Written by Thomas D. Segel
Harlingen, Texas,: Hateful rhetoric is wrong, be it from the far left or the far right of the political spectrum. It is wrong for citizens at town hall meetings to shout out denigrating slurs at their elected and appointed officials. It is even a greater wrong for the Administration in power and political leaders to call concerned citizens "Nazis", "mobs", and other degrading identifiers.
It is true that Americans are very angry at just about everything taking place in Washington. They are angry at excessive spending; a poorly structured nationalized health plan and the elite snobbery or self-righteous attitudes displayed by people who are sent to the nation's capitol to be servants of the people.
By far the most angering incident I have witnessed was the White House call for Americans to report all "fishy" comments, misinformation or aggressive speech to Washington. Be this a call for citizens to police the conduct of their neighbors or an action reminiscent of similar practices by totalitarian regimes, it has been another wrong-headed move that has enraged the country. I have written hundreds of political commentaries over the years, but nothing in the past has generated such strong public response as an article last week titled "Making The Enemies List". Public anger to that White House request is mammoth to say the least.
Dozens upon dozens of notes and comments have been filling the mailbox all week. Among some of the more interesting is this one from John Sutherland of Portland, ME. "Boy did I misunderstand the intent of the disinformation czar's chatter. I thought, in the interest of keeping everyone honest, that we should send along reports that are providing misinformation. I've already turned in the Hawaii Department of Health for their disinformation efforts. I guess I really screwed up that effort to be open, honest and transparent."
The American Center for Law and Justice writes, "Make no mistake, this outrageous attack on free speech is designed to stifle public debate about health care issues - including growing concerns from Americans opposed to making abortion services mandatory health benefits."
Louise Wilson of St Louis, MO says "Give me liberty or give me death is ingrained in our DNA. I too, have sent Washington an email so they won't have any trouble finding me."
Jerry Jackson, writing from Hawaii says, "The only thing I sent the flag address is a tea bag." Another who thinks he too is on "the list" is retired Marine Colonel F. Phil Torres. He writes "I am honored to be in the company of real critical-thinking American citizens. I detest the Chicago mafia gone national. I want the sheeple to wake up before it is irreversible." Another friend, Colonel Wayne Morris, USMC (Ret) comments on the "Making The Enemies List" commentary saying "Another great article smack dab in the middle of the V-Ring!!!!" For those of you who do not support the Second Amendment, that means right in the center of the target.
Bob and Lucy Sewell think they have already made the White House enemies list. They say they have been sending out emails because they are "Standing up for their rights and for the rights of American citizens.
Jo Dermody is a Marine widow. Her husband was a Major who flew combat missions in Vietnam. Writing for Little Meadows, PA she says, "I spend every week day calling congress people, governors, etc. I am a conservative GOPer. However, if they don't shape up soon, I will become an independent." She agrees with the article and thinks she is on that infamous list.
Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center reflects, "Remember the good old days, when one only had to watch out for the Federal Government's twisted interpretation of the commerce clause to justify tyranny? Well those days are long gone. The Obama Administration has been employing an old tactic lately -what some might call an imperial threat - and they're not doing it overseas, either."
William Bloomfield had a very interesting thought. "I, too, have reported myself to the "brown shirt" central at the White House", he said. "The great thing about this is that the White House MUST keep a record of all correspondence in or out of the White House. So, these words will become a matter of public record."
Robert William Butler, Jr. knows the White House has tagged him.
To be fair to all concerned, not everyone agreed with the article about making the enemies list. Thomas A. Richards, a retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel from San Diego California took acceptation to the conversations we have over lunch at Rotary. He feels I violated some Code of Rotarians by suggesting our President should refrain from collecting the First Amendment protected words of fellow citizens. He charges the article reveals, "A significant amount of blatant hatred that I cannot help but attribute to racism. Sad and shameful." He concludes by remarking the article suggests, "All Rotarians are in agreement with his ignorant, racist, and paranoiac rants."
Another writer from the Floresville area of Texas, who only identifies himself as "Joey" says, "The good thing about healthcare reform is that they still won't be able to extend the life expectancy
of old white people long enough to save the GOP." Along with that
comment comes a similar one from John Ewstat of San Antonio, TX who writes, "The demographics are against the Republicans. There are not enough dumb people to replace your generation."
Ken Semlinger of Poth, TX has this suggestion for the writer. "You
should write your articles under phony names like your detractors.
At least it would take the goon squads longer to find you. Oh, I forgot, you speak the truth."
Louis Hall says, "Most of us are on the list. Time to band as one unit." Franklin Rogers requests, "Add my name to the list. We are in
good company with those who signed the Declaration of Independence."
Tom Knight reports, "I am on the enemies list, too!" Craig Roberts agrees and says, "Roger that! I'm sure I'm on the list multiple times." On the same topic Jeff of Right Side News.com reports "Concerned Americans are taking their voices collectively to D. C.
four buses are booked just from our local groups here in Richmond, Virginia and it is growing...yes sir!"
Finally, my friend, author and fellow former combat correspondent, Charles W. Henderson of Colorado sent this thoughtful and worrisome note. "I was in LA This spring doing an ABC News 20/20 segment. The producer, a Columbia journalism grad, told me that their background on me revealed that I was on Obama's watch list. I told her I had zero clue. I love America and would defend our President with my life, no matter who he is. I am certainly no threat to any of our leaders duly elected or legally appointed. I then told her about a similar list created by Joseph Stalin. During the 1930's he had those people executed in two major purges. This is one aspect of Stalin that drew him together with Hitler and kept them close until Hitler attacked Russia on June 22, 1941. Even then Stalin could not believe that his friend had betrayed his years of support and good faith."
I seriously doubt The Administration has any plans close to those historical similarities, but I will continue to follow the Reagan doctrine when it comes to those we have placed in high office... "Trust but Verify!"
Thomas D. Segel