During the 12-year insanity of the Third Reich, Nazs labeled their acts of savagery as “self-defense.”
But any nation that dared to defend itself against Nazi assault was instantly charged with “naked aggression.”
This remains the mindset and practice of American Right-wingers.
The latest example: The enactment of the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Officially, the Act allows any individual or corporation to cite its religious beliefs as a defense when sued by a private party.
But its opponents argue that it will unleash widespread discrimination against gays and lesbians. And they’re now threatening or organizing boycotts of Indiana.
Among those companies and organizations publicly opposing the law:
- Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
- Apple Inc.
- The National Basketball Association
- Angie’s List
- The Disciples of Christ
- Eli Lilly and Co.
So, in the end, economic pressures may force the Right-wingers who seek to legalize discrimination to back off.
Exactly this happened in 2012.
Karen Handel, vice president of public affairs for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, fashioned what she believed was a politically viable plan for Komen to pull its grant monies from Planned Parenthood (PP).
A fanatical anti-abortionist, she didn’t care that this money went entirely for breast cancer screenings for poor women. She careed only that about 3% of all PP revenues went toward providing abortion services.
The official version, as put out by Handel and the top brass of Komen, went: “We’ve halted grants to Planned Parenthood because it’s under investigation by Congress for misuse of funds.”
Unfortunately for Komen, the public instantly saw through the lie.
Any crank in Congress can start an “investigation” into anything.
And PP was “under investigation” by just such a crank: Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Stearns, a fanatical anti-abortionist, claimed he wanted to determine whether PP had spent public money on abortions over the last decade.
But Stearns didn’t hesitate to slander the patriotism of thousands of 9/11 “first responders”–the police, firefighters, construction workers and others who risked their lives to save their fellow Americans.
“First responders” at work at World Trade Center
He did so by demanding that they submit their names, birthplaces, addresses, government ID numbers and other personal data to the FBI to prove they were not terrorists.
Only then could they receive federally-subsidized medical care for injuries caused by exposure to toxic dust and debris at the site.
Public outrage at Komen was immediate and overwhelming:
- More than 50 members of Congress signed letters asking Komen to reverse course.
- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg publicly rebuked Komen and pledged $250,000 to PP.
- Approximately 37,000 people from all over the country signed a petition demanding Handel’s resignation.
- PP raised nearly $3 million in contributions.
Reeling before this onslaught of criticism, Komen issued a statement: “We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants.”
Having failed in their latest assault on women’s rights, the Right’s would-be predators now portrayed themselves as victims:
- “The last time I checked,” Handel told Right-wing Fox News, “private non-profit organizations have a right and a responsibility to be able to set the highest standards and criteria on their own without interference, let alone the level of vicious attacks and coercion that has occurred by Planned Parenthood. It’s simply outrageous.”
- “Planned Parenthood campaigns to destroy anyone who questions them,” charged Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.
- “Their attitude is that of an immature teenager with an enormous sense of entitlement. This is just more proof that Planned Parenthood will pulverize anyone who dares to question them,” Dannenfelser said.
- “What Planned Parenthood did to that venerable and honorable organization [Komen Foundation] is nothing less than a Mafia-style shakedown,” said Steven H. Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. The Fund bitterly opposes abortion, gay marriage, birth control and the separation of church and state.
Many conservatives correctly defended Komen’s right, as a private charitable organization, to give–or withhold–its money as it saw fit.
But these same conservatives refused to grant PP’s outraged supporters the same right:To withhold their own contributions from Komen.
National Review’s Daniel Foster called the backlash to Komen “disgusting,” attacking PP and “the Left” for their “gangsterism.”
During the battle for Stalingrad, in 1942, a young German soldier named Wilhelm Hoffman was appalled that the Russians refused to surrender. In his diary he wrote:
German soldiers at Stalingrad
“September 26. Our regiment is involved in constant heavy fighting. After the elevator was taken the Russians continued to defend themselves just as stubbornly.
“You don’t see them at all, they have established themselves in houses and cellars and are firing on all sides, including from our rear–barbarians, they use gangster methods. Stalingrad is hell . . .“
What held true for German Fascists holds equally true for those in America: Oppose their efforts to enslave you–and you become a gangster.