Mar 26, 2010
Hate ginned up by GOP incites violence
No one who has witnessed one of the misnamed, Astroturf “tea parties” over the last year can be surprised at the death threats and attacks we are seeing on the offices of Democratic lawmakers who voted for the historic health insurance reform bill last week.
Hell, you just needed to see how they disrupted the townhall meetings on health insurance reform last summer to see what was coming.
I said way back in April of last year that the anti-government rhetoric going on now is eerily similar to what I saw in the mid-1990s with the Michigan Militia that only died down with the indictment of Timothy McVeigh for the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, and like the cockroaches they are, the rightwing extremists dove for cover like somebody turned out the lights when McVeigh’s association with the Militia came out. Now, some of these same people are back, and they have been joined by other extremist groups, fired up by Republican leaders. Those so-called GOP leaders that have not tried to fire them up for political gain, have been silent on speaking out against it and condemning it.
A propane gas line at the Virginia home of the brother of Rep. Thomas Perriello, D-VA, was cut; whose address was targeted by teabagger group angry at the congressman’s vote for the health insurance bill, the address was mistaken for the Congressman’s home. An envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter was delivered to the office of Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, who has been an outspoken proponent of health care insurance reform efforts.
Here in Michigan where eight of Michigan’s 15 members of Congress voted for the historic bill, some have been the object of threats and intimidation. According to the AP, the Michigan State Police have increased patrols around the home of U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, who has received obscene and threatening phone calls and faxes.
Now, Reps. Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, are the targets of repeated threats. State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, spoke out about the threats and intimidation on the Senate floor on Thursday.
“And now there are reports of death threats, cutting gas lines, delivering a coffin to the front yard of one lawmaker, and even threats to kill the children of Democratic lawmakers who supported the bill,” she said. “I think we can all agree; Gosh, I hope we can all agree that this has gotten way out of hand, as the rhetoric and rancor is turning into violent action.”
She was especially upset over the silence of so-called Republican leaders who ginned up the rhetoric, and then denied they had.
“In my view, perhaps the worst offense is that people in leadership positions are silent, and astonishingly, in some cases, it appears that they are actually encouraging this horrifying behavior,” Whitmer said. “None of us should take lightly this dangerous trend. We, as leaders, as legislators should condemn behavior like this—Democrats and Republicans alike. If we don’t quell this now, it will surely foment, and as a society, we will all pay as the election tensions rise.”
She plans on introducing a resolution condemning the behavior as soon as the Legislature comes back from it’s two-week Easter break. It will be interesting to see who supports it, if the Senate Republicans even allow a vote in it.
“Please join me in condemning this activity,” she said. “I have a resolution condemning that behavior, and I hope you will consider adding your name to it. “