Thursday, October 14, 2010

Demonizing America - Part I: RECENT UPDATES TELL THE STORY

How they demonize. 
Who they demonize. 
Why they demonize. 
- A Four-Part Series
As a rule I define Christof***cists as existing in two groups: the Elmer Gantrys (Rick Warren, Pat Robertson, Creflo Dollar, Rod Parsley, etc.) who are snake oil salesmen in love with their own snake oil; and, the Elmer Fudds, the gullible and unwitting followers of the Gantrys, but no less dangerous since Fudd's the one with the gun.
                                                      - The Elephant In The Room, OpEdNews, 02/06/09

In colloquial usage, the term demonization is used metaphorically to refer to propaganda or moral panic directed against any individual or group.
We've seen the results: America is becoming a nation of the bullies and the bullied. For Religious Right groups and media personalities, for gubernatorial candidates and city councils, demonizing rhetoric is the weapon of choice to harass, discriminate, degrade and (sometimes) kill the people they think are a drain on their society. And although the recent spate of teen suicides in the country seems limited to issues of sexual orientation, demonization has seeped into the public consciousness and spilled over into issues of politics, race, immigration and class struggles. The "bully pulpit" has become firmly entrenched in our American psyche and it shows no evidence of abating. In fact, it's escalating. 

In the last year, we saw a new symptom of demonizing become part of our legal lexicon: righteous assassination. The term applies mostly to people who perceive someone's "immorality" to be evil and detrimental to the rest of the country. Byron Williams, the would-be terrorist against the ACLU and the Tides Foundation was about to commit "righteous assassination" when he was stopped on California's Interstate 80 outside of Oakland, CA. He mentioned inspiration from FOX-News and Glenn Beck (read the UPDATE below). And before that incident, we were horrified at a shooting at a Unitarian Church in Knoxville, TN because the accused "targeted the congregation out of hatred for its liberal social policies." 

Demonization works.

Tony Perkins and his Family Research Council have been very busy juggling demonizations of President Obama, DADT, the "gay agenda," health care reform, everyone "liberal," "activist judges" and, well, the list goes on and on; so it might seem that FRC is the only organization doing the demonizing. WRONG. It only seems that way, because the FRC has been quicker and more vocal. The other demonizers are still out there in full force, taking notes from Perkins. Case in point: what Perkins and the FRC did in the last 24 hours shows its dedication to A-1 demonizing:


The ruling by a Federal district judge that the policy of DADT in the military is unconstitutional has garnered quick response from RR bullies across the country.From the FRC:
Once again, homosexual activists have found a judicial activist who will aid in the advancement of their agenda.
"Homosexual activist", "judicial activist", "agenda." These are demonizing buzz-words coined by Mr. Perkins himself. They may not seem as powerful as other words, but one must realize that Perkins has been using these words in the context of "destruction" of family values, "destroying" America and "demoralizing" lovers of liberty. And Perkins has used "agenda" ever since he produced his pseudo-documentary "The Gay Agenda" in 1996. This putrid piece of anti-gay propaganda is still making the rounds of churches, proving that demonization can be profitable.

And Perkins' demonizing buzz-words will be aped by people like Bryan Fischer and Pat Robertson (the judge, of course, signed a pact with the devil).

Teen Suicide UPDATE:

Another gay teen-related suicide occurred in Norman, OK. This one apparently as a result of a city council meeting where anti-gay sentiments were strongly voiced. Zach Harrington, 19, committed suicide one week after he attended a Norman City Council meeting during which residents of Norman expressed displeasure at having Norman declare October as LGBT History Month.

[Van Harrington] feels his son may have glimpsed a hard reality at the Sept. 28 council meeting, a place where the same sentiments that quietly tormented him in high school were being shouted out and applauded by adults the same age as his own parents... Some members of the audience even suggested that any council members voting in favor of the proclamation may have trouble getting re-elected.
Sometimes the demonizers turn the tables and re-demonize: Tony Perkins recently reacted to the stories of gay teen suicides by relaying faulty and erroneous statistics showing that gays have greater mental health problems than heterosexuals in a WaPo op-ed piece:
[H]omosexual activist groups like GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) are exploiting these tragedies to push their agenda of demanding not only tolerance of homosexual individuals, but active affirmation of homosexual conduct and their efforts to redefine the family. There is an abundance of evidence that homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression. However, there is no empirical evidence to link this with society's general disapproval of homosexual conduct.
But there is evidence: Tony Perkins and all his minions have been busy demonizing homosexuals so much it's amazing that we don't have more teen suicides than we do. (NOTE: the latest suicides are only a part of the larger picture - teen suicide rates have been rising for years).

And his tactics are just as nefarious: the sources he cites have been critical  about Family Research Council's free-handed jumbling of their research and statistics.


Even though it has been only three hours into this writing, you KNOW that demonizing will take place concerning the latest news: (read Pam's House Blend for the full story)

“Florida has today done grave harm to the well-being of vulnerable children who will be raised in homes with role models who cannot provide them with the true vision of what family life should be,” Matt Sprigg, Family Research Council
That was FRC's last demonizing response to repealing the ban. 

Of course, we have yet to hear what the Perkins cabal has to say about the Washington Post's interview with domestic terrorist Byron Williams:

Glenn Beck UPDATE: 10/12/10 - 11:40 AM ET

Glenn Beck's nemesis, Media Matters, has just released an in-depth interview with Byron Williams, the man who engaged in a shootout with police on California's I-80 Interstate in Oakland when it was discovered that he intended to kill people at the ACLU and Tides Foundation in San Francisco. Previously, in an Oct. 6th interview, Williams stated that Glenn Beck did not coax him to violence, but the just-released audio interviews reveal the extent Beck had indeed demonized the Tides Foundation and the ACLU. Columnist Dana Millbank, writing for the Washington Post conducted the interviews:

The columnist calls Beck an “enabler” and says the FOX host is dangerous because  “his is the one voice in the mass media that validates conspiracy theories held by the unstable.” 
Byron Williams was the perfect example of an Elmer Fudd. He was someone willing to do whatever the RR bullies and Glenn Beck wanted him to do: act on their rhetoric without being directly implicated.

Up next: The long history of demonizing.

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