March 25, 2010


Rightwingers are so angry over the passage of health care reform that they are threatening to cut the gas lines of democrats who voted for the bill and even ASSASSINATE THEIR CHILDREN? And mainstream republicans are barely distancing themselves from these comments?


“None of this is about healthcare at all. It’s about extending a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful.”

The GOP certainly isn’t responsible for the actions of every single
individual who votes for a Republican, or every hate-radio commentator.
But they are certainly responsible for sowing the seeds of hatred and
resentment, and for picking traditionally marginalized groups as their
scapegoats — immigrants, people of color, women, gays and lesbians.
They are certainly also guilty of using violent, heated rhetoric to get
their point across, whether they’re calling health care legislation
“Marxist” and invoking Lenin or suggesting that we put the Speaker of the House in the “firing line” or screaming out “baby-killer” in the middle of a Congressional debate.
They embrace and even pander to the most far-right elements of their
constituency, and they set a tone which enables and even promotes the
kind of disgusting, inhuman behavior that the Tea Partiers exhibit.

And we aren’t just talking about right-wingers calling openly gay
congressman Barney Frank a faggot or civil rights leader turned
congressman John Lewis a nigger (although they did do that). We’re
talking about crowds who yell at a black congressman, “Kill the bill, then the n-word.”
We aren’t just talking about people who vandalize congressional offices
(although they did do that). We’re talking about people who threaten to
assassinate (their word) the children of congresswomen who voted “yes” on the bill. We aren’t just talking about people who leave anti-Semitic notes with swastikas on them
at the offices of Jewish congressmen (although they did do that).

talking about organizers who will publicize the names and addresses of
the family members of congressmen and encourage followers to “drop by”
— followers who may then cut the gas line to the family’s home.
We’re talking about a major political party that does nothing to
deter that kind of behavior, and instead quietly encourages it.
Part of the problem is media coverage. The kind of ugliness that the
GOP and the Teabaggers exhibit isn’t as well-covered as it should be in
the mainstream media, I suspect in part because of fears of being
branded excessively liberal and unfair. Part of the traditional
American media conceit is a veneer of impartiality — you get a quote
from one “side” and a quote from the other “side,” and you’re fair and
balanced. The problem, though, is that kind of reporting can lend
credence to totally unfounded and out-there viewpoints — the people who
think global warming doesn’t exist are about as credible as people who
think the sun revolves around the earth, but they’re given equal time
and say in mainstream media outlets, giving their totally marginal and
flat-out factually incorrect viewpoints much more weight than they

The same thing happened with abortion in the health care bill
— Republicans and conservative Democrats spouted nonsense about how it
was going to be an abortion free-for-all, and the media reported that
view with the same weight as everyone else saying “No it’s not.” At no
point did most media outlets simply say, “We’ve looked into this and
these guys are either wrong or lying or both.” It’s enabled the
Republican party to premise entire political arguments and platforms on
lies, from Iraq to abortion to marriage equality to economic policy.