The grassy knoll of the far-right mind?
Salon today has a rather long article listing and discussing various right-wing Obama hysteria claims, such as:
- Obama is the Antichrist;
- he is determined to take away your guns; and
- he is trying to flood America with Palestinian refugees
But what struck me as particularly disturbing about the article, especially in light of Bill O’Reilly’s repeated and vocal linking of Dr. George Tiller to Nazi eugenicists, is the far-right’s readiness to link Obama to Nazism and eugenics. Specifically, there are people on the right who loudly and persistently claim that Obama is a eugenicist, and he has a program in place akin to the Hitler Youth, which will be used by him to maintain his power via unlawful thuggery.
The clear implication of some of the far-right’s rhetoric is that Obama should be assassinated for the good of the Republic, and for the restoration of the rule of law.
In short, I can’t help but fear that the murder of Dr. Tiller was watched very closely by some Lee Harvey Oswald-type Dostoevsky “underground men” for clues as to how an Obama assassination might go down, and how it might be dealt with by right-wing media outlets. I felt, for example, that Bill O’Reilly’s shrugging dismissiveness and defiant—“I had nothing to do with it”—defense of his own rhetoric directed at Dr. Tiller is precisely the kind of response that Fox News and Shout Radio will muster in the event that President Obama is assassinated while in office. In other words, there are obviously people on the far-right who are hoping to generate the atmosphere for an assassination, even as they plan to declaim responsibility should it happen.
This is a painful subject for liberals, and we don’t even want to think about the assassination of President Obama, and what it would mean for America. Indeed, within the Salon article there is a sense of ironic disbelief, as if to say, “Surely, these people cannot be serious. They’re crazies. And the smarter among them must be joking!”
But the far-right is serious. Deadly serious. We are not even six months into Obama’s presidency, and since the election the far-right has become more hysterical, not less. That ought to tell us something.
In fact, toward the beginning of the Salon article, the author was clearly trying to make light of—and mock—Obama hysteria by saying,
“Marooned on a grassy knoll of the mind, the right has spun new and scarier fantasies about the president, tales that would send any patriotic, gun-toting Christian fleeing across the border to Canada, if only the Canadians weren’t so damn socialist.”
Grassy knoll? Scarier fantasies?
Freud would say, “In your attempt to make a humorous remark, have your ears heard what your mouth has spoken?”
Here’s O’Reilly defending his Tiller rhetoric in the aftermath of Tiller’s murder. For Tiller’s name, you can simply substitute Obama’s (should he ever be assassinated):