Two segments last night on The Rachel Maddow Show and Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann illustrate how shock troops for the radical right are impacting America as politicians and leaders in positions of authority foment outrage and encourage their fearmongering activism.
Dr. Warren Hern, one of the few remaining doctors in the nation willing to perform late term abortions and someone who has lived under the threat of assassination for decades, courageously appeared on Rachel Maddow's show to discuss the rhetoric and threats among those opposed to health care reform in comparison to the threats he's been receiving for years now from members of the anti-abortion movement.
Hern provided a brief history of the anti-abortion movement from the 1960s through to the 1990s specifically citing examples of how it has becoming increasingly violent.
"the assassination of Dr. Gunn in 1993, the attempted assassination of Dr. Tiller in 1993, and the other doctors, illustrate that the antiabortion movement is the shock troops for the radical right, on the radical political right, of radical religious right in this country, and I think that we can look at what the anti-abortion movement has done and turned to and see that this is the trend that we are in.
They have -- the anti-abortion movement decided, more than 15 years ago, to use political assassination as a tactic, as a method of not only political expression but a way of organizing their followers and getting support and that's what they've been doing. They've been assassinating doctors. And the question I have pointed out when they get through assassinating abortion doctors: who's next?
Maddow asked Hern, based on what he has experienced with the violent portion of the anti-abortion movement, what does all this Nazi imagery being used do? Does it play a role in turning protest "into actual danger, into actual violence"?
The use of the term "abortionist" for example to stigmatize doctors, the use of the term "pro- life" by people who are killing doctors, the -- all the other rhetoric associated with the anti-abortion movement is prelude to the violent actions people feel justified in taking and feel empowered by this rhetoric.
And the -- it's very clear that there's been a progression of violence increasingly toward individuals. And this is one of the frightening trends. And so, we have to be very concerned because the violent and the aggressive rhetoric and action or statements lead to more violent action and to assassination.
The anti-abortion movement and the rest of the radical political and religious right is fundamentally opposed to the basic premises of American society. They don't accept the rule of law. They don't want debate. They don't want discussion. They don't want reason. They don't want moderate discussion.
They want totalitarian, theocratic society and they are willing to use violence to get it. And that's one of the things we're seeing. The mob rule that's going on in some of the Congress -- members of Congress town meetings is a -- is a prelude to that kind of violence and disruption and it's the antithesis of the democratic process.
In truth, these people opposed to abortion, these people opposed to a feared take over of health care would be all too willing to submit to a totalitarian society with some semblance of liberty if the totalitarian government in power practiced and preached an ideology of God or a brand of free market/Constitution fundamentalism that had little regard for the nuances of everyday life in America.
Juxtapose what Hern said with the segment Keith Olbermann did on his show last night (video to be added if found on YouTube later).
Olbermann had Mark Potok, the director of the intelligence project for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on his show to discuss a new report out from the SPLC ("Return of the Militias") showing "right-wing militias, ideologically-driven tax defiers and so-called sovereign citizens are materializing in significant numbers."
Olbermann appropriately prefaced his discussion with Potok by mentioning that unlike in the 90s, when militia groups were on the rise, the "face of federal government" and the "primary threat to freedom" now happens to be black. Also, the changing demographics in America have many Americans afraid of the consequences of Latino immigration. (For example, members of the far right are thinking, "How long before whites become a minority?")