It has been quite a week for American politics. We got ourselves health care reform, a nuclear deal with Russia, student loan reform, and 200,000 people on the mall in DC demanding comprehensive immigration reform.
At the same time, the right wing media, Republican Party, including several members of congress, have been egging on their followers– most dispirited and mean spirited amongst us, the Tea Partiers– to up the ante in terms of their response to these peaceful democratic reforms. IE they have been inciting violence.
During the last week, fact-deniers have encouraged their supporters to make use of vitriolic language, spit on members of congress, threaten them with violence and in one instance even cut the gas line to the house of a member of congress’s brother (mistaken for that member of congress). Members of congress are receiving faxes with nooses on them and their lives are being threatened. Tea Partiers, inspired by right wing militia leaders– one of which lives off of federal disability benefits– have thrown rocks at the offices of members of congress, and broken windows. When confronted with such facts, Rep Steve King literally ran away from a CNN reporter, rather than condemning or condoning the actions.
Sarah Palin’s response? tell her supporters to reload and place pics of democratic members of congress within the cross-hair gun sights. Glenn Beck’s response? compare Obama to Hitler and Stalin and call for revolution. Eric Cantor’s response? whine that someone fired a bullet into his office as well (even tho the evidence shows the broekn window in his Va. office was the result of random gunfire. No-one intended to target Eric cantor\’s office. The response of GOP leaders? unfurl a “don’t treat on me banner and give thumbs-up to the T-partirs.
It’s pretty clear these are acts of desperation from from a party that has lost its way and that fears its owen demise at the polls. The GOP’s worst fear is of its own right flank, which is primarying pretty conservative incumbents with whack-job rightist opponents. I’m fine with the GOP’s circular firing squad.
My concern here is that along the way, this incipient violence this has inspired might snowball into real acts of terror. It’s one thing to misinterpret majoritarian rule in congress as a form of totalitarianism. It is quite another to believe this to be true and then encourage your supporters to “reload.”
It’s got to stop!