Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dear Attorney General Holder

On paper -- or rather, in e-mails -- it looked like a good idea. Physical intimidation worked during the 2000 Florida recount, why wouldn't it work just as well at town meetings in 2009? Because in 2000, we didn't have the PATRIOT Act, that baggy omnibus legislation rammed through a supine Congress in the wake of 9/11, which has been used to designate practically anything, including the wearing of an anti-Bush t-shirt at an airport, as an act of terrorism. Surely rioting at a public meeting is an act of terrorism. If you can be tased for asking a question of John Kerry, what should you get for shouting down Arlen Specter?

When the far right concocted the PATRIOT Act, it never occurred to them that one day they would be out of power and that it might be used against them. Well, they are, and it should. As long as this thing is law, the Obama Justice Department should make use of it. Round up a few of the noisiest terrorists and lock them away without frills like habeas corpus or bail. This is war. The apologists for terrorism and the inciters to riot will squeal. Let them. I seem to remember that inciting to riot was a crime long before 9/11, often invoked against people peacefully demonstrating for civil rights or an end to the Vietnam War. How would John Boehner like to share a cell with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck, one retching from alcohol withdrawal while the other, unmedicated, pounds his head on the bars? I guarantee ten million hits on YouTube.

The right counts on liberals and progressives to be the adults, to be willing to allow all points of view and to encourage free speech. Disappoint them. Take control of the debate. Don't be afraid to use their weapons against them. It's not a fair fight if only one fighter is wearing gloves.

Is it too soon to talk about revoking the naturalization of Rupert Murdoch? Maybe get a jump on the paperwork? OK, another time.



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