The Republican Party has hit a new low, and the behavior of some of their members is becoming downright frightening.
Ex-Governor (and currently holding no elected office) Sarah Palin crossed the line yesterday with a post on her Twitter account that said “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!" Pls see my Facebook page.” Her Facebook page then goes on to encourage those unhappy with the recent passing of health care reform to “...not get discouraged. Don’t get demoralized. Get organized!”
She goes on to express the desire to “ “reclaim the power of the people from those who disregarded the will of the people. We’re going to fire them and send them back to the private sector” …” commenting that when they join the ranks of the unemployed, maybe they will understand. But Palin also goes on to show a chart from Sarahpac.com listing specific democrats that she wants to target, and the chart has crosshairs – literally - on their congressional locations. With the all the references to guns – the crosshairs, the “reload” comment, and other words in her message such as “aim” and “salvo” – it is frightening in its blatant attempt to incite violence. She goes on to list them by name as follows, which reads like a proverbial “hit” list:
We’re paying particular attention to those House members who voted in favor of Obamacare and represent districts that Senator John McCain and I carried during the 2008 election. Three of these House members are retiring – from Arkansas’s 2nd district, Indiana’s 8th district, and Tennessee’s 6th district – but we’ll be working to make sure that those who replace them are Commonsense Conservatives. The others are running for re-election, and we’re going to hold them accountable for this disastrous Obamacare vote. They are: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1), Harry E. Mitchell (AZ-5), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8), John Salazar (CO-3), Betsy Markey (CO-4). Allen Boyd (FL-2), Suzanne M. Kosmas (FL-24), Baron P. Hill (IN-9), Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL), Charlie Wilson (OH-6), John Boccieri (OH-16), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3), Christopher Carney (PA-10), John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC-5), Tom Perriello (VA-5), Alan B. Mollohan (WV-1), and Nick J. Rahall II (WV-3).
While I understand that all Americans – even those that aren’t particularly smart – have the right to free speech, that does not mean they have the right to incite hate or violence. Sarah’s message, while it may seem innocent at face value, almost seems like it was written in “code” with key words, as if she is hoping someone will take her up on the subliminal intent and make it real. Let’s be honest here, if some “normal” person made threats like Sarah Palin has done here, the FBI would be knocking on their door. Her not-so-subtle suggestions and threats are alarming and I think that not only should the FBI consider her words as real threats, but should also make an effort to make sure that the people on her list get protection.
I am greatly concerned with the amount and level of vitriol coming out of the Republican Party, which has only gotten more frequent and more caustic with the passing of the health care reform. It seems that some members of the Republican Party are only happy with the way our government works when it works to the advantage of the Republican Party alone. Party officials need to reign in - or jettison – those party extremists that are acting more like petulant, spoiled children who are having a tantrum because they didn’t get their way. Maybe for starters, Ohio voters should make sure that when Republican Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester) comes up for re-election that he is voted out of office. But, in the meantime, someone with real authority in the party should come out with a clear statement that they do not condone violence as a solution to any political disagreement. If Sarah Palin can’t remove or retract her hit list, then I expect the party to distance themselves from her. At the least, I hope the FBI comes knocking on her door for her apparent threats of violence against our elected officials. Domestic terrorism, no matter what form, cannot be tolerated.
Update January 9, 2010 - In light of the recent shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and the killing and wounding of several others at that same political event, I have have more commentary on this topic which can be found at this link: "Sarah Palin’s “Target” List: Incited Murder, or Unfortunate Coincidence?"
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