This should be obvious: we need to get GOP politicians on the record as saying that the murder of Dr. George Tiller was an act -- a successful act -- of terrorism. We need the public to understand that this is terrorism.
I called the office of my local Congressman, Gary Miller (CA-42), this afternoon. The Washington office was already closed, so I asked them to get some information for which I'd call back tomorrow: "Does Rep. Miller consider the killing of Dr. Tiller to be an act of terrorism?"
I urge you to call your representatives (especially GOP represetnatives) and ask them the same question, plus some additional questions I ask below.
Otherwise, all we're going to see about this is the likes of this comment on the clinic closing from a represenative of Operation Rescue:
Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue, had said that closing the clinic now would send a worrisome message. "Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason," he said in an interview with The New York Times. "Every kook in the world will get some notion."
Surprised? I have to admit that I was. An Operation Rescue leader is, in effect, calling for continued availability of abortion services because the alternative is for our society to be seen as giving in to terrorism.
Now -- after word that the clinic is closing permanently, meaning that this act of terrorism has achieved its objective -- are Republican politicians smart enough to do likewise?
My bet is that they are not, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise.
Now, as I see it, Republican politicians can have a variety of responses to the Tiller murder and clinic closing. Starting from most obnoxious to least obnoxious:
- . (This probably won't happen. They leave that to their constituents, who are even now writing him letters of support in prison.) If they say this, they support terrorism.
- . (Some may try this, but once we know who they are we can make their lives miserable until they give up the tactic.) If they do this, they have refused to condemn terrorism.
- . (We will see this response, I'm sure.) If they say this, they support our being understanding of the motivations for terrorism.
- . (We will, I suspect, see a lot of this.) If they say this, they accept letting the terrorists win.
- . (I don't expect to see much of this, but maybe I'll be surprised.) If they say this -- and I frankly hope that every one of them does -- they are committing to fighting terrorism, and I expect their votes to follow their words.
So, the questions you want to ask Republican Members of Congress -- and hell, let's ask other Republican officials and Democrats and nonpartisan politicians as well -- are these:
- Do you condemn the shooting of Dr. Tiller as terrorism?
- Do you in any way try to justify or minimize it?
- Do you believe that, now that it has obtained its objective of closing one prominent clinic, the government should act to ensure that all legal abortion services become no less available than would be so in the absence of this terrorism?
You may have to make more than one call for each member. I expect to have to do so. But I want to know the answers -- and to publish them. Remember, you are not calling about defending abortion rights. You are calling about fighting terrorism. It's OK to be pissed!
If you're with me on this, or you have suggestions for improvements, leave that feedback in comments. If you want to say who you plan to call -- and you don't have to be in their district, though of course it helps -- then please do so.