Liberals and Treason

Liberals and Treason
Erin Solaro

There is a reason why liberals like myself are typically reluctant to call things, such as Major Hasan’s treason, by their proper name.

Two, actually.

The first is that you will be attacked, and quite savagely, by your fellow liberals. So-called. Anything is grounds: minor grammatical errors, using formal, dignified language. Facts (like a number of incontrovertibly dead bodies) become meaningless and context (shouting Allahu Akbar before butchering your comrades, as opposed to offering it as a prayer of gratitude for being allowed to save someone’s life) changes nothing. Everyone who’s spent any time on the internet knows exactly what I’m talking about and has probably experienced it once or twice. Anonymous people will feel free to attack you and other anonymous people will quote them. As someone whose real, legal identity is readily visible even when I write under a screen name, I have a word for this kind of behavior, whether on the left or right. Cowardice. (As an aside, I have to tell you that the largely conservative forum of which I am a member believes the issues it handles are important to us all, so it simply does not tolerate that kind of behavior.)

The internet is a giant vomitorium, largely because of anonymity, but that doesn’t mean that this behavior doesn’t go a long way towards justifying, indeed causing many people who are decent and moderate in their behavior towards others, to seek anonymity. But even when one has obscured one’s identity, these kinds of attacks are profoundly unpleasant. I’ve been subject to them more than once and I always feel contaminated by observing this behavior: disgusted and shamed for the perpetrators and saddened for my country and its culture. This is what we have done with our freedom. Many thoughtful, intelligent people are subjected to that once and decide Never Again. Not Worth It. I don’t blame them. I have, from time to time, a hope that spirited but very civilized public conversations are possible with people who are anonymous. I have unfailingly been disappointed.

The second is that you can quickly find yourself in some unsavory company. I had a woman write me about my assertion that Major Hasan’s actions are, in fact, a prima facie case of treason. Within two emails, she was asking me what I thought about people like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright? After I got over my Who? reflex, I said that they had nothing to do with the problems America faces, but I knew of some Treasury Secretaries and Fed Chairmen who were very responsible. In the space of 4 emails, she went from telling me we were liberal conservatives or conservative liberals who could disagree with each other to telling me we couldn’t discuss politics. Then there was an email I received from a man who liked what I had written about Major Hasan who thought I would like to know that he had posted it on his website, along with a formal accusation of the usurper President and his evil wife for treason. I have an impulse, which I have so far resisted, to email the man back and ask him whether or not he is able to read. I know he can cut and paste: he excerpted from my previous post the Constitutional definition of treason. So in the off-chance he can read, I repost it here.

The Constitution defines only one crime, and that is treason. ‘Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.’ The Framers clearly had no intention of allowing policy disputes and political disagreements or even criminal stupidity and misconduct to defined as treason—much less on the basis of hearsay, rumor-mongering or racism. Moreover, the only evidence accepted is two or more witnesses to the same overt act, or a confession in open court. And every American attempt to expand that definition has failed.

I have come to accept that my experiences saying things that people don’t expect from someone of my political views are a reflection of this country. An ugly, unpleasant, profoundly true reflection. There is an enormous amount of justifiable anger out there: ordinary working people across the demographic spectrum have been sold out and betrayed by the political and commercial elites across the political spectrum and there is no end to that betrayal in sight. However, we are a nation far gone in learned helplessness and passivity: we pay people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and, very likely soon, Lou Dobbs to get angry for us. And if as a writer, you say something people disagree with or dislike and can’t refute, they explode with anger and vitriol, rather than face the oncoming freight train that is America’s future.

My poor country. My heart bleeds for this Republic that I so love.


One thought on “Liberals and Treason”

  1. Well,let’s see… He was an Officer, that had sworn to uphold the Constitution and defend it from enemies within and without. Then, apparently, killed his fellows.

    Sounds like treason to me. Not to mention the other crimes…

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