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Right wing done wrong

Letters to the Boston editor, June 19, 2009

As someone who is Republican by party and conservative by inclination, I must take issue with your editorial “Right Wing Terror” on several fronts.

First, it is true conservatives objected to the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism. Yet you failed to mention the reason for this objection. Conservatives objected to the claims that “returning military veterans” were vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups without supplying evidence to back up their assertion. You also failed to note that Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano issued an apology to veterans because of the language in the report.

Second, I am not aware of any mainstream conservative individual or organization that has condoned the assassination of Dr. George Tiller. Within hours of Tiller’s death, pro-life organizations, such as the National Right to Life Committee, issued statements denouncing his murder. Moreover, Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly condemned his murder and welcomed the Department of Justice’s investigation into it.

Third, you must do better than to confuse incendiary caricature with incisive commentary. Imposing the faces of O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and Gingrich on Klansmen is juvenile. Insinuating Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were racist borders on defamation. In so doing you not only diminish the meaning of racism, you diminish yourselves. Are you unaware that Nixon issued an executive order in 1969 requiring federal contractors to hire minorities? Are you ignorant of Reagan’s efforts to open up the state civil service to African-Americans while he was governor of California? The fact that you would liken Scott Roeder to Barry Goldwater indicates you don’t know very much about conservatism.

Fourth, Roeder killed another human being in cold blood in a house of worship. No matter how much one might have disagreed with Dr. Tiller’s methods, it did not warrant the taking of his life. Roeder ought to be executed for his crime.

Fifth, you note that seven abortion providers and staff were murdered during the Clinton administration. Two of those people were Dr. John Britton and his bodyguard James Barrett, who were murdered in Florida by Paul Hill in 1994. Hill was executed in 2003 by the order of then–Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who had refused to commute his sentence. Conservatives and Republicans might not favor abortion, but they don’t favor the murder of abortion providers, either.

Aaron Goldstein
Jamaica Plain

Your recent editorial/diatribe on “Right Wing Terror” sets a new low, even for what passes as political commentary these days. You begin with the absurd conflation of the New Left with what you call the “New Right” — as if groups like the Congress of Racial Equality and the American Nazi Party had anything in common. You then proceed to assassinate the character of the late Senator Barry Goldwater, whom you allege to be the godfather of homicidal fascism in America.

As a matter of fact, Goldwater was vilified as a Jew by the extreme right when he made his presidential bid in 1964. He took the lead in ending racial segregation in his home state of Arizona. Goldwater was pro-choice on the abortion issue. He repeatedly spoke out for the right of gay men and women to openly serve in the US armed forces, etc.

You conclude this display of ill-considered rhetoric with an attack on Rush Limbaugh — for his physical appearance! Thus you have degraded political discourse down to the level of schoolyard graffiti — something even Limbaugh himself has yet to do.

All in all, your editorial is an exhibition, not merely of your apparent ignorance in so many areas, but of your complete contempt for the intelligence of your readers.

Martin Comack

Related: Right-wing terror, The blessing of abortion, Federal judge: more rights for the unborn, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, Racial Issues,  More more >
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