The big hysteria going around now is how some of the Congresscritters who voted for ObamaCare are getting threats now. I suppose I should put on my grown-up pants and denounce all threats of violence related to politics, but I have to admit I’m pretty much inured to them by now. Quite frankly, my threshold of perceived threats is pretty high.
I come by it honestly. In 1992, I was razzing some Pat Buchanan supporters in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire right before the primary when one of them brought up the novel debate tactic of offering to throw me through a nearby plate glass window. I declined the honor.
More recently (and less personally), I’ve been through the first eight years of the current century (what others might call the 2nd Bush administration) and I saw plenty of it. Plenty of it targeted against the right, and there was never the hue and cry we’re hearing nowadays.
I recall an effigy of Sarah Palin being hanged off some idiot’s house.
I remember a parking lot full of vehicles Republicans had rented for “get out the vote” use in Milwaukee getting their tires slashed — by some rather well-connected young Democrats employed by the Kerry campaign.
I remember Carlos Mantos, a Democratic Party official in Philadelphia, turning away Republican poll watchers, arguing that his district was 100% Democrat, so they had no business there.
I recall two armed Black Panthers stationing themselves outside another Philadelphia polling station, making sure that every white voter knew that The Black Man was gonna win.
I remember “community organizers” organizing protest “field trips” to the homes of top banking executives, making sure that all their people knew precisely where these people lived.
And I remember seeing actual protests featuring actual idiots armed with actual torches and pitchforks.
So, I’m not going to make an effort to condemn these threats of violence. Instead, I’m going to try a different tactic:
Hey, Democratic members of Congress. I don’t speak for anyone, really, but I’m one of those largely moderate-to-right-leaning citizens and voters. I’ve been to a Tea Party rally, and I don’t like what you’re doing. But I don’t care for these threats of violence.
Right now, those are coming from a very, very small portion of the larger group to which I belong. And the fact that they’re a minority means you don’t have to worry about huge mobs coming after you.
Right now, Democrats, we reasonable, responsible members of the “right” are all that is standing between you and the nutjobs. Right now, we’re doing a fairly good job of keeping the nutjobs from taking more direct action. Right now, we’re the ones who are arguing that we can trust the system, that it will work, that this nation and its system of governance are not hopelessly broken, that now is not quite the time for the Tree of Liberty to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
So keep that in mind, Democrats, when you start painting all of us with that broad brush. Right now, we stand on the side of civilized behavior, and not on the side of those out to wreak violence in retaliation for what a small number of our ideological compatriots see as repeated gross assaults on the Constitution.
Be careful how hard you push us.
Lest I be accused of plagiarism, let me give credit where credit is due.
He could have said that as much as he disagreed with that group, he would not tolerate the mobs with pitchforks, that he deplored the threats of violence, and that he and his administration would make damned sure that those threats were never carried out. Instead, he chose to use them for his own purposes. So if he can do it, with far more authority behind his words, why can’t I?