From the 10 May 2010 Lockport Union Sun and Journal (Lockport, NY)
 

MINIMIZING DISSENT
By Bob Confer

Michael Bloomberg may be a billionaire and the mayor of New York City, but that doesn’t mean he can’t say some stupid things. In an interview held last week with Katie Couric of CBS News he speculated on the make-up of the mastermind behind the attempted car bombing of Times Square. Despite his city once being horrifically attacked by Islamic extremists, he said the car bomber was "homegrown, maybe a mentally deranged person or someone with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something." It was announced within minutes of the close of that news broadcast that the perpetrator was nothing of the sort. The suspect is Faisal Shahzad, a Muslim who was born in and was heading back to Pakistan.

To confidently assume that the bomber was a government critic – a Tea Party type of person - shows what Bloomberg and countless other elected officials think about the American citizenry. In their eyes, those who are critical of the government are deranged (and therefore can’t be taken seriously) and/or one step away from inflicting violence upon their fellow citizens and their government. Many politicians are guilty of thinking this way, from town halls to state houses to the White House.

Our past two presidents perfectly exemplify this rapidly growing disrespect that our government has for those critical of it. The role of the presidency is supposed to be something above such politicking and posturing, but, alas, Bush and Obama have made it acceptable to throw barbs at dissenters and viciously label them as anti-American and anti-human. Bush played that card ad naseum, he and his cronies painting those against the Patriot Act and other similar atrocities as classless individualists who value the trivialness of self over the supposed well-being of everyone else. Obama has followed suit, saying the same about those who are against bailouts, health care, and climate legislation.

The mainstream media, specifically at the national level, helps push this whole thing along. Katie Couric of course had nothing to say in response to Bloomberg’s outlandish comment. Anyone worth their salt as a reporter would have asked him to expound on it or broach the greater possibility of the suspect being a Muslim. She and her ilk also give Obama a free pass with his constant derision of naysayers and folks of the Right mindset (half the US population mind you) by at once fawning over his agenda and his methods. Also, the press is somehow influenced into splitting its priorities: They spew relentless negative coverage of peaceful Tea Party demonstrations yet haven’t touched the countless illegal immigrant protests that are a real threat to America, full of known lawbreakers who actually threaten – and commit - violence against our country and its legal citizens.

Tactics such as these have been used by the ruling class for as long as we’ve been a nation, though not in the volume and relentlessness that it is today. What accounts for this ever-growing purposeful silencing by minimization? It’s definitely because the government feels more threatened than ever before. In just the past ten years the Internet has made it extremely easy for people across the nation to connect with and educate one another on the goings-on in their communities and in Washington. And, not only is our electorate now more educated, but they’re a lot angrier, too. Just look at what’s fed their rage since the turn of the century: Domestic spying, 2 wars, inflation, higher energy costs, clean energy fiascos, a debilitating recession, trillions in giveaways to Wall Street, a public sector that won’t make sacrifices, new and higher taxes, and much more.

We have just cause to be mad and we have the right to do something about it. So, if you are a dissenter – which I hope you are - don’t be discouraged by those in power who look to silence you. Keep yourself informed on the issues. Keep complaining. Keep introducing new ideas. Above all, keep up the fight...somebody has to.

 

 

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