lone nutcase”, even though he was connected to a group called the “Army of God”.
When Scott Roeder murdered Doctor George Tiller in 2009, he was considered a “lone nutcase”, even though there were continual calls by a certain Fox News media personality that “SOMETHING must be done” about Dr. Tiller.
Oh, and that SAME Fox News personality says “Don’t blame me for that”, and also he claims that the Norway terrorist can’t POSSIBLY be a Christian Terrorist, because according to him and his so-called “expert opinion”, there is no such thing as a “Christian Terrorist”.
All of those people, those TERRORISTS, and many more that I have listed on the air in previous shows, were all supposedly “lone nutcases”.
That’s a lot of nutcases.
But there ARE no “lone nutcases” when the terrorist is MUSLIM, are there? There are no “lone nutcases” in the environmentalist movement. There are no “lone nutcases” in the animal rights movement. There are no “lone nutcases” in the feminist movement. Every wrong move by a porn star or a centerfold model is declared to be part of the problem with the WHOLE business. Every mistake or misstep committed by individuals that are NOT conservative or neo-conservative is declared a black mark on the WHOLE group. EVERYTHING in THOSE groups are all declared parts of a MASTER CONSPIRACY of the WHOLE group and EVERYONE connected to that group and EVERYONE supporting that group and EVERYONE that speaks out in defense of that group.
Let’s get brutally honest here… it is LONG since time that we hold these conservative and neo-conservative groups to the SAME STANDARDS that they impose on everyone else. If there are no “lone nutcases” in Islam, then THERE ARE NO LONE NUTCASES IN CHRISTIANITY… PERIOD!
Yes, there ARE CHRISTIAN TERRORISTS. There ARE people who firmly believe that THEIR interpretation of Christianity MUST be imposed onto the world by any means necessary. They listen to the rhetoric from groups like the Seven Mountains Dominionists and Operation Rescue and Christian Identity and the people that proudly boast of being “Christ Warriors”. They hear the diatribes from those Fox News media personalities about a so-called “War against Christians” and a “War against Christmas” and the continual talk about WAR and THREATS of WAR concerning their faith, and they decide to follow through on all that talk of WAR, because they are also being told by those same voices that they are LOSING that WAR.
You see… necessity is more than just the mother of invention. Necessity is also the mother of terrorism, because every terrorist justifies their actions with necessity.
There are NO REAL DIFFERENCES between a Muslim terrorist and a Christian terrorist. The SAME mindset motivates them, the SAME twisted logic justifies their actions, and the SAME delusions of validation and vindication and cosmic reward inspire them. Virgins, grapes, pearls, golden crowns, golden scrolls; it really makes no difference. The only differences between them are SEMANTICS and the DELUSIONS of those whose pompous self-righteous, self-serving ARROGANCE refuses to admit to the existence of the latter while whipping up conspiratorial fantasies of the former, and then blaming the world for not going along with their lies and misdirection.
When a dog is trained and goaded into attacking people, you don’t just blame the dog for being a menace to society, especially when they DO attack and maim and kill. You blame the dog’s owner. You put the responsibility on the people that trained that dog to attack, that told that dog to attack anyone it sees, and then rewards that dog for following through.
And while a human being is supposed to be more advanced than a dog and is supposed to know better, history has shown that the same kind of conditioning works for humans as well as dogs. We make soldiers by the tens of thousands every year and BOAST that we can turn anyone into a killing machine. All they need is motivation and a target; the two things that the Christian groups and Fox News have been providing in abundance for years.
So if you’re going to sit there with your “Don’t Tread On Me” T-shirt, holding a Bible in one hand and the American flag in the other, and you talk about a “War” on Christians and the “encroaching invasion” of Islam and illegal immigrants, and the “threat” of multiculturalism, and the need for “revolution” and “Second Amendment remedies”, you don’t get to then claim innocence and ignorance when someone takes you up on that kind of message. You have FOREFITED NOW AND FOREVERMORE the LUXURY of saying “Don’t blame me” when YOUR WAR RHETORIC leads to acts of bloodshed.
And I would also suggest that you put away that huge brush of blame that you like to wield about, lest someone like myself takes that brush away from you and then slaps you in the face repeatedly with it until the lies come out of your brain so the truth can finally sink in.