“Are you afraid? Are you fearful today?”

“Are you afraid? Are you fearful today?”

“You know, I’m not. We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of protesters over the course of the last several months. Our office corner has really become an area where the Tea Party movement congregates. And the rhetoric is incredibly heated. Not just the calls, but the emails, the slurs. So things have really gotten spun up. But you gotta think about it. Our democracy is a light, a beacon really around the world, because we effect change at the ballot box, and not because of these outbursts — of violence in certain cases, and the yelling, and it’s just … you know, change is important, it’s a part of our process, but it’s really important that we focus on the fact that we have a democratic process.”

“I think it’s important for all leaders, not just leaders of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party … community leaders, figures in our community to say, ‘Look, we can’t stand for this.’ I mean, this is a situation where people really need to realize that the rhetoric, and firing people up, and even things … For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. And when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action.

“In the years that some of my colleagues have served, twenty, thirty years, they’ve never seen it like this. We have to work out our problems by negotiating, working together, hopefully Democrats and Republicans.”

–Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, March 25, 2010.

Emphasis added.

Over a year ago, George Tiller was murdered after continuous calls from extremist right wing nuts and we were relatively silent (as a country) after that. Now we have a massacre in Arizona following several years of high octane right wing rhetoric about “taking out” the opposition.” Sarah Palin’s “Take Back The Twenty” campaign used a map that sends chills down my spine when I consider the tragedy in Arizona. I note that www.takebackthe20.com now no longer functions, but the facebook page (with a modified version of the map that no longer shows such blatant gun scope targets) is here Don’t Get Demoralized! Get Organized! Take Back the 20!; note that Gabrielle Giffords is on her target list. And also note that Chief Judge John Roll Dead in AZ Shooting, Received Death Threats Over 2009 Immigration Case.

Are we going to remain silent, again? We should not have been so silent about Tiller, but the abortion issue is a deeply divisive one, so I am not surprised it slipped out of national consciousness pretty quickly. But if we do this again, I fear we will face mounting violence from the right as they find they get their way with such shocking tactics.

Not only do I think it is imperative to diffuse this call to violence coming from the extreme right, I think we need to look at who else has been targeted, such as Assange and Manning. (Just google “death threats assange manning” for an exhaustive list of calls from different quarters) Indeed, Sarah Palin has also called for his death (I would count “Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?” as a clear threat). Any sane country, seeing what we are doing here in the U.S. should refuse any extradition request the U.S. makes.

Why is it acceptable for these people to make these kind of statements over the air ? (I’m not talking in a legal sense — I am actually invoking a moral sense here.) Look at the sheer number of news outlets, radios, and websites that pour out vitriol day in and day out. They are not simply disagreeing with the left. They are not simply arguing for their own solutions to this countries problems and issues. They are calling for blood. The solutions they are offering are literally to eliminate.

How did the United States reach this pass? I am not so insensible as to think we have always disagreed with each other politely — any examination of the extensive disagreements carried out in newspapers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in this country can be real eye openers. But this call for extermination seems to me to have reached a new high and not only that a new saturation level not before seen. And I fear for where we’re headed.

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