Here’s a rare example of my getting involved in any kind of political dispute

By Seamus O'Sparks on August 3, 2014 — 4 mins read

Warning-this will be long and boring, Here’s a rare example of my getting involved in any kind of political dispute. But, this time I just couldn’t resist. Context: on a friend’s page there was a political discussion that quickly devolved into here’s why one side is better than the other. In the course of that discussion one of the contributors suggested that both Kennedys were killed by liberals. Well, I was a history graduate student(sounds like the title to a horror film) and this made me go, “cazart.” Now-please notice that I am not advocating that any part of the political spectrum is superior to any other. I do, though, grow weary of the absolute lack of critical thought that imbues, well, it just IMBUES…makes me want to puke up and up and up. The following is my reaction to a response to a question I posed. I asked, basically, if the killers of the Kennedy brothers were really liberal. The response was: They were hard left.

Hard left, eh? Well, that certainly means that they were “liberals” according to 21st century American political parlance, right? Batty-Fang! So, [Name Removed], what do you mean when you say, “hard left?” Socialist?Marxist? Anarchist? Utopian Egalitarian? John Lennon fan? It appears that there are some online sources(I use that term with some generosity) that, at least intimate, Sirhan Sirhan and Lee Harvey Oswald were, “liberals.” I’m not sure that any reputable historical, peer reviewed, work has brought to light any real “liberal” political ideology that either of these men espoused. Any sources I have seen, and perhaps I’m losing the trees for the forest here, assigning a liberal philosophy to Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan are, essentially, nothing more than pot-stirring propaganda/culturally jingoistic hokum…at its best. Though Oswald(A U.S. Marine{see what I did there}) flirted with Marxist, Socialist, and Communist ideology-he is probably best described, holistically, as merely a malcontent. Sirhan Sirhan appears to have been politically motivated by Palestinian nationalism. Let’s say that I am completely full of balderdash and have indeed been misinformed, misguided-manipulated even-into believing everything I just wrote. Your implication that these men were liberal has me curious about a couple of things. Thing one-Oswald did openly describe himself as a Socialist and a Communist- He even moved to Russia where, ironically, the lack of materialism prompted him to return home. So, at best, he was a bad communist. Believe it or not, there is a remarkable world of difference between a communist, a socialist, a bad communist, and an American styled mid-20th century “liberal.” Suggesting that Oswald was a “liberal” because he flirted with “hard-left” ideas is like suggesting that a Quaker and a Mormon are, essentially, the same. That’s absurd, right? Thing two-Your suggestion that Oswald was a “liberal’ does illuminate the tendency people have, when they engage in the hyper-opinionated maelstrom that passes for political discourse, to simplify and reduce labels and concepts for expedient and, often times, inaccurate argument points. With respect to Sirhan Sirhan, I assume you mention he is liberal because Bill Ayers supposedly dedicated a book to him? Again, I may not see the trees for the forest, but hasn’t Ayers denied this claim? And, let’s say that Ayers directly and effusively dedicated anything to Sirhan Sirhan. That doesn’t necessarily make Sirhan Sirhan anything, politically or otherwise. Anton Levy dedicated the Satanic Bible to Tuesday Weld. I suppose that makes her a Satanist? The last point that I would be interested to have amplified for me-and it’s a good one: what does the political stripe of either of these men have to do with anything relevant to any discussion anywhere? Let’s say that Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan were bonafide liberals by any definition. Their actions don’t seem to have any connection to whatever “liberalism” you want to name. Suggesting that a liberal philosophy had any bearing on the assassination of J.F.K. or R.F.K. is like linking Thespianism to the assassination of Lincoln. I’d also note that the implication that these men were “liberal” and therefore, what: evil, unhinged, amoral; adds nothing to a discussion on the merits of liberalism vs. conservatism. It comes across as a half-conjured attack on the character of liberals as a whole-and this is a very shrewd bit of dialectical prestidigitation. In short-[Name Removed] asked you, [Name Removed], what you were proud of regarding conservatism-you responded with, “Republicans did this for women and that for African-Americans.” This, as [name removed] pointed out, conflates some terms/definitions and would decidedly make these Republicans “liberal”-which, of course, they were as Republicans were at the forefront of many Progressive Era activities(see Theodore Roosevelt). I suppose liberalism is fine then, in your estimation, as long as it’s coming from the Republican Party? Then you said “Liberals killed the Kennedy brothers.” I find it mystifying 🙂 Thanks for letting me play!

Posted in: Politics

The Story of Seamus

Seamus O'Sparks is the seventh son of a Seventh Day Adventist who went on a seven-day bender starting on July 7, 1977 at a strip club called Seventh Heaven at the corner of 7th St. and 7th Ave. in the West Village.