“It can’t happen here.” Oh, can’t it? It damn near already has, and hearing or reading about “moderate” Republicans being somehow under the control of the “radicalized” right—as though it comes from a “reasoned” perspective—becomes more galling with each iteration. No one is at all reasonable who believes the Republicans have anything to add to the social or political betterment of the United States. Nor can anyone who supports their agenda be considered moderate.
Republicans are indistinguishable from mad dogs. If their ongoing obstructionism toward the end of preventing an economic recovery does not seem insane enough, the recent threat of defaulting on the national debt, and disregard for the economic chaos that would have ensued, should be an eye-opener. But their insanity and viciousness is not limited just to the political arena.
Make no mistake about it. The viciousness exhibited by Mark Kessler, the former police chief of Gilberton, PA, is just the most recent overt expression of their viciousness.
Much like the rhetoric of the Southron slavery advocates of the first half of the 19th Century, the rhetoric and conduct of today’s reactionary right has taken a vicious turn that is unprecedented in recent history. That tone is not just racist, but plays viciously on a range of emotionally charged issues. While the viciousness manifests itself most notably in the rhetoric of reactionary spokespersons, like Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, Republican legislators from Congress to the state legislatures, it resonates through the echo chamber of their public, and becomes amplified into acts of unconscionable viciousness.
Politics has never been more vicious since the caning of Senator Charles Sumner by Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina in 1856. Just as Sumner’s rhetorical characterization of South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler had incited the violence against him, liberals and progressives have used harsh descriptors, and even called for violence, as chronicled by Michelle Malkin. It is however worth noting that the most of Malkin’s chronicled “hate” amounts to unflattering depictions of right wing politicians, and Democratic political leadership has not been silent regarding the acerbic rhetoric, nor failed to condemn those who advocate violence, as the reactionary Republicans have.
As reprehensible as the rhetoric of these cut and slash reactionary minions of the moneyed elite is—as vicious as so many of their followers are—those who abet them are, like the driver of the getaway car, equally guilty. Whether Republican by conscious association or by lending support as an independent, those who do not stand against them stand with them.
Since they were originally exposed for their overt call to violent action, Target of Opportunity remains among the most outrageous expressions of rhetorical incitement to violence. The Web site’s “Mission Statement” reads as follows:
This website is devoted to fighting Terrorism and the forced integration of Marxist oriented ideals and values into the American mainstream. By exposing the violent actions and the violent speech (and it is very violent, just keep reading) of these so-called “Non-Violent” and “Peaceful” groups, the truth is revealed for all to see. Their brand of Radical Marxist Liberalism poses a serious threat to the American public. They are among us and this website exposes them for who they are and what they are based on THEIR actions and THEIR agendas.
They make their most overt call to violence, “They actively and openly
support those that are trying to cause the destruction of the United
States from within. This used to be known as ‘Treason’ and ‘Sedition’
and it used to be punished as such,” on a page titled “The Hit List.” This list is a laundry list of animal rights activists and groups, the Berkeley City Council, Cindy Sheehan, the berieved mother of a son killed in Iraq, CodePINK, an anti war group, environmental groups and environmentalistsm many of which most liberals disparage for their methods, human rights activists, liberal critics of the right, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which they associate with environmental and animal rights groups, and of course the Progressive Democrats of America for their radical agenda.
From outrageous breaches of decorum, like the shout of “You lie!” by Representative Joe Wilson, R-S.C., During the President’s Speech before Congress in September 2009 to accusations that Democrats, and often specifically that President Barack Obama is anything from a socialist to a Nazi, the hatefulness of their rhetoric often calls for violence:
In the months leading up to the release of his new book, “To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular Socialist Machine,” Gingrich has used almost every opportunity available to brand President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as “secular socialists,” as if trying to coin the phrase.
But in his book, Gingrich went even farther than calling Democratic leaders socialist – a phrase used so often during the health care debate that it has almost lost its shock value – writing that they represent a threat just as dangerous as Nazi Germany.
And the calls for violence do not go unheeded:
[Obama] is the one that is destroying patriotism in the U.S.A. Ted Nugent is right. So, Obama is allowing me to be tortured to the point that I may murder someone, rather than deal with the mess he made. Your president is a coward.
[W]e shall not have any coarse [sic] but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November,” McPhee writes. “This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue.
“Death threats against this president are up 400 percent as compared to President Bush,” [Ladd Everitt, director of communications for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence] said. “We are living today in a supercharged, partisan political climate where threats of violence and violent rhetoric are everywhere, and you would think that anyone — anyone, no matter what their political views or disagreements with this president– would have the common sense and decency to not create a banner image for a conspiracy theory-fueled email that shows a gun pointing directly at [the president’s] head, while simultaneously preaching to folks about some ridiculous Obama gun ban that exists only in a fantasy world.”
Anti-liberal propaganda has been ramping up for years. Former Fox News host Glenn Beck, who was cited as an inspiration for at least three rightwing extremists accused of committing or plotting violence, called himself a “progressive hunter” and attempted to rebrand Hitler as a leftist. Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney routinely warns of a “red-green” alliance between liberals and violent Islamist terrorists. But the people behind a website called “Target of Opportunity” (motto: “Eliminating the planet of liberals one at a time”) have taken things several steps further, creating a “Hit List” profiling supposed liberal enemies of America.
“I supported the Paul Ryan budget and sent it over to the Senate,” Sullivan said. “Now I live with some Senators, I yell at them all the time, I grabbedone of them the other day and shook him and I’d love to get them to vote for it — boy I’d love that. You know but other than me going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them, I don’t think they’re going to listen unless they get beat.”
In fact, President Obama is the target of more than 30 potential death threats a day, four times the number of threats received by George W. Bush. The President is not alone. Albeit Gabby Gifford’s shooter was mentally ill, his act was motivated by an irrational fear rooted in Reactionary Republican rhetoric. Beyond the rhetoric, there is a less thinly veiled call to violence in Sarah Steelman’s declaration that Senator Claire McCaskill is “An Evil Monster We Have To Kill.”
Reactionary Republican racism, once only subtext for their “Southern Strategy,” has become far more open since President Obama made history to become the first African American to hold that office. As contemptible as the racist rants are, they often cross other lines of common decency as well, as in the case of an email forwarded by Federal Judge Richard Cebull:
Richard Cebull’s email, obtained by the Great Falls Tribune, reads: “Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.”
A joke then follows: “A little boy said to his mother; ‘Mommy, how come I’m black and you’re white?’ His mother replied, ‘Don’t even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you’re lucky you don’t bark!'”
The rhetoric plays mightily on the ignorance, and ages old bigotry of the Republican faithful as well:
Among the dumbfounding traits of these racists appears to be their utter lack of understanding of what constitutes racism. In example, one Facebook post opens with a denial that the author is racist before going into a racist diatribe shared by several of his racist friends. More alarming still is that they rear their children on the rhetoric of hatred and violence.
Albeit there is some disagreement about whether a Tea Party mob yelled “fagot” at Barney Frank and “Ni**er” at John Lewis, David Nunes (R-CA) expressed his approval of tea party protesters saying, “Yeah, well I think that when you use totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy.” And when you have people who “act crazy,” the marketing potential to profiteer while you fuel their craziness opens: Gun Range Targets Made To Resemble Trayvon ‘Sold Out In Two Days’
Whether racism played a part in the Trayvon Martin shooting or not, and every indication is that it did, the shooting of five African Americans in Tulsa, Oklahoma, less than two months later stands as an indictment of the racial hatred expressed by reactionary Republicans. Albeit Republicans have not manned up to their complicity in motivating violence of any kind, let alone racial violence, the fact that Republicans openly court racists is inescapable evidence of it: In addition to the major Republican candidates for the presidential nomination, the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Peter Brimelow, the founder and head of VDARE.com was a featured speaker.
The media serving the reactionary right is among the principal sources of hate rhetoric, both racially charged and simply hateful. The National Review has long been a source of misinformation aimed at vilifying the liberal left. Among their writers, John Derbyshire had been openly racist and sexist, and only recently overstepped the limits of the low editorial standards of the Review.
Another less overtly racist diatribe by John Fund in the Review, involved the firing of Naomi Riley by the Chronicle of Higher Education for a racially motivated assault on the dissertations of several black studies graduate students at Northwestern University. Predictably, the firing opened the Chronicle to attacks and accusations of censorship from the right. A look at her unprofessional rant however reveals that she did not use the objectivity with which she had been credited by Fund. To the contrary, as characterized by Huffington Post contributor Eric Alterman, “the real problem with Riley’s post was not that it was racist or hateful but that it was lazy and stupid. . . . Riley was apparently accustomed to an atmosphere where know-nothing hackery not only goes unpunished but is actually celebrated.” Indeed, the very idea that a journalist is competent to critique an academic study boggles the mind.
Their religionism is another source of hate speech and even more hateful acts of violence. One such expression of religionist hatred toward liberals depicts an automatic hand gun lying on a Bible in an inexplicably un-Christian expression of faith. In another example, the manager of a gospel radio station in Cushing, Oklahoma, who referred to President Obama as a “dumb ni**er” on a public Facebook page.
The headline, Romney Spokesman Gleefully Outed A Trans Woman, Ending Her Career, likely says more about their viciousness than their alleged faith on matters in which they claim their principles to be rooted. Their faith, after all, admonishes them to be tolerant, and to leave judgment to their God. The evidence of their apostasy abounds:
Most notably, the well documented incidents of violence that range from murder to arson and bomb threats to picketing associated paradoxically with the “Right to Life” movement. Their reign of terror, including the Centennial Olympic Park bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph during the 1996 Summer Olympics, the first of four committed by Eric Robert Rudolph in the name of Christ against abortion providers and a lesbian nightclub have been surpassed only by the bombing of the Murrah Building a year earlier by Timothy McVeigh.
Marginally, but only marginally less violent is the spate of anti-abortion measures, and generalized assault on women’s reproductive care since the beginning of 2012. Based on their defense of his outlandish attack on Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh likely expressed the attitude of the right most clearly:
Slut, prostitute, and finally with feminazi, Limbaugh also expressed the right’s sentiment with regard to women who will not conform to their concept of right and wrong. Nor was he alone, as depicted by the article titled Redneck Fundamentalist explaining the proper place for Christian women. As outrageous as these senseless attacks are, they pale however to the frenzied legislation passed by reactionary legislature after legislature. The truth of Sandra Fluke’s testimony, that she wanted coverage of birth control pills for health reasons having nothing to do with avoiding conception, underscores the monstrous attacks on Planned Parenthood that the reactionary right next launched.
Abandoning their stated “principles” in a further attack on legal abortion, state after Republican controlled state has passed legislation denying women impregnated by rape or incest, and forcing those considering abortion to undergo unnecessary procedures like trans vaginal ultrasound—an invasive, painful and costly procedure—in addition to subjecting women to additional emotional distress over an emotionally difficult decision. Among the most shameful examples of the viciousness behind this form of legislation was the defense of proposed anti-abortion legislation by Senator Chuck Winder before the Idaho Senate. When opponents of the bill pointed out that the bill makes no exception for rape victims, incest victims or women in medical emergencies, Winder raised the question of whether women understand when they have been raped. Further suggesting that women would use rape as an excuse for abortions, Winder dismissed the objection.
Hatred toward Muslims made news throughout the past few years as well. In addition to death threats adding to the intimidation of mobs protesting the building of the “Ground Zero” mosque, mosques and the construction of mosques was vandalized in Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Their hatred toward Muslims was however punctuated most graphically by the murder of Shaima Al Awadi, a devout Muslim mother of five, who was beaten to death beaten inside her home with a tire iron, and whose assailant left a note reading “Go back to your country, you terrorist.”
In callus disregard for those who live in poverty, and whose condition has been exacerbated by the economic downturn. Representative Paul Ryan’s House Republican’s 2013 budget singled them out for cuts to the school lunch program and food stamps—and Medicare, Medicaid and the Meals on Wheels program which provides needed nutrition for seniors who live in poverty—in order to continue giving trillions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations.
Perhaps the best exemplar of the truly vicious mindset from which this kind of legislation arises is a statement by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia while hearing arguments during the review of the Affordable Care Act. Scalia viciously scoffed that letting the uninsured die is a better idea than making it an individual responsibility (the individual mandate) for those who can afford it to buy health insurance. Likening poor people to stray dogs and cats, South Carolina’s Republican Lt. Governor, Andre Bauer stated that, if you feed, them, they’ll just come back for more—and worse still, they will multiply.
In a random act of violence, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck during an
argument. On another front, while delivering a speech before volunteers in Brockton, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren was interrupted by a Tea Party supporter who shouted, “you’re a socialist whore. I don’t want anything to do with you.” Indirectly, but no less tragically, and elderly woman died consequent to the lies so freely repeated by Republicans during the debate over the Affordable Care Act, saying she did not want to deal with “Obama’s death panels.”
If there are “moderate” Republicans, where are they? Have they no voice? Why have they not spoken out against any of the above? Why did they allow the government to be shut down, and wait until default on the debt became imminent? Why can’t they admit that the economic policies they supported over the past three decades have been a net failure? Are they just too afraid that they will lose the support of their sugar daddies? If so, how can they be called moderate, let alone reasonable!
No, the use of the word moderate or reasonable in conjunction with Republican is an oxymoron. There is no such thing. They cannot reasonably be thought of as being in any way more acceptable in a position of authority than a mad dog—and, like a mad dog, they need to be “put down!”
Put the mad dogs down. Vote!