Today's News & Views
April 16, 2009
Lumping Pro-Lifers In With "Rightwing Extremism"
Part One of Two
By Dave Andrusko
Editor's note. Part Two
reviews Bernie Goldberg's delightful book on how the mainstream media covered Obama. Please send your comments on either or both parts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're a veteran of this the grassiest of grassroots movements, you know that part of the drill for the Pro-Life Movement is to be linked to whomever it is a given commentator is using to try to pigeonhole and marginalize us. You can't just be opposed to the wanton slaughter of defenseless unborn babies. You have to be in cahoots with [fill in the blank]. This recurrence is as predictable as swallows returning to Capistrano.
That does not mean there is an ounce of truth to it. It does mean that smear tactics are a perennial hazard that we face.
My email box is filled with links to the recently published Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report on "Rightwing Extremism" which, in an evidence-free footnote, included pro-lifers.
When you read something this stupid you are tempted either to overreact or ignore it altogether. Let me try a middle-of-the-road approach.
Just a few words about the overall report produced by DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The full title is "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."
I skimmed the report the first time through, then read it closely a second time. And then, just to be sure I wasn't missing something, I read it a third time. I needn't have put in that much time. One page into the nine-page report and a fourth-grader could have figured out that the authors had come with a pre-determined conclusion.
Its reasoning is painfully, embarrassingly shoddy and supportive evidence of actual threats non-existent. It's entirely speculative--about what might happen if "x" or "y" comes to pass. A conversation over the water cooler carries as much weight and would be much more balanced.
So how did the report arrive at the conclusion that rightwing extremism "may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration"? Let's back up a second to see how we got swept in.
The report bifurcates "rightwing extremism" into hate groups and those that are "mainly anti-government."
Do pro-lifers hate "particular religious, racial, or ethnic groups"? Of course not, and there is not a shred of evidence in the report that suggests we do. In fact, it is the Abortion Industry that targets minority communities.
How about "antigovernment"? Coursing through the veins of every pro-lifer is an abiding faith in the capacity of government to change. That's why we are active in all 50 state legislatures and in the halls of Congress.
I guess even the dim-witted authors of "Rightwing Extremism" grasped that we fit neither of these categories. So they just lumped us in by employing the all-purpose "may" word. Again, not a word to explain why pro-lifers should be tarred with the extremist brush.
From the earliest days of the Obamamania phenomenon, the "mainstream media" has let us know in unsubtle and unmistakable ways that it is close to un-American to criticize what he proposes or what he stands for. We have never allowed that to stop us from opposing the policies of any man who carries water for the Abortion Establishment with both arms. Nor will we.
I don't do paranoia. But I do believe that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."