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Persecution Complex, Perhaps?

Posted by Chance on March 28, 2006

Sometimes, when we are critical of a certain person, administration, or belief system, we tend to attack not that particular thing, but rather, a caricature of it. We, at times, have a tendency to demonize someone or something we disagree with, and ascribe to it characteristics that are not actually there.

My first example has to do with the American liberals attack of the Bush administration. Now, I am not saying no one can disagree with the Bush administration, there are things I disagree with, though these are typically different issues than those raised by liberals.

Some liberals, especially those in the entertainment industry, characterize the Bush administration as an evil empire crushing all those who dissent. They have this idea that the Bush administration punishes those who disagree with its policies.

Case in point, from the lyrics of the Green Day song, Holiday,
“Zieg Heil to the president gasman
Bombs away is your punishment
Pulverize the Eiffel towers
Who criticize your government
Bang bang goes the broken glass and
Kill all the fags that don’t agree
Trials by fire, setting fire
Is not a way that’s meant for me
Just cause, just cause, because we’re outlaws yeah!”

Now, I was not aware that the U.S. was planning to take military action against any nation simply for disagreeing with it. Now, sure, I understand many disagree with the Iraq war. Many countries, including France, do not support the U.S. operation in Iraq, and these countries have been criticized by our government officials. But since when has this criticism turned into military action? I realize the song is meant to be an exaggeration, but its supposed to be an exaggeration of an idea that is already there. There is always the guy driving around with the bumper sticker “Invade France”, but this is hardly representative of the feelings of the current administration. Our leaders have had hard feelings towards countries like France, but I have had no indication that these feelings are hostile.

Another case in point is an episode of the Simpsons called the Bart-Mangled Banner Episode #FABF17 in which “the Simpson family becomes portrayed as unpatriotic and un-American, getting them thrown into “re-education” therapy, where they escape and migrate to France.” (quoted from snpp.com) In this episode, the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore get thrown in jail for disagreeing with America. Since when did these celebrities get in trouble with the law for their viewpoints?

Now, part of the problem seems to lie in that people confuse government sanctions with social sanctions. Radio stations stopped playing Dixie Chicks songs, people protested their comments about Bush, etc… but these were individuals or groups speaking their disagreement, not government sanctions. The Dixie Chicks were not censored by the FCC, at least not to my knowledge, it was radio stations exercising their right to play the music they want to play. Half of America hated Michael Moore for his “Farenheit 911” movie, but these were citizens expressing their own dissent, not the government taking action against his movie. Sure, some politicians lambasted the film, but a politician saying that they disagree with the movie, or even that it is unpatriotic, does not equal the “crushing of opposing viewpoints.” How did popular disagreement with these celebrities equal the government throwing people in jail? I thought the Simpsons writers were smarter than this.

During the Iraqi War, I heard so many columnists talk about how they are being “silenced.” Hollywood celebrities would talk about how there was this fear among their circles of speaking out against the war. How so? Now, citizens and politicians may have deemed opponents to the Iraq War as “unpatriotic”, which is, I admit, unfair, but this does not equal the silencing of their viewpoints. When I say I disagree with the minimum wage, people may call me a heartless <>, and while I disagree with name calling based on opinions, I do not think such critics are trying to silence me.

My point is, people are ascribing characteristics to the Bush administration that I do not believe are there. Liberals in the entertainment industry are always talking about how they are being silenced, but they are confusing social sanctions with government sanctions, and they are attacking a characterization of the administration. Maybe I am just naive, but I am not aware of this country taking a large-scale police action or military action against those who disagree.


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