Well, that didn’t take long. First members of Congress were pelted with bigoted slurs and spit upon, by a crowd cheered on by Republican members of Congress, to the point that the Speaker and congressional Democrats walked across the capitol complex flanked by police — their to protect them from the mob. Then came vandalism, like bricks thrown through windows. Faxes bearing racial slurs along with pictures of nooses and gallows quickly followed, along with outright death threats. Angry Tea part activists — furious that some 30 million uninsured Americans might finally have access to health care — were encouraged to make personal visits to members of Congress, to “express their thanks”.
Now, threats and vandalism have come closer to home, and graduated to actions that could actually endanger lives: like cutting gas lines.
Federal and local authorities are investigating a severed gas line at the home of U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother, discovered the day after Tea Party activists posted the address online so opponents could “drop by” and “express their thanks” for Perriello’s vote in favor of health care reform.
The gas line connected a propane tank to a gas grill on the home’s screened-in porch, according to sources in Tom Perriello’s office.
The incident is being viewed as an attempted threat to a member of congress, sources said.
Two members of the conservative Tea Party groups in Danville and Lynchburg posted the home’s address online Monday, mistakenly believing it belonged to the congressman. The home actually belongs to Bo Perriello, the congressman’s older brother.
I’m no expert on this, but I’m pretty sure cut gas lines are dangerous. Certainly to the people living in the house, since the slightest spark could cause an explosion. Perhaps it’s a threat to the surrounding neighborhood, to have a potential fireball in their midst, c/o Tea Partiers angry that the health care reform vote didn’t go their way.
How are conservatives responding? Well, at least one conservative blogger says our representatives should expect intimidation, violence and death as the result of doing their jobs.
Look, the guy is a member of Congress, one of the most public jobs on the planet, a job in which constituents should know where you live. You are supposed to be on their side, representing their interests, after all. It seems that when the time comes that a Congressman doesn’t want his constituents to know where he lives, he’s either scared that his actions in Congress were against the will of the people, or he’s become such a detached elitist that he thinks he is above contact with the people he represents.
Perriello is a member of the United States House of Representatives, not the Duke of Gloucester.
Exit question: If Perriello had voted No on Obamacare, would this story even have been written? Votes have consequences.
Votes have consequences? So does eliminationist, right-wing rhetoric.
Or is, your life — and those of your family — are a fair price to pay for running afoul of the Tea Partiers?
I guess so. The teabagger who posted the address followed up with: “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”
So even being related to a member of Congress who voted against Tea Partier’s wishes is enough to make you
fair game “collateral damage”?
This is either before of after expressing shock and outrage that anyone might “drop by” and express themselves as they saw fit.
Coleman told The Daily Progress today that he is “shocked” and “almost speechless” at the possibility that someone would sever the propane line to Perriello’s brother’s house.
“I obviously condemn these actions,” he said. “I would hope that people aren’t thinking about doing anything crazy. We just wanted people to get close to the congressman and have their voices heard. Violence is not going to answer anything. I’m a little shocked and amazed.”
Coleman added that he is not certain that the incident is related to the posting of the home’s address. “Of course, we don’t know this is a related event,” he said.
Shocked and amazed? No, you’re not. OK. Maybe you thought people would just show up and sing protest songs from a safe distance.
No. You didn’t. The rhetoric, even “collateral damage,” makes that an obvious lie.
Conservative media spokes persons, GOP leadership, and Tea Party have convinced their viewers, listeners, followers and foot soldiers that the president, congressional Democrats, and health care reform advocates want to kill their grandmothers, force them to have abortions, all manner of other nightmares.
The longstanding eliminiationist rhetoric on the right plumbed new depths in the days leading up to the health care reform vote. Just last week, Glenn Beck stepped up his rhetoric, saying progressives are a “disease” destroying the country from within by passing health care reform.
This was merely a continuation of his usual routine.
Having done all of this, what can you expect people to do? You don’t deliver a petition to Hitler. You don’t picket outside the home of someone who wants to kill your grandma.
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or — more exactly — with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?
Put another way, how do you publicly post the address (or what you think is the address) of someone — after telling your readers, listeners, followers, supporters, etc., that this person wants to destroy them along with everything and everyone they love, and encourage them to “drop by,” without expecting some kind of intimidation, harassment, or violence?
The point is. You don’t.
It’s clear now. There will be blood. It will take someone being seriously injured or killed before GOP leadership speaks up, if then. There will be blood.
It doesn’t take a psychic to predict this. It just takes a look at the escalating rhetoric. To anyone familiar with the tactics of terror, is clear where this is going. First there is the threat of violence. It may be spoken, or it may not. It may be as simple as a hanging noose. The intended effect is the same: to put the target on notice to shut up, stay in his or place, and don’t dare challenge the status quo.
It is delivered, often, with a smile that implies not merely a willingness to do harm, but perhaps even a desire to do so — “I will hurt you, and I will enjoy doing it.”
…There will be blood. Turning up the heat and stirring the pot already brimming with fear, lies, anger and violence will all but ensure that.
If Republicans continue to either stand silent or cheer on the mob we can assume one of three things: (a) they don’t know what fire they’re playing with, (b) it’s what they want, (c) or — for the sake of ideology — they’re willing to risk it.
At this point, it’s impossible not to know what kind of fire you’re playing with. That leaves two other options: either it’s what you want, or you’re willing to risk it in the name of ideology.
Take your pick.
Update: Apparently, if you voted for health care reform even your children aren’t safe.
And in a frightening development, one right-wing activist-blogger and former militia member, posted on his blog, a call to action for “Sons of Liberty” opposing healthcare reform to engage in violence and destruction, by throwing bricks through the windows of Democratic lawmakers across the country. So far, several Democratic offices throughout the country, have reported acts of vandalism, including the Tuscon office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), the Monroe County Democratic Committee headquarters in upstate New York, Rep. Louise Slaughter’s (D-NY) Niagara Falls office and the Sedgwick County Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita.
Attached to the brick hurled through the window of the upstate New York Democratic office, was a threatening and misspelled note quoting conservative Barry Goldwater: “Exremism [sic] in defense of liberty is no vice.” And Rep. Slaughter, also received a frightening recorded message on her campaign office machine threatening the murder of lawmakers’ children: “Assassinate is the word they used…toward the children of lawmakers who voted yes.”
And that’s not all. A Lynchburg Tea Party leader published the home address of Rep. Thomas Perriello (D-VA) on his blog, encouraging enraged teapartiers to “drop by” the lawmaker’s home for a “personal” and ” face-to-face chat.” But the teapartier in question, Mike Troxel, published instead, the home address of Rep. Perriello’s brother, who has four children under the age of eight. Troxel refused to remove the address from his blog. As a result, Politico is reporting that local law enforcement is investigating an incident at the brother’s home, which occurred after his home address was posted on the Virginia teapartier’s blog.