First, Grayson did not compare Republicans to Al Qaeda. But if he had, he would have been on the right track.
I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and have faced various forms of retaliation for daring to expose Republican corruption in our state courts and to write critically about the Bush Justice Department, especially its handling of the Don Siegelman and Paul Minor cases in the Deep South.
I know, from firsthand experience, that Alan Grayson is right--Republicans can, and do, act like terrorists.
In my case, which also has very much involved my wife, retaliation has come in the form of threats to our property and our livelihoods. It's what I have called "financial terrorism." And it has been quite effective.
We've been harassed by unethical debt collectors. I was unlawfully terminated from my job at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where I had worked for 19 years in various editorial capacities. Last September, my wife was mysteriously terminated from her job at Infinity Property & Casualty, where she had worked for three years.
The bottom line? Our finances have been ruined, and we are essentially unable to hold jobs--despite our solid work histories--all because I've stood up to the corrupt conservative elites who run Alabama. The elites who are behind my cheat job are direct descendants of Karl Rove's influence in our state--and they are the same general crowd that orchestrated the bogus Siegelman prosecution.
Want to know more about how Republicans practice financial terrorism? I've outlined our experiences with it in posts here, here, and here.
My wife and I hardly are alone on the front line in Alabama. I know of a tenured professor who has been targeted for unlawful treatment at UAB because he teaches labor history and economics, has ties to the union movement, and has been involved with (gasp!) "liberal" politics. We will be writing much more about that case shortly.
Some might say, "Schnauzer, you and your wife have been through the wringer, but you are still alive; you aren't dead. Therefore, it's wrong to compare your experiences to terrorism."
Well, that depends on your definition of terrorism--and we have examined that subject in a post titled "Dubya: The Terrorism President." While some see George W. Bush as the president who fought terrorism, I argue that he is the president who actually fostered terrorism--on our own soil. And the Bush brand of terrorism was driven largely by a Rove-led hostile takeover of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Here is one definition of terrorism that I find instructive:
Terrorism: The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives.
We've been conditioned to believe that terrorism involves bombs, airplanes, injuries, and death. But the definition above indicates it can be more subtle than that.
And as two individuals who have been targeted by the GOP, my wife and I can state for sure that we feel like victims of terrorism.
So what about Alan Grayson and his comments that seem to have wrinkled the undies of certain conservatives? Well, he didn't compare Republicans to terrorists. He compared two possible decisions--electing anti-government Republicans to run the government and offering pilot positions to Al Qaeda members--and showed why neither one makes sense.
Grayson has drawn the wrath of the Fox News crowd for "going too far" when, in fact, he didn't go far enough. He didn't compare the GOP to a terrorist organization. But he should have. And as our experience in Alabama shows, he would have landed a truth-filled haymaker.
You can check out Grayson's comments here:
Mrs. Schnauzer and I are becoming huge fans of Alan Grayson. He's one of the few Democrats out there who seems to have steel in his spine. And if he were to run for president in the not-too-distant future, he probably would have our vote.
That's because Grayson speaks for those who are outraged by what has happened in our country over the past eight to 30 years. And as oil moves toward the beautiful white, sandy beaches of the Alabama coast--courtesy of big business--that rage only strengthens.
I was thinking about this the other night while watching a Chris Matthews interview on Hardball with Pensacola, Florida-based attorney Mike Papantonio. They were discussing the BP oil spill and the anger it has generated in the Gulf states. Papantonio said President Barack Obama has, so far, utterly failed to grab the bully pulpit and use it to hold big oil accountable.
"Obama needs to sound like Huey Long right now, not Gandhi," Papantonio said. "We're tired of the Gandhi speech. We're tired of kumbaya. . . . You can even taste the anger down here. It's beyond belief."
Yes, it is beyond belief. And for those of us who had already faced retaliation for standing up to "pro business" forces, it is even more unbelievable.
Here is the Matthews-Papantonio interview. Somebody in the White House needs to be watching: