Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a close friend of President Obama’s, is the latest public figure to use the S Word, i.e. “sedition”, to describe opposition to the policies of the Obama administration.
According to the Boston Globe:
“The Democratic governor, who is close to the president, made the comments at a forum at Suffolk Law School’s Rappaport Center, where he was asked by an audience member about partisan battling in Congress.
‘Patrick said that even ‘on my worst day, when I’m most frustrated about folks who seem to rooting for failure,’ he doesn’t face anything like the opposition faced by the president.
“‘It seems like child’s play compared to what is going on in Washington, where it is almost at the level of sedition, it feels to like me,’ Patrick said.”
Previously journalist Joe Klein suggested that opposition to President Obama and his policies constituted “sedition.”
The use of the word “sedition” brings forth images of armed militias, terrorist attacks, and attempts to overthrow the legally constituted government by force. These images are followed by other images of martial law, relocation camps, drum head trials, and official censorship.
There seems to be something within the psyche of liberals that is uncomfortable with the idea of political give and take and of loyal opposition. Perhaps the use of the word “sedition” to describe political opposition grows from a sense of entitlement or perhaps a sense of moral and intellectual superiority. Liberals cannot imagine that opposition to their policies can be anything but pernicious.
What is truly scary about this attitude is that it tends to enable undemocratic attitudes. If one thinks ones political opponents are committing “sedition” then one might think that responding in kind, with the full police powers of the government, is legitimate.
It is not like this sort of thing has not happened before. Both Presidents Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt acted in high handed ways against opponents, both real and imagined, the latter locking up Japanese Americans solely on the basis of their ethnic identity.
By contrast, conservative Presidents, such as Reagan and both Bushes, have reacted to political opposition with tolerance, as befits an elected leader of a Republic. People protested in great numbers against Reagan’s Cold War policies and Bush the Younger’s anti terrorism policies without being attacked as people favoring “sedition.”
Ironically it is always the liberal who reacts huffily when his or her position is questioned, with the hissing demand, “Don’t you dare question my patriotism!” By suggesting that Obama opponents are engaged in sedition, Deval Patrick and others are not so much questioning but denigrating the patriotism of tens of millions of Americans.
Sources: Patrick says Obama critics are ‘almost at the level of sedition’, Michael Levenson, Boston Globe, May 24th, 2010
Joe Klein: Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck ‘Close to Sedition’, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, April 19th, 2010