The Glass House that John Africa Built
I think that it would be safe to say that most people who would read MOVE's crude and hateful missives do not take these tracts all together that seriously. I think that would even go for many of those who would consider themselves sympathetic to the group's alleged aims. I have to believe that most people, even hardcore Mumiaics, still have some semblance of a bullshit detector and realize that MOVE's rants go way off the chart.
That said, it is sometimes worth it to examine what MOVE is actually saying and really deconstruct some of their rhetoric, if for no other reason than to prove how absolutely wrong about so many things they are. Take for instance some of the invective hurled in my direction recently via MOVE's email lists and website. Consider the following:
"This morning Tony Allen, a man who at one time appeared to support MOVE and Mumia and now campaigns to imprison and kill MOVE people and Mumia, was on the Michael Smerconish radio show on 1210 am. This man has been hijacking people's email lists, spreading lies on the radio and on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer, pressuring venues to not allow Mumia or MOVE supporters to hold events and admittedly working with the Burlington County Prosecutors stooping to the lowest of levels to get attention and cause destruction."
I remember reading somewhere that the "truth told with bad intent beats all the lies in the world," a reasoned statement to be sure, but one I would have to disagree with. I would argue that far more dangerous than flat out lies or abused truths would be a marinade of the two. And this is usually what one gets when dealing with MOVE.
Now, I have been on the receiving end of some very harsh accusations, as well as some threats against my physical well being. I have come to accept that these are things that come with the territory of confronting authoritarian sects. My feelings are not easily hurt, and having dealt more than a few unjustifiable rhetorical blows myself, I can't really complain all that much when the proverbial chickens occasionally make their way home to roost in my inbox.
That said, I have never, before now, been accused of wanting death upon anyone. To say that I am offended by this grotesque allegation would be an understatement. As someone who opposes the death penalty and other gross abuses of state power, I deeply resent the insinuation that I would be one of death's cheerleaders, but am not surprised that MOVE would say such a thing.
For MOVE is desperate and they are willing to say anything to convince people that I am on some kind of ego driven crusade of death and "destruction" in order to discredit me and reduce my arguments against MOVE to be based soley on motive and not substance.
I have said before that I have an agenda and it is one that is not hidden. Yes, I believe Mumia belongs in prison. Yes, I believe that those responsible for the death of John Gilbride belong in prison.
With the risk of sounding somewhat idealistic, I don't want those in MOVE and around MOVE who are innocent of any wrong doing to suffer one bit. I want them to have the freedom that I have. I want the children of MOVE to have the same opportunities that my child has: the choice to control their own destiny, the freedom to make their own path. I want these children to be able to read and write, to live without the terror of the outside world that MOVE instills in them as a mechanism of control.
Have I worked hard to get my message out? You bet. Have I emailed people who had not asked me to email them? I have done that and maybe I was wrong in doing so. I have made mistakes in all of this and don't pretend for one second that I haven't.
But let's be real here. MOVE members killed James Ramp in 1978 in order to get the attention and affection of their leader John Africa. These same MOVE members turned their children over to this same leader so he could use them in his stupid confrontation with police in 1985.
Before MOVE talks about me "stooping to the lowest of levels to get attention," they should really check their own sordid history. MOVE's story is one that is riddled with one violent attempt at getting attention after another. No amount of slander directed my way can wipe away this sect's disreputable true nature.