(What follows is a letter to the editor I submitted to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It wasn’t published, so I offer it here.)–JK
In his recent Journal Sentinel column (“Wisconsin GOP isn’t seceding from reality”), Christian Schneider accuses the economic protest movement known as Occupy of “darker strains of leftism” including anti-Semitism, as well as “just about every other ‘ism’ history has rejected . . .” Schneider offers no evidence for this broad accusation in attempting to construct a nuttiness equivalence between Republicans and Democrats. Not much reality in Schneider’s argument.
A NY Times article from 2011 notes two separate individuals– one in NY and one in LA– at open Occupy protest rallies holding signs criticizing “billionaire Jews” or “Zionists” they claimed were in control of Wall Street. Neither person was a prominent spokesperson for Occupy, nor were they Democratic public figures. To say, as Schneider and more prominent conservative pundits have done, that this tiny display of nonsense at a public rally somehow represented a significant “strain” of the Occupy protests or something like a minor creed of liberalism is absurd and irresponsible. American liberals have historically been the most opposed to the various forms of hate and injustice.
Contrary to what Schneider claims, the Republican Party has essentially become the Libertarian Party, as Rep. Paul Ryan’s latest budget proposal proves. Secession is clearly not a mainstream Republican idea, but other extreme libertarian notions– corporations are people, global warming ain’t our fault, social welfare harms the poor, the ACA is socialist and unhealthy– certainly are. In fact, the only good idea libertarians have (cutting back on defense spending) is the one idea most Republicans, including Ryan, reject.
“Seceding from reality” is now common and de rigueur in the GOP.
Postscript: The Journal Sentinel did publish one very short (and very good) letter related to Schneider’s column. It’s the last letter, so scroll all the way down.