Hate: Starring now on radio, on television, and in town hall meetings across the nation

October 11, 2009

Hate and force cannot be in just a part of the world without having an effect on the rest of it. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Hatred seems to have become embedded in the fabric of our nation. The haters sending their message through the airwaves and web have taken their hate to new levels since President Obama has been elected.

It seems that the primary purpose of hate radio and television programs featuring Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and their types is to allow some egotistical commentators to make money off of listeners who are mostly people who will blindly follow them without analyzing, fact checking, or even thinking for themselves. We heard them encourage the tea baggers to hijack the town hall meetings on health care reform. We listened to them celebrate that Chicago lost the bid for the Olympic games only because President Obama had backed the bid.

Now the haters are attacking the President for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Rush Limbaugh proclaimed:
"Our president is a worldwide joke. Folks, do you realize something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn't deserve the award. Now that's hilarious, that I'm on the same side of something that the Taliban, and that we all are on the same side as the Taliban."
How sad that people who wrap themselves in the American flag and claim to be oh-so-deeply-patriotic can celebrate the fact that a U.S. city lost the bid for the Olympic games or attack our president for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe one reason that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize was because the world is hoping that he can restore the reputation and character of United States so it can once again be a true and respected leader among the nations of the world.

Free speech protects haters. Pumping out propaganda and untruths is not illegal. Spewing hate across the airwaves is a constitutional right. Pushing an agenda of lies is accepted. Being united in a shared hatred has become the norm. Still many are wondering is there a line that should not be crossed?

Most political groups hold their meetings at public halls, but apparently not all of them. The Sun Sentinel reported that members of the Southeast Broward County Republican Club met at a local rifle range in Broward County, Florida to take more than political aim at Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). The group used handguns, A-K 47 and AR-15 assault rifles to fire at cardboard silhouettes, one of which had the initials DWS.

From the article:
The aims, said club president Ed Napolitano, were to have fun, educate club members who were new to shooting — and send a political message.

"Why are we here? Because we're Republicans and we appreciate the fact that we have the right to bear arms," Napolitano said. "Without the Second Amendment, I don't think the other amendments would hold up. I think they would just be suggestions that the government would decide to do whatever they want."...

One of the shooters at the Tuesday evening event was Robert Lowry, a Republican candidate hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston. Lowry's target had the letters "DWS" next to the silhouette head.
Lowry said he didn't know who wrote Wasserman Schultz' initials on his target, but said he knew they were there before he started shooting. He initially described it as a "joke," but after answering several questions he said it "was a mistake" to use a target labeled "DWS.
I first met Debbie Wasserman Schultz when she served as a Florida state legislator and I was lobbying on behalf of the teacher's union. She is a gutsy, honest spokesperson for the Democrat Party and is a defender of educators and the middle class. That activity is anything but a joke, but it certainly is a reflection of how bad behavior has become accepted.

Surreal may be the correct word to describe the current American political scene. Several gun toting protesters showed up at public town hall meetings because they could. One protester with a pistol strapped to his leg attended the New Hampshire Town Hall where President Obama spoke. Racist posters and signs directed at our President spring up at protests and are posted on the web. One KKK member has a huge sign outside his restaurant in a small town about 45 miles from Atlanta, Georgia which reads: Obama’s plan for health-care: Ni**er rig it.

The Southern Law Poverty Center reported an increase in hate groups in America with 926 active groups thriving across the nation. They also reported the return of anti-government militias. The evaporation of civil discourse has left many people with frayed nerves and flaring tempers.

Is this spread of hatred arising out of helplessness, frustration and a horrible economic climate or is it seriously directed at our president as radical partisan attacks as some suggest? If you tune in to hate radio or television programs, (or read about their content in the news) it certainly appears that much of the hatred is directed at our president.

The Americans who I talk to are fed up of the rhetoric, the political games, and all of the hatred. We want to see health care reform, reform of financial institutions, comprehensive immigration reform, and serious political debate about important issues that is not jaded by propaganda and untruths. We expect our elected leaders to represent us, not special interest groups and lobbyists. Perhaps my Representative, Alan Grayson (D-FL) best summed up how political games are getting in the way of what the American people really want and really care about:

Read the Harvard report that Rep. Grayson referred to in his speech.

Happy Birthday Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt former first lady, and human rights, women's rights and labor rights advocate was born 125 years ago today. She is credited in part for the 1938 enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act that established the minimum wage, over time pay, child labor laws, and the 40 hour work week.

Mrs. Roosevelt is renowned for her work with the poor. In 1945 she was appointed by President Harry Truman to lead the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She played a prominent role in helping to draft the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt was also the first woman to be a radio commentator. I am sure if she were alive today she would shudder if she tuned into hate radio. Or perhaps she would start a campaign to change the climate of our nation. Happy birthday to a true American heroine and role model.


Anonymous said...

Sure can tell you are a teacher. Thanks for the excellent article.

the teacher said...

Chamberonomics 127...spin doctors

The hate rhetoric from Fox News is disturbing. Their campaign of propaganda is dismissed by intelligent people, but society must be concerned about the least educated, because their misunderstanding of world affairs is the racism, extremism, and religious fanaticism we see in the world today.

Anonymous said...

Biba Alan Grayson!

Wendy said...

Alan Grayson was at the Democratic Convention this weekend in Orlando, Florida. He was a rock star. He reminds me of Dennis Kucinich who I supported at another Florida Democratic Convention when he was running for president. Honest, straight talk, no bull, has a heart and empathy. He cares more about people and doing what is right than about his political career.

Watch his speech in Orlando

Alan Grayson ran for Congress "to make the world a better place." He came from the projects in the Bronx and went to Harvard. He filed lawsuits against Iraq contractors on behalf of whistleblowers and got millions returned to the US government. He has brains, a heart and a fantastic sense of humor. read more

Anonymous said...


The White House is taking on Fox:


the teacher said...

Thanks for the above link.

Fox news has become a TV version of a cheap tabloid.

They are a disgrace to America.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, I agree with you that we should all be concerned about inciting hatred, but as a conservative, I may have a different view than you as to what constitutes hate speech. I'm no fan of Rep. Grayson, who on the floor of the House said that "Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick." As a Republican who has very strong objections to the health care reform proposals that have been put forward by the President and his fellow Democrats--objections which I believe to be principled, well thought out and based upon compassion--I found Grayson's remarks to be not only childish but also hateful.

Having been both a liberal and conservative, I have noticed this: Partisans on each side tend to focus on the excesses of the other, and tend to tune out the excesses of their own side. This leads people to believe that their side is morally superior not only because their policies are better (which is, after all, why we choose one side or the other), but also because they are better people than the people on the other side. "Our" side is as pure as the driven snow; "their" views can only gain currency through lying, cheating, fear-mongering, etc. At least in the context of American democracy, I think that the need to believe not only in the superiority of your policies, but also in the moral superiority of those who support your policies, is not particularly helpful. Why listen to people who are morally inferior to you? And isn't it immoral to compromise with the morally inferior?

I think that many liberals sincerely believe that the type of criticism that President Obama is receiving is unprecedented in history, but as a conservative Republican, I believe that the hateful attacks that President Bush was subject to were far worse. Whether you're right or I'm right on that score is beside the point: It's a waste of time to argue whether conservatives or liberals are better people, and it only serves to distract people from the substance of debates that will be crucial to determining what type of country we will have in the future.

I suggest that fair-minded people on both sides take the following approach: Engage people on the other side on the substance (and I know that you do engage on substance, Wendy), rather than trying to prove that people on the other side are inherently more prone to corruption, dishonesty, hate, political expediency, etc. Try to unite with people on the other side by condemning excesses on both sides, but recognize that there will be honest differences of opinion on what is and is not hateful (and that it always sounds worse when it's directed at your side). For example, I don't agree that Hannity and Beck are hateful, although his criticism of Obama is certainly incessant; I don't listen much to Limbaugh and don't really care for him, but do not necessarily trust criticism of him that comes from the left. You might not agree with me that Olbermann and Dowd are hateful, but I can respect that.

Anyway, that's my opinion.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 1:55

Thanks for your honest and thoughtful comment. I do not consider speaking the truth hate. Yes, it was wrong to group everyone in the "Republicans want the sick to die quickly remark." In context it made sense and I know what he meant, but you are right it was improper too. I don't follow Dowd at all. Olberman is usually too intense to watch, but I will watch to see what they say.

I support listening to both sides. I think it is necessary to get at the best possible solutions. It is hard to hear what the other side is saying when it is clouded by nasty remarks and actions. I do NOT support staged rallies, led by political groups (Dick Armey) and radio talk show hosts telling people to disrupt town hall meetings. Now that is hateful and counterproductive. I do not support going to shooting ranges and shooting at a mock Debbie Wasserman Schultz target. I don't support hate groups, militias or bringing guns to meetings attended by any president of any political side.

I also am not saying that liberals are righteous and always right and conservatives are not. I think there are many great conservatives with great ideas, some are my friends. I have voted for Republicans. Unfortunately, the conservative movement has as their cheerleaders talk show hosts who spread venom and hatred. If they do not represent what the conservative views are why are they still on the air?

It is a fact that the hate radio/TV conservative hosts that are inciting hatred and partisanship. I do not need to prove that because anyone can pull up transcripts or watch youtube videos to witness it. Their remarks show that they are promoting divisiveness - "I hope the president fails" "The best news ever -Chicago lost the Olympic bid"...)

Hateful attacks on Bush were wrong also, you are correct. But there were no hate radio talk show hosts speaking against Bush all day, hoping that he failed -which to me means that our country fails. It's not about who is right or wrong. It's about changing the climate. It's about telling the truth and stopping the lies and propaganda.

None of what I said has to do with a concept of moral superiority or who is better, or who is right or wrong (because sometimes -many times - we disagree with those who we support). It has to do with stopping divisiveness and hatred. Do you support the signs, the talk show hosts remarks, the shooting at a mock Debbie Wasserman Schultz? The militias? the hate groups? Is this the United States you want to live in? That you want your children and grandchildren to live in? Can you remember when it wasn't like this? Do you remember the kinder, gentler America? I do! These things need to be checked. Covering them up is not going to help. As long as these things are happening in my country, I will point them out and hope that if enough people object, it will be changed.

Anonymous said...

Here is another link:http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2008/02/14/hate-radio’s-‘political-cesspool’-to-shut-down/

ACR said...

Oh come on. President Obama himself said that he didn't deserve the honor and it wasn't based on his accomplishments.

I guess that places the President in the same category as the Taliban and Rush Limbaugh. It appears that everyone is beginning to recognize that the Nobel Peace Prize has been politicized.

Anonymous said...


"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."
Oslo, October 9, 2009"

No, the president should not be placed in the same category as a drug addict radio announcer or terrorists.

If the Nobel committee wants to politicize a prize, that is their choice. It is their prize to give.

the teacher said...

It is difficult to imagine that an honorable American, or any person, would intentional try to discredit or defame another person who has so sincerely sought to improve the reputation and standing of our nation.

I suppose this was the subject of the post, hate mongers, war hawks, and subscribers to Fox News sentiments.

Wendy said...

Hello ACR

The president humbly said that he does not deserve to be in the company of so many transformative people who received the prize, and then he added a "but". Rush Limbaugh and the Taliban did not have a "but" in their remarks, which were clearly meant to disparage the president.

What President Obama said (emphasis added):
This morning, Michelle and I awoke to some surprising and humbling news. At 6 a.m., we received word that I'd been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that throughout history the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes.

That is why I've said that I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations and all peoples to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. These challenges won't all be met during my presidency, or even my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone.

This award -- and the call to action that comes with it -- does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.

So today we humbly recommit to the important work that we've begun together. I'm grateful that you've stood with me thus far, and I'm honored to continue our vital work in the years to come.
Thank you,
President Barack Obama

Isn't the prize really about honoring work that can lead to peace? After all, there is no peace in the world so if what the naysayers are claiming is true, no one would have "deserved" a peace prize.

I congratulate my president for his efforts to promote world peace.