Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Black Man Dies Protecting the Holocaust Museum

Stephen Tyrone Jones had worked for six years as a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum before he was (allegedly) killed today by avowed white supremacist James Von Brunn.

Jones was a black man, protecting the Holocaust Memorial. Think about that for a moment.

What greater symbol of how wrongheaded the anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers are can there be than the image of African-Americans standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Jews and Gentiles, whites and Asians, guards at the Memorial, protecting both the history and the spirit of what resides within those walls, helping to ensure that we never forget the evil that was done.

And what does it say about the fringe elements in this country that a Holocaust Memorial needs armed guards?

How long will we continue to tolerate the hate and violence? Suddenly, the Homeland Security report on the threats posed by extreme right-wing groups doesn't seem so far off base, does it?

Anti-abortion foe kills doctor. Converted Muslim kills soldier and wounds another outside a recruiting office, and maps of Jewish organizations, a Baptist church, a child care center, a post office and other recruiting stations were found on his computer. And now, the killing at the Holocaust Memorial.

Two might be coincidence, but three is a trend.

Firearms purchased in this country have skyrocketed since it became apparent that Barack Obama would be elected president. There are reports of ammunition shortages. Right-wing talk radio, web sites, and television pundits are spewing hate-filled diatribes that have no basis in fact.

Still think the DHS report was a politically-motivated manifesto created to insult conservatives and hard-working, honest Americans, as was posited by Rush Limbaugh and his ilk? Or better yet, by leading Republicans in the House and Senate?

Think back to the scores of videos that were posted during the 2008 election cycle that clearly documented McCain-Palin supporters embracing some of the very same rhetoric that came from the mouths of Von Brunn and accused anti-abortion killer Scott Roeder. Similar views have been espoused by Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity - the list goes on and on.

It does not take a genius to recognize that these right-wing extremists are involved in an incestuous hate-fest, with each other and with the media types who continue to pour fuel on their racist, violent fires.

Nor does it require mental gymnastics to see the dichotomy between Republican over-the-top Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers domestic terrorist hyperbole and the very same hard line conservative radio silence when similar acts are committed by those on their end of the political spectrum.

Let us mourn the deaths of three men who were honorably serving their country and their community, all operating fully within the law, and let us condemn the acts of cowardly, rage-filled fanatics whose philosophies are so outside the mainstream that they choose violence in an attempt to effect change that will never occur through the peaceful, democratic process that this country represents.

More importantly, let's begin to hold accountable those who stoke the fires, because their mothers apparently failed in teaching them that actions have consequences.

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