...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
      ( 2:47 PM )
Democracy Burning

Thanks to HyLo for the link to Hesiod who brought up an article today that shows that dissenters are still targets of violence in this country.

Fire officials think an arsonist angry with a
family’s anti-war sentiments likely started a
fire that woke the family from its sleep Monday


Fire Chief Larry Shifflett called the fire "suspicious"
and said the blaze probably began when
someone set fire to an anti-war sign hanging on
that side of the porch.


The family had hung the sign on the porch two
months ago after vandals continued to rip the
same posted sign from their yard.

The sign, now reduced to ashes, told of the
number of Iraqi civilians and coalition forces
killed since the war began in March, Nickels said.

"We’re trying to reflect a concern for people,"
Nickels said. "That war is bad for everybody.
It doesn’t serve us well in the global community."

The couple’s house has also been egged and
just last week, someone ripped down a flag
promoting world peace from their porch, Nickels said.

Only this time, the vandal didn't stop at egging them, he actually set their house on fire and they escaped with their children in tow before the sun was even up. This is absolutely horrifying. The Justice Department is busy busting people selling bongs and nitwits who unwillingly and unknowingly associated with the wrong Arabs while actual would-be murderers will most likely be ignored.

This was a political hate crime - it was not merely some local criminal on a spree. There was a proven pattern of hate-crime actions against this family for their political views, which they were free to express on their own porch. This family could have been killed because someone felt that it was more important to terrorize them for their belief that the war was wrong than it was to merely disagree with them. This is abhorrent. And unfortunately, it's not an isolated event. People who dissent with the government's view are still in danger, especially in communities where conservative isolation is the dominant viewpoint.

What's really sad, though, is that if the people who are lambasting the dissenters would only sit for a moment and think about it, they would realize that indeed, they too are worse off now than they were before Bush took office. They too are in dire economic straits, supporting the majority of the tax burden, which is now going to pay for the ongoing quagmire in Iraq, and they aren't any safer.

Why are there people like this anyway? Whatever happened to looking out for your neighbor? Whatever happened to "I don't agree with you, but I'll defend your right to say what you believe"? Whatever happened to human decency? The signs of fascism are everywhere, and when I hear stories like this, somehow I'm not comforted that we still have a year to go till it's stopped. But at least it's only a year.

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