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12 October 2011

Kentucky City Official Feels Like Going Taliban On Occupy Protesters

The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread across America as thousands of people are taking it to the streets. The movement has grown quickly and has broad support from progressives and liberals. Democrat Nancy Pelosi supports the movement while conservatives and Republicans (naturally) oppose, criticize and decry the movement. Herman Cain is increasing his attacks on the Occupy protesters, Paul Ryan called the peaceful protesters a "mob," and Newt Gingrich blames President Obama. It's not just the big players who are name-calling the movement and the protesters. Mr. Steven L. Frank, a city commissioner in Covington, Kentucky expressed his feelings about the "Occupiers" on his Facebook page:

Turn out the lights on the Occupiers, I feel like going Taliban on them!!!

Mr. Frank commented further, which appears to be some sort of explanation when another member posted a comment on his Facebook post:

The taliban [sic], through there [sic] eyes are resisting occupation. I'm resisting the Occupiers. I figured that the irony would be lost on most of the dummies in Occupation Nation that oppose the war because they see us as occupiers. I happen to oppose the war too but for highly different grounds [sic].

Earlier today, I called Mr. Frank at his office at Wells Fargo in Cincinnati, Ohio which is across the Ohio River from Covington, Kentucky where Mr. Frank serves as a local government official when he's not enjoying his status as a proud 1%er. I wanted to ask him to clarify his "Taliban" comment and his "explanation." As of the time of this publication, Mr. Frank has not responded to my call, an email message or a Facebook communication. So we are left to ask ourselves, what did he mean by "going Taliban" on Occupy protesters and on what grounds does he oppose the [Afghanistan] war?

Mr. Frank's stated feeling that he feels like "going Taliban" sounds an awful lot like that terrible phrase "going postal" that came about following a number of shootings at post offices around the country starting in the 1980s. At least this is the impression I got when I read that comment. All due respect to Mr. Frank, he is not the first to direct violent language toward the progressives or the Democrats. Violent rhetoric and imagery seems to be the preferred method of communication from the right wing, many conservative groups and conservative individuals. I cannot purge my memory of Sarah Palin's graphic displaying targets over states where Democrats were defending their Congressional seats. Gabrielle Giffords, who serves for one of those targeted states, was shot and six other people, including a child, were killed. Then there were all the tee shirts and bumper stickers emblazoned with an imprecatory prayer against President Obama.

It is important to always remember that our words have power, especially if we are in a position to influence others. Mr. Frank, you and others like you who blow the dog whistle should not be surprised when the hounds come running.

Unanswered questions I asked Mr. Frank via email and Facebook message:

1. You say you are "resisting the Occupiers." How are you "resisting" and why do you feel it is necessary to "resist" the exercise of free speech and the right to peaceably assemble?

2. You say you oppose the war [in Afghanistan] "for highly different grounds." Do you know why the protesters oppose the war? Can you explain why you think they oppose the war? Can you elaborate on the reasons ("grounds") you oppose the war?

3. You seem to have explained that by "going Taliban" you meant that you will be resisting the occupation of American business districts by protesters as the Taliban has resisted American military occupation in Afghanistan. Have I correctly understood you? Can you elaborate on specific examples of Taliban resistance that are appropriate to use in a resistance to American citizens protesting in American cities?


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