Conservative Criminality

Some conservatives commit petty crimes of harassment and vandalism to express their commitment to conservative ideology.

The 1990 Honda Civic the wife and I owned when I was finishing grad school is the only vehicle I have ever had which was vandalized.  Someone keyed the right-rear bumper; later, someone stood on the tailpipe, bending it down and nearly separating it from the muffler.  One morning, after a party next door, the windshield had (I hope) had beer poured on it.

The young man next door was active in both College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom.  He and two of his colleagues filed a complaint with the University of Iowa's Educational Policy Committee about an experimental text I had helped edit: one of their complaints was "one of the editors is a known Marxist."

Back in the days of landlines, I received a call from a young man who wanted me to know "Jeff Klinzman's a f*gg*t" after I wrote a letter defending les/bi/gay civil rights.  A few years later, after penning a similar letter, an older man called to confirm my address, asking if I had written a letter defending les/bi/gay rights: "Now I have a phone number and address to go with your name."  He then hung up.

I've gotten calls from "Bill Stalin" and "Marx."  GOP activist Mike Thayer once sent me his newsletter, unsolicited, after I wrote a column about police brutality.  The Campus Review, a late and unlamented right-wing "opinion journal," started showing up on my doorstep.

None of that has ever discouraged or intimidated me.  I'm not claiming to be a victim, simply noting episodes which indicate, to me, a pattern of behavior common among some conservatives.  It's the same character flaw which causes some College Republican chapters to hold spoof "illegal alien" hunts, or some young people on campuses in the Southeast to commemorate plantation slavery with costume balls.

The vandalism in the accompanying photograph is different.  The sign is on display on Coralville's northern 12th Avenue.  The original message was "Romney is Stupid."  Trivial as it may be, that vandalism is a criminal act.  No matter what you think of the message, the sign is someone's personal property.  It was not displayed on the city right-of-way, but at the edge of the property owner's private driveway.  Don't like the message?  Put up your own sign, but don't vandalize someone else's property.

I don't think this vandalism was the act of a bored adolescent: the vandalism shows too high a level of political awareness for an adolescent, and lacks the vulgarity I would have expected.  12th Avenue is not a busy arterial way: most of the traffic is people from the neighborhood, which has some tony developments, on their way to Forevergreen Road, Front Street, or Highway 965.

Coralville 6, my precinct, is solidly Republican.  In 2004, the GOP candidate for Johnson County Sheriff, who announced his support for "diversity" because he owned a "n*gg*r horse," almost beat Lonny Pulkrabek in this precinct.  After that, I joked that many of my neighbors are "white sheet" Republicans: they'll vote for any GOP candidate, even one wearing a white sheet.

This vandalism fits the pattern I've seen so many times before.  Some conservatives just cannot stand people who think differently, and they have no problem with petty harassment or criminal acts to "punish" those of us who deviate from their ideology.

That's sad, and sickening.


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Julie Kirby October 07, 2012 at 03:24 PM
You do write provocatively, Jeff. Unfortunately, it falls on too many deaf ears. I can't wait for the comments!
Julie Kirby October 09, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Holy Moly! I can't believe there aren't any comments!
Jeff Klinzman October 09, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I'm not too worried, Julie. It was refreshing to see how empty my email inbox was this morning: Troy Murphy and maxine weimer seem to have gone to ground. I told Troy one comment he made, about Republican students who complained about their grades, was potentially libelous. Maxine is, well, maxine. I bailed from commenting on the debate postmortem story because the thread had gotten ridiculous, and maxine speculating that Obama would be assassinated if he were re-elected in a new low in my experience online. When you review their comments, as well as much of the stuff from Jack F, they have nothing positive to add to a discussion. All they want to do is squabble and fight. My time is too valuable to be wasted on them. Perhaps those two did read this blog, and the closing paragraph actually sparked the self-reflection cause by self-recognition: "Some conservatives just cannot stand people who think differently, and they have no problem with petty harassment or criminal acts to 'punish' those of us who deviate from their ideology."
Troy Murphy October 10, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Jeff, Jeff, Jeff you might have thought the comment was libelous but since I didn't name you but rather liberals who think it is OK to call republicans Richy-rich and who openly show contempt for students it is really ludicrous for you to complain. You are one of those people who are blind to their own nastiness. Take just this quote from above: "After that, I joked that many of my neighbors are "white sheet" Republicans: they'll vote for any GOP candidate, even one wearing a white sheet." You basically are calling all republicans names, oh you do it behind a thin veil of I'm not talking about "You", just those who voted xyz. You are one of those liberals who like to stand back and label whole groups because of the actions of a few while totally oblivious to the nastiness from your side. Just look at the comments about Stacey Dash if you doubt the nastiness from your side. You then post the above drawing conclusions about who the perpetrators were with absolutely no proof, you then equate his political convictions as the reason he supposedly vandalized your vehicle. Maybe it was because he thought you were pompous, or maybe it was just because he didn't like you, but no in your world it was because of his politics. You then make this comment "You can be really thick at times, maxine". It wasn't enough to let her comment stand on its own, no you had to insult. Heck just look to the name you gave this blog and tell me you aren't insulting people.
Troy Murphy October 10, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Back in the days of landlines, I received a call from a young man who wanted me to know "Jeff Klinzman's a f*gg*t" after I wrote a letter defending les/bi/gay civil rights. A few years later, after penning a similar letter, an older man called to confirm my address, asking if I had written a letter defending les/bi/gay rights: "Now I have a phone number and address to go with your name." He then hung up. Heck just take this quote with the above title of your blog. You draw a conclusion without a shred of proof that the person who called was a republican, he may have been a democrat southern baptist who thought being homosexual was an affront to God, but no you equate it to his politics and then have the nerve to wonder why we argue with you, you can't seem to see the hate and contempt in your own remarks.
Julie Kirby October 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Who is Stacey Dash?
Jeff Klinzman October 10, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Look at what you failed to do here, Troy: you failed to offer a principled condemnation of vandalism and harassment. Instead, you rationalize, even approve, of the vandalism to my vehicle by contending that may have happened because I'm "pompous." You say nothing about the vandalism to the "Romney is stupid" sign, which has an obvious political content. Is it THAT hard for you to say, "Vandalism is wrong?" Before straining at the mote in my eye, examine the beam in your own. You are so anxious to see yourself as somehow being a victim that you rationalize, justify, dismiss, and whimper about what I've written here about real acts of harassment and vandalism which were politically motivated. And, the complaint about the text I edited came from three men who were all College Republicans, who objected to the implied politics of the text and my own politics, and which had no factual evidence of how any of us were actually using the text. As for "hate and contempt," you are the one who dismissed Kirkwood Community College as a "third rate community college" simply because I teach here. You know nothing about what makes this college a great place to teach and learn. You owe the Kirkwood community of students, staff, and faculty an apology for your unfounded hate and contempt of us.
Jeff Klinzman October 10, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I'm not insulting anyone, Troy. Get over it.
Troy Murphy October 10, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Vandalism is wrong! Still not sure why you think I need to say that, in my world that was a given, common sense says vandalism is wrong. What I was trying to do was show that your assumptions of who did the vandalizing may have been erroneous do to your hatred of conservatives and your preconceived notion of our responses. The Romney is stupid sign was probably vandalized by one of those union thugs who wanted the pipeline Obama failed to allow. I addressed Kirkwood as a third rate community college because it is. Not because you work there. Or because its education is inferior but rather because The Ivy League and private 4 year schools would be first rate followed by 4 year state schools, followed by junior colleges. EG third rate. I am sorry you misinterpreted my comment to mean that Kirkwood was somehow inferior to other schools in the same class. I can't help that you feel I was attacking Kirkwood, just that it is an institution with a limited mission and therefore rated third in my hierarchy. I suppose you could add direct limited schools for a particular industry as 4th rate, like a nursing only school, or a hair styling school or for that matter a computer only school. I myself spent time at a third rate school in Watertown SD, Lake Area Technical college. It was a very good school for electronics, a lot of its graduates went on to work for Gateway etc. but it was no where near the level of MIT or Yale.
Troy Murphy October 10, 2012 at 07:41 PM
No, you weren't insulting anyone with the white sheet republican comment, wink wink.
Maria Houser Conzemius October 10, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Don't drive a car with liberal bumper stickers to a Republican rally or appearance of any kind. I drove to the Cedar Rapids Airport out of curiosity to see Sarah Palin and John McCain. All I did was watch. A truck parked perpendicular to my car, left the truck locked and unattended, and blocked me in so I couldn't leave. Scary. I'll never go to a Republican event again.
Jeff Klinzman October 10, 2012 at 08:31 PM
No sale: you are rationalizing what you've posted. It's also obvious you did not get the message Patch editors tried to convey to you. Union members are not "thugs." You still owe the Kirkwood community an apology. The only way, it seems, that you can make a contribution to this forum if be being banned.
Troy Murphy October 10, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Just because you don't agree with my reasoning on 3rd rate colleges doesn't mean it isn't true. I didn't say all union members just those who vandalized the Obama sign are thugs. Plus you still respond so I must be making some contribution or you would ignore it.
Troy Murphy October 10, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Of course I am rationalizing what I posted. You keep trying to twist it so I have to explain. It still doesn't change the fact that Kirkwood is a third tier school, there I found a better word (tier) to reflect my view of Kirkwood that maybe you won't find insulting.
Jeff Klinzman October 10, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Troy, you are sounding increasingly irrational. You have used "union thugs" before to refer to all union members, and I think my analysis stands. Plus, look at how you try to rationalize: the guy who called me years ago, in your irrational view, may have been a "Southern Baptist Democrat." You committed a category mistake: I refer to "conservative" criminality, and if there are Republicans involved, it is because that party long ago gave up being a "big tent" business party, preferring to become a narrow, ideologically-based organization. Again, the young men who complained about a text I edited, completely ignorant of how it was being used, were Republicans. One of their complaints was that I am a "known Marxist." I connect the vandalism to my car to the young man who lived next door: I didn't mention the noise complaints he kept calling into the Coralville PD, how he refused to come to the door the first time the police came, even though he was home, or that the Coralville PD finally told him they would no longer come to my place unless he went to the stationhouse to file a complaint. The noise complaints stopped after that. You just don't want to admit that people who share your political values engaged in harrassing behavior. I get it: you'll never admit that conservatives can and do harass their opponents, because (again) you refuse to do the self-reflection considering that contention would require of you.
Troy Murphy October 10, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Actually I do believe people of my conservative view are capable of the things you say, I just also believe people of your political bent are as well. It is not my fault you failed to give all the circumstances from which you drew your conclusions, that is on you plus I fail to see how that connects him to the vandalism on your car. I really like how you split hairs, you and I both know that for most people conservative and republican go togethor like democrat and liberal and yes I suppose my southern baptist democrat probably was not a liberal or a conservative but rather religous, still doesn't change the fact that it may be an erroneous conclusion. I have no problem admitting conservatives and republicans can engage in harassing behavior, I just refuse to believe that all harassing behavior is tied to idealogy. You see an idealogical bent to everyones motivation, I on the other hand see people being people who do lots of stupid and irrational things for absolutely no good reason or in your words being irrational. Everyone here at the office got a chuckle out of the union thug comment as I believe one of the unions recently held a hug a thug day, so if I messed up and called all union members thugs, I apologize. I was only referring to those who think of themselves as thugs.
Troy Murphy October 10, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Now I remember it was at the DNC convention where union members held the hug a thug day.
Jeff Klinzman October 10, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Write your own blog, Troy.
Troy Murphy October 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Nah, it is more fun commenting on yours. It entertains me and my employees and provides hours of amusement. Besides, from looking at this particular blog it would have been as barren as the Sahara if I hadn't chimed in so you should appreciate my repartee
maxine weimer October 13, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Not on your life Jeff. I think the reason your car was vandilized was due to your very arrogant attitude. And where do you get off suggesting that the Republicans are the only ones that have a behavior issue? But I guess dems and independants are just above harassing a republican huh. You just kill me Jeff, why is everything got to be your way or it is wrong? BTW, the last paragraph could very well be said by a conserative about you dems.
maxine weimer October 13, 2012 at 02:42 AM
You know Troy, Jeff can call me all the names he wants to and it dosen't bother me because "real" men don't talk to women like that. I have to say I feel sorry for his wife.
maxine weimer October 13, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Gee I really hope there aren't any trick or treaters dressed up like ghost and go to Jeff's house, he might mistaken them for Republicans.
Jeff Klinzman October 13, 2012 at 02:54 AM
So, you defend the criminal act of vandalizing my car? You defend the criminal act of vandalizing the sign in the photo above? You're okay with criminal harassment of people if they violate conservative norms? How about the guy who parked Maria in when she went to a McCain/Palin function: you're okay with that, too? You totally missed my point, maxine.
maxine weimer October 13, 2012 at 03:08 AM
No Jeff I did not miss your point. I do not think it is ok for anyone, for any reason to vandalize or harass anyone else. But I do understand why some people think "an eye for an eye" may be the montra they choose to live by. I have been on both sides. And I never said I defend the acts brought against you, I just meant it may not have had anything to do with your political views, it may have been your attitude that sparked that incident.
maxine weimer October 13, 2012 at 07:33 PM
You know if Troy did write a blog, you wouldn't be able to help yourself Jeff, you would just have to knock all his points.
Maria Houser Conzemius November 29, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Jeff, all I can say in response to your blog post "Conservative Criminality" is, don't ever go to a Republican rally with liberal bumper stickers on your car. While you're gone to the rally, peacefully minding your own business and not picketing or protesting anything, your car will be vandalized or blocked in by a truck so you can't leave. It's absolutely terrifying and I'll never go to one again. I was curious, but no longer.


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