FBI Investigates 'Suspicious Incident' in Virginia

Lidane3/24/2010 1:22:04 pm PDT

re: #164 The Sanity Inspector

I think we can agree that, in a nation of 300 million, there’s always going to be a nutter up to some nuttiness somewhere. The question is: Is this a trend, and if so, who is inpiring/profiting from it?

Another question to ask is where it all ends. Does it end with a severed gas line at the house of a congressman’s brother, or does it end with someone actually getting hurt?

Look— there are nutbars on both sides. No one denies that. HOWEVER, the teabaggers are being encouraged to be in a constant state of fear/panic/outrage by some very powerful media players. We can’t ignore that, nor should we look for any sort of equivalency on the left in order to minimize or excuse it. That’s taking the easy way out when folks should be taking a hard look at the political environment that’s being stoked here and finding ways of combating it.

The issue here, aside from the threats against a congressman’s brother and his family, is that eventually, smaller groups of people within the teabagger movement will give in to those feelings of perpetual fear/panic/outrage that are being encouraged and they will start thinking that they are under siege. They will use those feelings to justify their actions, believing they are being righteous in their actions of posting addresses online, or throwing bricks through windows with out-of-context Goldwater quotes attached, or burning people in effigy, or sending death threats to members of Congress, or whatever.

Rhetoric has consequences. Words have power. This is serious stuff, as the incident in Virgina proves. Instead of trying to find examples of the same type of behavior on the other side in order to find an equivalence, why not focus our energy on encouraging elected officials in BOTH parties to speak out and openly condemn not only the actions of whoever severed the gas line, but also the rhetorical environment that led to this in the first place?

Political opposition is good. It’s necessary for a healthy democracy, even. And even though I voted for Obama, I welcome good, solid, intellectual opposition to his policies and ideas based on an actual ideology, and not just anger or fear. I think it’s a good thing.

I don’t think all Republicans are like whoever severed that gas line. I don’t think all conservatives are like that, either. But it’s almost impossible to have an intelligent conversation about the issues when the opposition insists on having the sort of heated rhetoric about socialist takeovers of the U.S., or treason, or whatever, and when they insist on poisoning the well by creating an environment where that sort of talk is de rigueur. That just gets in the way, and we need to find a way to stop it.