Crazies to the Left of Me, Crazies to the Right

Paragons of opposing ideologies, Roger Moore & Bill O'Reilly.

Michael Moore is a paragon of liberalism in America while Bill O’Reilly is a paragon of conservatism. You know what they have in common? They both require full-time, twenty-four/seven, professional security services to keep them safe from the crazies running around in America.

This observation comes from having recently read a Newsweek article about Moore’s need to hire former Navy Seals as body guards and a second article about O’Reilly’s new book on American History. The author of that article mentioned he and O’Reilly being accompanied by armed security guards as they went to lunch.

It is quite possible that O’Reilly has interviewed Moore face to face. If such a meeting has taken place I’m sure it did would not have required the presence of armed body guards. It is quite possible for two persons of greatly differing views to discuss their differences without resorting to Jerry Springer style physical brouhahas. Barack Obama and George W. Bush have demonstrated many times that they being in the same room with each other doesn’t require bouncers to keep the peace.

The shame is that there are too many on either side of the ideological divide who just can’t accept a challenge without threatening a violent response. These are the people who make threatening phone calls or send death threats via email. These are the people who feel the need to cheer for the death of those dying yet have no health insurance. Those who feel the need to cheer in support of the death penalty but not insist guilt be firmly established before the fatal needle be inserted. It is they who loudly berate an American combat soldier who announces being gay and asks nine candidates for president what they would do about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if elected. It is also they who support the cowardly silence of those nine presidential candidates as some in the crowd booed and jeered a person who, if they were not gay, would have otherwise been referred to as a “hero.”

As several of my conservative acquaintances often say, “Not everyone is the GOP is like that.” I have no problem accepting that claim. As my title affirms, there are crazies at either extreme and most party members have traditionally been moderate in their views. It is just, that in today’s political reality the greater number, or at least the loudest, are on the extreme right and their power far exceeds anything the extreme left has available. There is no left-wing Tea Party equivalent with backing from large corporations or mega-billionaires such as the infamous Koch brothers.

You may now feel the urge to mention George Soros. Well, okay, Soros is a supporter of Democratic and liberal policies, programs, and candidates but nothing to the degree of the Kochs and he is small potatoes compared to all the army of Kochesque contributors and corporations backing the Tea Party. Although things may be changing, with Rupert Murdock’s blessings, the far-right has even had its own cable television propaganda network.

To me the reality is that regardless of whether someone is in the middle of the road or lying along the berm, we need a higher degree of basic civility than appears to exist in politics today. If the Democrats were seeing the same things take place during their party functions and did nothing to quell it, they would be just as wrong as the GOP is in not condemning those who have blackened their most recent presidential debate series. The leadership of either party should refuse to tolerate these recent examples of disgraceful behavior.

A conservative might ask, “What would Reagan have done?” Well, I know what Reagan would have done, I witnessed him doing it once. During his reign as governor of California I was present at a speech gave at Cal-State Fullerton when a student protester disrupted his talk. In short order that student became a non-student and was escorted off campus. That’s what the GOP should have done when the first loud jeer roared over the voices of those on stage. For every vote they should have shown the door, they would stand to gather two or more from the great American middle. I wouldn’t have the ammunition to write this article and the GOP wouldn’t have the stain of cowardly behavior on their shirt front.

As a footnote, two things have happened since I began this piece. First Bill O’Reilly appeared on the September 28, 2011 Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The two opposite pole personalities sat within striking distance of each other, verbally spared and exchanged barbs, laughed together, and parted company in peace. I don’t know what security was present off camera. Secondly, Michael Moore appeared at an Occupy Wall Street rally in NYC and it was obvious, when the camera shot was “widened,” he was heavily protected. Muscular men, in casual clothing, ear tab wire running down the neckline and into their shirts and giving close attention to all that was occurring around Moore.

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