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In 2008, I sat with a group of local government officials in a Georgia city and listened to some of them predict that if Barack Obama won the Presidential election, he would be assassinated before ever taking office.
“There’s no way the racists and extreme right-wing will let him serve a day as President,” said one. “It won’t happen.”
I’ve thought about that conversation many times over the last year-and-a-half. Their certainty that Obama would never be allowed to take office bothered me. No one at the table advocated killing a candidate for President for office. They just took it for granted that it would happen.
It didn’t happen, but Obama’s election and first year as President has brought an increase in activity by extremists, hate groups and self-styled “patriots” and anger against the American government.
The recent arrests of a ragtag group of “Christian militia” members, who called themselves “Hutaree,” on charges they planned to start a new American revolution by killing cops and then bombing the funerals to increase the carnage highlights the rising level of hate in this nation.
The Tea Party racists who screamed “nigger” at African-American congressmen and “faggot” and “homo” at openly-gay Rep. Barney Frank underscore the vitriol that flows through the inflamed veins of political rhetoric.
The cowardly domestic terrorists who cut a propane line at the home of a Congressman’s brother in Virginia or hurl a brick with a threat attached through the glass door of a New York Congressman’s district office are defended by the self-righteous right as purveyors of free speech.
While I understand some of the anger that Americans feel over what is happening in the country, I don’t understand the hate nor will I ever condone violence as a political tool.
Others also need to understand that I do not tolerate hate on this web site nor do I turn the other cheek when some direct their hate at me or my family.
I receive, on average a half-dozen threats a day via email or voice mail. A reader of my local blog and one who thinks Sarah Palin should be President got in my face the other day on the street of my hometown. He threw the first punch but didn’t get a chance to land a second. A good dentist should be able to make a bridge to replace his missing teeth but he will have to wait until his jaw heals.
Those who issue threats and advocate violence are usually cowards who hide behind anonymous screen names or send unsigned missives through email or just leave them in your mailbox.
The few stupid enough to get in my face and take a swing will go down and will need medical attention.
I don’t start fights but I know how to to end them.