My Encounter with Randall Terry

“It was as though in those last minutes he (Eichmann) was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil” -Hannah Arendt

The banality of evil. When Hannah Arendt wrote of Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem she painted him as entirely average, not particularly hateful, and committed wholly to the notion that he was following orders. Randall Terry is not analogous to Adolf Eichmann for a number of reasons, but Arendt’s famous (and, frankly, now over-used) phrase was one of the first things that occurred to me this morning after I attended (and protested) his press conference in Topeka proposing a filibuster of Sotomayor.

Terry’s banality comes in his manner. He does not (or did not today) come off as a lunatic or an idiot. He is not on the corner of the street warning of the apocalypse with an overgrown beard and loincloth. He’s personable, has a sense of humor, and is well spoken. He is smart, too. But make no mistake, he is extreme, he is fanatical, even most anti-choice people don’t want anything to do with him, and his rhetoric is dangerous. I suppose that what follows is not an outright iteration of why I think this is true, I think most people who read this blog already hold the position that abortion ought to be legal, that it is classless and dangerous to call health care providers “mass murderers” and compare abortion to the Holocaust, not to mention his thoughts on homosexuality and Islam. Rather, I want to sort of describe and comment on my experience.

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Randall Terry is Out to Get Sotomayor

ap_sotomayor_090528_mnRandall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, has seriously gone off the deep end. He’s launched a 12 city tour to defeat Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. In a graphic flyer, Terry proclaims that Republicans who “refuse to filibuster [are bowing] in abject obedience to the Angel of Death.” His tirade goes even further than that. According to Right Wing Watch:

Pro-life voters are calling on pro-life Senators to filibuster Sotomayor. A Senator cannot say, ‘I want to overturn Roe,’ and then vote to confirm a Supreme Court Judge that will uphold Roe. A vote to confirm Sotomayor is a vote to uphold Roe.

Many senators use pro-life rhetoric to seduce us; they get our money, our volunteer labor, and our votes. But once an election is over, they discard us like an embarrassing mistress. They say that they want to overturn Roe, but they do little or nothing to protect the innocent.

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Watch List: Lake of Fire

lakeoffirepostersm11Lake of Fire” is a documentary by Tony Kaye about the radical anti-choice movement. He looks at the history of violence against abortion providers and provides a very frightening view of the domestic terrorists who threaten women’s access to reproductive health care.

The film was released in 2006 and opens with a focus on the passage of a South Dakota law that outlawed abortion. HB 1215 was signed into law by South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds in March of 2006. The legislation prohibits abortion under any circumstance, including rape and incest. The only exception is to protect the life of the mother. The health of the mother is not considered in the exception process. The intent of the bill’s sponsors was to have the law questioned before the Supreme Court. They were hoping that George Bush would have had a third justice nominated to the Supreme Court so that the case would have overturned Roe v. Wade.

South Dakota’s anti-abortion law did not pass in a vacuum. “Lake of Fire” traces the emergence of the militant anti-abortion movement in the US, beginning with a 1993 anti-choice demonstration on the National Mall in Washington, DC that has become an annual event each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. White crosses are staked into the lawn. I assume the protesters intend these crosses to represent the babies that are killed each year by abortion. The organizers of the protest say that this should be “a daily event,” and that they are honoring “God’s laws.” [Read more...]