April 14, 2009

Whose a radical?

I heard at work today that the Department of Homeland Security had put out some kind of memo that effectively labeled a whole lot of people radicals. I thought it was exaggerated, but then I read the memo:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

OK, I don't consider myself a radical or someone who hates... but I am a Catholic and I am opposed to abortion. I also think we should protect our borders. Are there no "haters" on the left? The paragraph above certainly reads as if all hate emminates from the Right. I certainly don't like the wording chosen for this document by the Department of Homeland Security. Along with he above lumping of everyone on the right in with hate-mongers, you have wordings like this:

Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.

I certainly don't like the coining of the word "rightwing" rather than the proper "right wing." And don't you think nearly everyone in the country, right or left, are chattering about the economy from their own perspectives? Crazies on both sides will do crazy things.

Debates over appropriate immigration levels and enforcement policy generally fall within the realm of protected political speech under the First Amendment, but in some cases, anti-immigration or strident pro-enforcement fervor has been directed against specific groups and has the potential to turn violent.

Debates over immigration generally fall within the realm of the First Amendment? Generally? Ain't that a kick in the pants kind of statement.... the Department of Homeland Security is deciding now what free speech is?

Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms.

Ya think? Do you notice how people are being lumped together? If you're against abortion, if you're against gun control, if you're against illegal immigration... extremist! This is really a ham-handed, self-fulfilling document. What is the goal in releasing a document like this? It scares and angers the very people it identifies as paranoid and angry. If the government describes your positions as radical and warns law enforcement about you... are you being paranoid? The evidence is right there, in black and white! Doesn't it make you angry to be described as an angry person by some government bureaucrats you've never met?

Update: A nice analysis from Powerline

Update: Another nice analysis from Big Hollywood's John Romano

Update: Yet another interesting analysis

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