If you are going to pursue truth, you have to be prepared to change your mind!
An Open Letter I sent to the WAMU Diane Rehm Show broadcast on NPR
Re “National News Roundup” of Friday, June 5, 2009
Dear Ms Rehm et al:
I am writing to (1) suggest an alternative approach for coverage of the Dr. Tiller murder andof the otherr extremist actions of some in the abortion protest movement, and (2) express my disappointment, in the strongest terms available to civilized discourse, in Juan Williams’ comparison of those anti-abortion movement extreme elements to the civil rights workers of the 50's, and 60's and 70's.
First, I believe that “the media”should be calling the violent extremists in the anti-abortion movement (the extremists being, I believe a minute segment of that movement) what they are: domestic terrorists.
There have been thousands of attacks and threats of attacks on abortion doctors, clinics and employees, including at least 10 murders. (See, also, http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_viol.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence)
The intent to terrorize and intimidate abortion providers has been made explicit - for example, by some among those extremists advising abortion doctors that body armor that it won’t protect them because the assassins among them will be shooting for the doctors’ heads. (The very fact that doctors believe they need armor for protection against attack itself demonstrates the terrorism spread by those extremists.)
(An aside: That has been organization among those terrorists is established by the conviction a few years ago of Cheryl Sullenger of conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic. Sullenger is now a “senior policy analyst” of the leading anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue. Perhaps she has been rehabilitated and is now a productive citizen. Perhaps an alcoholic in recovery can work as a alcohol product promoter in a bar ans stay sober. Perhaps not.)
There are domestic terrorists among the anti-abortion groups, and I believe the various media are at least irresponsible when they ignore that reality. (I don’t know if the principles of journalism ascribe to the concept that all that is needed for evil to triumph is to stand silent. If they don’t, I believe that concept should be considered.)
Second: I believe Juan Williams’ comments on Friday should shock the conscience of people of good will.
He compared the anti-abortion terrorists and their broadcasting cheerleaders to people in the civil rights movement, who were willing to go to jail for protesting the outrageous inequalities in our society and for the right to express their beliefs.
The civil rights workers and the heros among them were engaged in non-violent civil disobedience.
The anti-abortion terrorists are involved in killing, bombings and threats of serious physical harm and other forms of intimidation.
In short, the civil rights workers were non-violent, the extremists among the anti-abortion movemnt are violent.
Just as Bill O’Reilly should be regarded as morally culpable for celebrating a pre-mediated murder in a house of worship (not to mention his incitement of such domestic terrorism over the years, I believe Mr Williams should give serious consideration to the comparison he made on Friday’s show.
Although I often don’t agree with Mr. Williams positions, they are generally thoughtful and considered.
His comment on Friday was, I hope, the exact opposite of reasoned and considered, and I believe that he will be willing to reconsider them.
I believe those comments were, sorry to say, odious, and that Mr. Williams owes a retraction of them and an apology to the thousands of folks who peacefully battled to advance the reach of the civil rights in America, which rights have served as an ever-brightening beacon of aspiration and hope across the centuries.
BTW: if Mr Williams is looking for a comparison between the anti-abortion terrorists of today and the protests of the 60's and 70's, may I suggest the violent-prone “Weathermen,” “Symbionese Liberation Army” and the other splinter group violent outcasts from the ranks of those who have and who continue to promote change and a vision of moral behavior through peaceful means - including the non-violent civil rights protesters and the vast majority of peaceful anti-abortion protesters
Respectfully, and a strong fan of your show,