Most of the people killed that day were employees of the federal government. They were men and women who had devoted their careers to helping the elderly and disabled, supporting our veterans and enforcing our laws. They were good neighbors and good friends.Maybe. It is also likely that one or two were spouse or child abusers. Some likely were unworthy of the term "public servant". Some of them, if my experience is an indicator, were demi-tyrants who broke the law instead of enforcing it. They were people. And they were people who did not deserve to die that day, regardless of what else they were.
Finally, we should never forget what drove the bombers, and how they justified their actions to themselves. They took to the ultimate extreme an idea advocated in the months and years before the bombing by an increasingly vocal minority: the belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them. On that April 19, the second anniversary of the assault of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, deeply alienated and disconnected Americans decided murder was a blow for liberty.
Americans have more freedom and broader rights than citizens of almost any other nation in the world, including the capacity to criticize their government and their elected officials. But we do not have the right to resort to violence — or the threat of violence — when we don’t get our way. Our founders constructed a system of government so that reason could prevail over fear. Oklahoma City proved once again that without the law there is no freedom.Actually, since you invoked "our founders", you should at least have recognized that they held the opposite belief as respects violence. They not only believed they had "the right to resort to violence", they believed they had the obligation to resort to violence in certain circumstances. Were you being more honest, Mr. Clinton, you would have also noted that they DID resort to violence, and that we would not exist as a nation had they not. And, again if you were being more honest, you would have noted that when the government acts outside the law, GOVERNMENT acts in violation of freedom.
Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. No one is right all the time. But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws.Where were you during the Bush administration, Mr. Clinton, when our federal law enforcement and military were being demonized from the floor of the House and Senate? Where were you when the federal forces under your command grossly violated any sense of proportion outside Waco? Where was your op-ed deploring Ruby Ridge? Who did more to "demonize" the "public servants" who are supposed to enforce our laws than you, your nominal "wife", your fellow travelers, and your own cabinet?
We are again dealing with difficulties in a contentious, partisan time. We are more connected than ever before, more able to spread our ideas and beliefs, our anger and fears. As we exercise the right to advocate our views, and as we animate our supporters, we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged.Indeed, Mr. Clinton. A lesson you should internalize, and then teach to our "post-partisan" Provoker In Chief.
Civic virtue can include harsh criticism, protest, even civil disobedience. But not violence or its advocacy. That is the bright line that protects our freedom. It has held for a long time, since President George Washington called out 13,000 troops in response to the Whiskey Rebellion.Those of us involved in the TEA Party movement know the truth of "civic virtue" (did you really dare use that term?!?!) far, far better than do you, Mr. Clinton. We have lived it. We have fought to defend it, and we're doing that now. We don't threaten anyone...except with cutting them off from the power to destroy our freedoms. Learn, Mr. Clinton...
Fifteen years ago, the line was crossed in Oklahoma City. In the current climate, with so many threats against the president, members of Congress and other public servants, we owe it to the victims of Oklahoma City, and those who survived and responded so bravely, not to cross it again.