I submit to you that THIS is what the GOP has given us: an increasingly tense society in which peoples' fears and prejudices are preyed upon for political gain in the context of a dire economic situation in which budget cuts are near-mandatory even for the Secret Service. Thus, I find the latest article from the Yahoo news blog particularly troubling. If this has already been diaried then I do apologize.
According to an article posted on the Yahoo news blog, written by Brett Michael Dykes, the Secret Service is facing budget cuts at a moment when threats made against President Obama are skyrocketing.
An internal congressional report questioning the ability of the Secret Service to continue fulfilling its duties was leaked to the Boston Globe. The report says the Secret Service is strained by a drastic increase in threats to President Obama, coupled with deep budget cuts......
Talking Points Memo noted that Ronald Kessler, the author of a recently released book on the Secret Service's protection of U.S. presidents, recently said that threats against President Obama are up 400 percent from the number of threats levied against former President George W. Bush, while the size of the agency's staff has only increased by 5.3 percent
Hmmmm.... I wonder who is fueling this hatred. It couldn't be Trey Walker, could it? You know, the South Carolina Republican activist who compared Michelle Obama to a gorilla. Or how about the Tennessee Republican aide who sent out the disgusting racist caricature of President Obama in a mass email. Or how about Congresswoman Michelle "batshite crazy" Bachmann who has stated that she wants Minnesotans "armed and dangerous."
And then of course, we have more prominent Republicans who reach millions of people each night and do nothing but fuel hatred against President Obama. Here's Glenn Beck shamelessly preying on white racist fears of Barack Obama.
And here's Bill O' Reilly (or, as Al Franken would say, "Bill O' Leilly") doing the same thing.
Is it any mystery why threats against President Obama have escalated? It doesn't surprise me that there are hate groups or that threats have gone up against our President. But for the Republicans to inflame the hatred of racist yahoos as a means of political survival is disheartening. After all, what else do they have? As Alan Grayson pointed out, they are dying as a political entity. What scares me though, is that a lot of the same type of hate-filled rhetoric was around prior to the Oklahoma City bombing.
In some cases, recent violence that has been visited upon innocent people can be traced directly to right-wing rhetoric. James Adkisson, who slaughtered two people at a Unitarian church in Knoxville, Tennessee just a few months ago, explained the basis for the killings.
"This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn't get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling."
And then of course, we had the slaying of the three police officers in Pittsburgh - the killings of which can be traced directly to fallacious and outrageous emails sent out by the head of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, who has his entire membership believing that President Obama is going to take away their guns.
Without the ability to aim their anger directly at the government, these crazies are willing to go ahead and start firing on people they feel represent the folks they despise. This is scary, because the violence can erupt anywhere, as it did in Pittsburgh and in Knoxville. Personally, I believe that anyone who issues a threat against President Obama should be locked up. From the yahoo article:
Congress passed a law in 1917 making any threat against the president a federal crime, and the responsibility of investigating such threats often falls upon the Secret Service.
In direct response to the notion that their capacity to protect the President is somehow diminished, the Secret Service has issued a response.
...the agency denied any decreased capacity to carry out its missions, saying that the Boston Globe's report was "not accurate and lacks a good deal of information."
Of course, I hope and expect that this is true. At the very least, we should be able to protect our President in this day and age. What I'm concerned about is all those right-wing lunatics out there, many of whom are "armed and dangerous," and have a ton of pent-up anger and violent tendencies and who seem to have no problem just blowing away innocent people.
In any event, it is absolutely clear who is at fault for this violence. It's the right-wing legislators and activists and talk-show hosts who stir up hatred and fear and racism with their irresponsible rhetoric day in, day out. The blood of innocents is on their hands.