By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Salon.com's Broadsheet sports a headline that asks whether the Internet can save one of the few remaining doctors in the U.S. who performs late-term abortions, Dr. Warren Hern.
Dr. Hern and others' pictures, home addresses, clinic addresses and so on have been posted online by activists whose ulterior motive, in view of what happened to Dr. George Tiller, may be to incite violence against these doctors.
But Broadsheet also notes that liberal online social networking has linked them up and galvanized possible political change:
This time, the conversation has been strongly influenced by what Seltzer calls "an engaged, savvy and active blogosphere and twittersphere of feminists that have been able to launch accurate, appropriate language into circulation and gather evidence that this assassination was part of a larger pattern of purposeful hate and intimidation."
Gosh, I hope so. It's so beyond ridiculous that medical providers must spend huge sums on security, put up with daily body blocks, protests outside their clinics, threats to their family members. It takes courage beyond my comprehension to put up with the physical and emotional abuse suffered by these doctors.
But I also think Dr. Tiller's murder has beyond question shown the possibility of so-called common ground to be a non-entity, and one that President Obama must drop if he's to continue to earn the respect of his female supporters:
And meanwhile, our president continues to insist that we should be looking for the common ground between people who trust women to make their own healthcare decisions and fanatics who need handbooks to tell them how to avoid "appear[ing] callous by showing no concern for women who die." It's heartening that the Internet has made the public response to this tragedy so different than it was after the last. But until the folks in power step up to call terrorism by name, to unequivocally denounce not only the deadly violence but the thuggish campaigns of harassment dressed up as "peaceful protest," all the passionate retweets in the world aren't going to change the national discourse as much as it needs to be changed.
President Obama suffers from people-pleasing disease. If you try to satisfy everyone, you end up satisfying no one. That's right where he's headed.
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By Bonnie Erbe