When I wrote my earlier article there were doubters among the readership as to who actually was perpetrating violence against those in Congress who had voted in favor of health care reform. Since that article there continues to be a growing stack of evidence of both borderline seditious rhetoric as well as actual examples of threatening behavior having been leveled against the more progressive elements in American political society.The F.B.I. defines domestic terrorism as follows: “Domestic terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States (or its territories) without foreign direction, committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.During the past decade we have witnessed dramatic changes in the nature of the terrorist threat. In the 1990s, right-wing extremism overtook left-wing terrorism as the most dangerous domestic terrorist threat to the country. During the past several years, special interest extremism, as characterized by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has emerged as a serious terrorist threat. …Special interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect widespread political change.” (F.B.I. "The Threat of Eco-Terrorism" (February 12, 2002): http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress02/jarboe021202.htm.)
If you had the opportunity to watch the Chris Matthews Show this past Sunday, the 18th of April, you would have witnessed a lively discussion on the nature of the present threat of political violence emanating from the far right side of American politics. I have taken the time to delve into several of the show’s references, as a means of producing undeniable evidence of the propensity for political violence among right-wing extremists.
First there is Michael Savage who, on his April 9th Savage Nation Show said: “What we need is a vigorous right-wing movement in America, not a Tea Party. And you need to face off against those scum on the left and then you’ll have a nation.” (See - Michael Savage: “Obama a traitor who is not Loyal to America” http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201004120011) Then there is the example of Mike Vanderboegh, former Alabama Militiaman who now hosts the Freedom Radio Show. In his “To all modern Sons of Liberty: THIS is your time. Break their windows. Break them NOW.” He clearly and explicitly incites his followers to violence: “Pelosi and her ilk apparently do not understand that this Intolerable Act has some folks so angry that they are ready to resist their slow-rolling revolution against the Founders' Republic by force of arms… These are collectivists. They do not hear you grumble. They do not, it is apparent after the past year of town halls and Tea Parties and nose-diving opinion polls, hear you SHOUT. They certainly do not hear the soft "snik-snik" of cleaning rods being used on millions of rifle barrels in this country by people who have decided that their backs are to the wall, politics and the courts no longer are sufficient to the task of defending their liberties, and they must make their own arrangements…. So, if you wish to send a message that Pelosi and her party cannot fail to hear, break their windows. Break them NOW. Break them and run to break again. Break them under cover of night. Break them in broad daylight. Break them and await arrest in willful, principled civil disobedience. Break them with rocks. Break them with slingshots. Break them with baseball bats.” (http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2010/03/to-all-modern-sons-of-liberty-this-is.html).
Finally there is Michele Bachmann who recently advocated that Minnesotans become “armed and dangerous” in reaction to Barack Obama’s energy policy. As reported in the Minnesota Independent: “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.” Quoting the author, Chris Steller: “Smart Politics notes it’s not the first time since the election of President Obama and a new Democrat-led Congress that Bachmann dubbed her conservative compatriots “foreign correspondents reporting to you from enemy lines.” The metaphor, combined with her “armed-and-dangerous” rhetoric, drifts close to Sean Hannity’s excited speculation about a militant right-wing reaction.” (“Bachmann wants Minnesotans ‘armed and dangerous’ against Obama energy policy” By Chris Steller, Minnesota Independent, March 24, 2009 http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/article/2009/03/24/bachmann-wants-minnesotans-%E2%80%98armed-and-dangerous%E2%80%99-against-obama-energy-policy.html.)
If the above dosen’t constitute incendiary or seditious rehetoric, than what does in fact constitute? At this point in time it would seem to me that the preponderence of reported incidents seems clearly aimed at the current administration and its supporters, not the other way around. I know there are those on the right who are bending over backwards to try to explain away today’s clear and present evidence of a trend toward right-wing violence with comparisons back to the sixties, violence by animal rights or environmental groups but that was then and this is now. Today the problem lies clearly on the far-right and generally speaking, nowhere else. There are those who will say that there is plenty of evidence of current left-wing violence if one cares to look, well fine, give us some credible and empirical examples in the present and not five or six or forty years ago. As we observe the fifteenth anniversary of the America’s greatest act of domestic terror, the Oklahoma City Bombing, let us be ever mindfull of those clear and present threats aimed at our public safety, regardless of which side of the political spectrum they come from, and as good citizens, stand up to reckless rehtoric when ever and where ever you confont it.
Steven J. Gulitti
19 April 2010