Monday, April 19, 2010
Republicans are angry. Bitter. Hostile. Resentful. Desperate. Hungry for power. And ratcheting up the hate-speak to such irresponsible and reprehensible levels that one day soon they may have blood on their hands if they don't stop.
We can blame the Tea Party and its de facto leaders--Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Rep. Eric Cantor to name a few--for riling up Republicans with relentless attacks on President Obama and Democrats using code language and euphemisms like "take our country back,""reload," and "gangster government." We've witnessed racial and sexual slurs, threats, intimidation, violence, Democrats hanging in effigy...all in an attempt to delegitimize Obama's presidency through accusations of radicalism and socialism. As Cantor disingenuously claims, Obama wants "to remake America in the image of Europe."
Palin opens every speech by shouting to her audience, "Do you love your Freedom?," as if those very freedoms are truly at risk of being taken away. She force-feeds her misguided groupies with propaganda that Obama's "un-American" policies make America "less free." One Tea Party organizer over last weekend threatened: "To the elites....we're not going to be worried so much about shooting the folks who come to shoot us. We will skip several levels and go straight for their throats." The rhetoric has intensified to the point where a new poll shows that 74% of Republicans fear that their rights and freedoms are under imminent threat, vs 52% in 1996, after the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.
There's even a Facebook page, with over 200,000 "fans," urging violence against Obama: "DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN." Amen? Really? As if this violent sentiment is somehow a Christian tenet? Jeez, what the hell is wrong with these people?
Former President Bill Clinton, who occupied the White House when anti-government terrorist Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building fifteen years ago killing 168 people, last week condemned the right's dangerous rhetoric:
"There can be real consequences when what you say animates people who do things you would never do," warned Clinton, adding that monsters like McVeigh and those like him "were profoundly alienated, disconnected people who bought into this militant anti government line." And in a NY Times op-ed Monday Clinton urged those in power to consider the potentially grave consequences of their inciting rhetoric: "...We must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged."
In response, right wing radio blowhard Limbaugh over the weekend attacked Clinton and warned, "You have just set the stage for violence in this country. Any future acts of violence are on your shoulders, Mr. Clinton." So what we have here is a righteous condemnation not of the despicable acts of rabble-rousing conservatives, but of Clinton's warning of their consequences. Classic case of shoot the messenger.
Make no mistake: the political landscape is an arid tinderbox that could ignite at any moment. Those like Palin, Bachmann and Limbaugh who are stoking the flames of hate will be the ones responsible if this relentless instigating turns into a heinous act of violence. It's hard to imagine how this reckless inciting of the disaffected, using the lowest common denominator, will not result in tragedy; how one of these brainwashed "patriotic" loons is not gonna pick up a gun one day and do something horrible, just like McVeigh did, for love or hate of country.
And it's a damned shame that not one legit Republican in power is willing to publicly condemn this dangerously over-the-top rhetoric. But why should they, I guess. They hope to benefit by it come November.
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