Saturday, December 01, 2007

Right wing hate speech and violent threats against Democrats

Front paged at Booman Tribune

Frankly and unfortunately, the only thing that surprises me about the hostage situation yesterday at Senator Clinton’s office in New Hampshire is that it took this long to have something like this happen. And no, I don’t mean that directly at Clinton – it could have been any Democratic candidate’s office.



In fact, something(s) similar already happened to Democratic candidates, officials and critics of the Bush administration. Let’s look at the pattern here:



A letter containing white powder addressed to then-candidate John Kerry. Two other letters containing white powder did make it to Kerry’s office. No word on the culprit and I don’t think anyone was punished for this.



John Edwards’ office evacuated in May and July 2007 after white powder found in the office and then when “beeping objects” were found. No word on the culprit and I don’t think anyone was punished for this.



Keith Olbermann receives envelopes at his home containing white powder. These were sent by someone who admitted to being an “acolyte” of Michele Malkin and Ann Coulter.



Two Democratic Senators, including Tom Daschle were sent anthrax letters in 2001. The investigation has “run cold”, even though the strain is one that was reportedly traced back to our own government.



There are more – many more. Not all, but nearly all have targeted Democrats. While it is more than coincidental that these mainly target Democrats and critics of this administration, and while we don’t know whether the situation at Clinton’s offices yesterday were carried out by someone that was specifically targeting Clinton over other Democrats (or other candidates) for specific or political reasons, there is one thing that is perfectly clear.



There is domestic terrorism right here going on – mainly targeting Democrats and critics of the Bush administration’s criminal actions and activities, and it has been the result of years of inflammatory hate speech by right wing pundits, officials and even high level republicans – all of which has been given tacit approval every step of the way with a wink, a nod and no accountability.



When Ann Coulter can talk about poisoning a Supreme Court Justice who isn’t sufficiently right wing bat shit insane, when Bill O’Reilly can talk about al Qaeda coming to bomb San Francisco and that being just peachy with him, when Michele Malkin can incite unhinged followers to target an 11 year old boy and his family over health insurance, when Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and whoever else rails against how Bill and Hillary Clinton are socialist communist pigs that are the root of all evil in this world, when Glenn Beck asks a sitting Congressman to “prove he isn’t a terrorist” just because he is Muslim, when the Washington friggin Post spreads lies about Barack Obama based on xenophobia, this type of hatred becomes mainstream.



When our leaders, including the President of the United States continuously blame “the Democrats” or “far left wing people” for their mistakes and actions - whether it be on Iraq, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina or the dissolving of the middle class – they are not only feeding the issue, they ARE the issue.



When the corporate media and White House Press Corps lap this up and present it as “balanced journalism”, then they are responsible for the hostage crisis, the white powder envelopes, the fact that the CIA can no longer track nuclear proliferation in Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. When Democrats and “the liberal media” are compared to the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis or Communists, it is no wonder that there is a rash of violent, threatening and intimidating acts towards anyone who “dissents”.



Back in June, thereisnospoon and I talked about right wing domestic terrorism on our BlogTalkRadio show – but more in the historical context. However, taking a look at our discussion as well as what we have seen develop as more than “just a pattern of coincidences” shows just how dangerous the rhetoric is coming from the right, and how it can so easily incite violent and intimidating behavior.



When this behavior is encouraged, excused or not investigated (let alone prosecuted), it is no wonder that Democratic Presidential candidates are receiving bomb threats, “white powder letters”, need additional Secret Service protection (as Obama did/does) or have hostages taken at their campaign offices.



For this type of behavior, speech and tacit approval to not immediately and swiftly be denounced – and for those who engage in such speech to be held accountable for the actions of those who are “called to action” by such rhetoric – is a tremendous threat to our Democracy (with a capital “D”) and our country. And as I alluded to yesterday, it shows just how devoid of any morals that those who encourage or engage in this behavior really are.



While I am certainly happy that nobody was injured yesterday or on any of the other occasions I noted above, it is only a matter of time before somebody is injured. Or killed. And only then, if even at all, will enough people realize how this type of behavior was encouraged and incited over a number of years by the intolerance, lies and aggression of the extreme, angry, violent (and low self esteemed) people on the right wing.


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