April 21, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Yesterday, on the fifteenth anniversary of the attack on the federal office building in Oklahoma City, former President Bill Clinton had an op-ed in the New York Times headlined: “Violence is Unacceptable in a Democracy.” The article settles any doubts about whether Clinton was one of the most talented demagogues of modern times.
Casting a net of collective guilt over much of the 48 contiguous states, Clinton announced that the 1995 bombing was the fault of people who believed “that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them.” People who distrusted government helped echo ideas which somehow persuaded “deeply alienated and disconnected Americans” to carry out the attack.
In other words, people who harshly criticize the government are guilty of – or at least complicit in – mass murder.
It would be difficult to contrive a storyline to better exonerate all government actions. We still know far too little about the actual facts of the Oklahoma City bombing. We do know that the perpetrators were guilty of a heinous crime and deserved the harshest punishment. But that is a topic for a different day.