As the nation faced a week that might see the United States default on its debt, while thousands of federal employees continue to go without pay, a small anti-Obama rally at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. featured Confederate flag-waving, calls to “Impeach Obama,” and appearances by some of the very same lawmakers who led us into this predicament.
Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have taken leading roles in insisting that continued government funding be tied to defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act, a condition that President Obama and Democrats refuse to accept, thereby leading to the impasse that shut down the government. Yet despite that, the two lawmakers were joined by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin on Sunday at a protest against closures caused by the shutdown. The occasion was grossly overbilled as The Million Vet March on the Memorials (only a few hundred showed up, multiple news outlets reported).
According to CNN, Cruz said the closing of national monuments like the WWII memorial were simply a “political ploy” by President Obama. ”Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?” asked Cruz. “Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games.” Palin said, “You have to ask yourself, Is this any way that a commander in chief would show his respect, his gratitude to our military?”
But respect — and correct information about the president — were in very short supply at the rally. According to CNN:
One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising.
“I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up,” said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.
Salon posted images of a large Confederate flag displayed during the protest, as well as an “Impeach Obama” sign. The scene calls to mind Colbert I. King‘s recent op-ed in The Washington Post, titled, “The Rise of the New Confederacy.
Wrote King, on October 4:
Today there is a New Confederacy, an insurgent political force that has captured the Republican Party and is taking up where the Old Confederacy left off in its efforts to bring down the federal government….
The New Confederacy, as churlish toward President Obama as the Old Confederacy was to Lincoln, has accomplished what its predecessor could not: It has shut down the federal government, and without even firing a weapon or taking 620,000 lives, as did the Old Confederacy’s instigated Civil War.