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Voices of Hate, Voices of Blame

The Oklahoma City bombing was an unspeakable crime. Nonetheless there is going to be a whole lot of speaking in the aftermath—much of it in the form of verbal finger-pointing. The liberals and the media have begun a morbid frolic blaming this terrorist attack on anyone who is the least bit conservative or runs in any way against the crowd.

Obviously many home schoolers are conservative, and we all run against the crowd. Be prepared for barbs, accusations, and suspicions. Indeed it has already begun.

Jesse Jackson blamed "angry white males," who are widely credited with the Republican landslide, for creating rhetoric that led to the bombing.

Bill and Hillary Clinton interrupted Saturday morning cartoons to shamelessly engage in subtle blame shifting. "People are told over and over again it's okay to hate, it's okay to lash out, and that is a wrong idea," the President proclaimed. But Clinton's words have to placed in their political context. "Hate" is an accusation regularly leveled against anyone who disagrees with liberalism, multiculturalism, internationalism, or promotion of homosexuality. The operative definition of "hate" in this milieu is: disagreement with the liberal view.

Undoubtedly the worst attack was in the "venerable" Time magazine (May 1, 1995, page 48) which proclaimed:

    The grisly mix of fertilizer and hatred that detonated in Oklahoma City last week appears to provide stark evidence of something many Americans have denied: the existence of paranoid, violent thinking within our borders. Just what are the tenets of this thinking? And did they figure in last year's election returns?

    Like other political movements before it, the radical right in America today has its extremist component, which plainly was a force in the 1994 elections….

    These politicians and others drew on widespread mistrust and even hatred of government power in Western and rural areas. Their coalition included well-known elements of far-right though: tax protestors; Christian home-schoolers; conspiracy theorists influenced by the John Birch Society's fear of one-world government; Second Amendment activists (mostly men) for whom guns are an important part of an independent way of life; self-reliant types who resent a Federal Government that seems to favor grizzly bears and wolves over humans on government land.

Even though Time includes a technical disclaimer that such groups are "several giant steps" from the bombers, the magazine's implication is clear: these groups of people are worthy of suspicion, loathing, and distrust.

Time, Jesse Jackson, and the Clintons are engaging in high-stakes scapegoating. They employ words of blame, but in reality they are fanning the flames of group hatred. The irony is stark. While claiming to speak out against hatred, in reality they are promoting group-based hatred of anyone who disagrees with them or marches just a little outside of their own view of the "mainstream."

Time's linkage of Christian home schoolers and other legitimate American citizens with the bombers of Oklahoma is not merely inaccurate, unfair, and deplorable—it is ugly and naked bigotry of a very advanced form.

We have to stop attempting to find societal scapegoats for every disaster in our country. The bombers who killed, maimed, destroyed, and ran are responsible and should pay for their villainy with their lives. When the political right blames Janet Reno for this disaster and when the left blames Christian home schoolers, talk radio hosts, and other conservatives for the bombing, both are guilty of denying the principle of personal responsibility and engaging in political scapegoating. This kind of blame is nothing more than thinly veiled group hatred.

Obviously hatred, correctly defined, is wrong. We are commanded by God to love everyone, including our enemies. Anyone who claims that any sort of terrorist violence is done in the name of God commits blasphemy. It is also true that anyone who claims to promote tolerance by castigating innocent groups of American citizens is an outright fraud.

It seems apparent that the cowards who bombed the federal building were lashing back at a government which they believed had gone too far in blowing up the people in Waco, in shooting Randy Weaver's family in Idaho, and in trampling on the Second Amendment and other provisions of the Constitution.

A lot of very peaceful citizens share some or all of these frustrations. Citizens who speak out against "too much government" are no more responsible for this bombing than legitimate civil rights leaders who spoke out against racism were responsible for the race riots in Watts and Detroit in the late 1960s.

If Time, Jesse Jackson, and Bill Clinton succeed in their scapegoating tactics, anyone who voices their view that the "government has gone too far" will be continuously accused of having encouraging the violence. If they make this charge stick, it will be demagoguery's finest hour.

— Mike Farris