When I wrote my piece "What Right Wing Threat?" I might have anticipated some humorless criticism from an offended individual, outraged that I might diminish yesterday's shooting at the Holocaust Museum by joking: "He was there to try to shoot the actual Holocaust...the Holocaust started it; this was simply self-defense."
The response I got was not a diatribe from PC police, but people apparently offended by my dissing right wing fanatics. And these weren't snarky comments posted in all caps. These people called my production company. One guy with a Southern accent said something about reaping what I sow. Another woman was outraged that this senile old man who had a senior incident like shooting up the Holocaust Museum was being all exploited by the media. (My poor assistant had to politely field these calls, tying up our phone lines for all those backers who would normally be calling to give us money to produce more social documentaries.)
In my attempt to draw mainstream Republicans and conservatives away from attacking DHS intelligence reports with a partisan mindset, I figured the stark contrast from white supremacist whack jobs would be some welcome middle ground in the debate. I apparently neglected to pause and consider the feelings of the right wing nut jobs.
I would not expect right wing extremists to read the Huffington Post, or that they would bother with me. The piece did not really report anything new, or offer a celebrity nipple. I'm hardly part of the TV punditry circuit (though I am available). I am, as my documentary FREE FOR ALL! found conclusively, just some dude.
I am further struck that this piece would be the one to draw personalized reactions. I've authored other things I would expect to be more offensive or controversial: I made light of the Rick Warren hysteria, I engaged a Sarah Palin zealot, I pontificated on how messed up Ayn Rand was, I made a critically-acclaimed documentary detailing systematic racial voter suppression by the Republican Party and showing how Ohio was subverted in the 2004 election.
But now I apparently have crossed the line by mocking the right wing nut jobs. After repeatedly stressing the differences between mainstream Republicans and conservative thinkers with racist vigilantes, I did not anticipate a spirited defense of the racist vigilantes. I kind of thought that the shooting spree thing did not need elaboration about being bad.
So I'll just skip the debate and make this a quick shout-out to the right wing extremists: I'm sorry. You're right. About everything. My bad. Pay me no mind. Go call your congressmen instead of calling me. I don't even care if you have guns, as long as no crimes ever happen with them.
Besides, the white people angry about defending the power of the white race in this country tend not to be the white people who are actually in power.