In the wake of passage of health-care reform, the loony right is becoming even more dangerous than usual. They are throwing bricks through the windows of Democratic offices; they are praying for the death of the President; they are even threatening to kill children.
No, these are not Minutemen hiding in some survivalist Idaho bunker. These are not Klansmen burning crosses in Mississippi. These are not neo-Nazis marching in Skokie. These are your neighbors, your pastors, your elected representatives.
Bricks have been thrown through the windows of local Democratic headquarters in Ohio and Kansas. Glass has been shattered at the offices of Louise Slaughter (D-NY) in Niagara Falls and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) in Tucson. A note was left behind by a vandal at another site. It referenced Barry Goldwater's, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."
A fundamentalist California preacher named Wiley Drake urged his flock to pray for the death of all congressmen who voted for the health-care reform bill. (Now that's a Christian attitude!) Racist and homophobic slurs were hurled at prominent Democrats Barney Frank and John Lewis.
And it's going to get worse, if you listen to the extremist rhetoric of the fringe right. Like whiny children who can't accept defeat, Republicans are still trying to derail health care with parliamentary technicalities and wacky amendments. Apparently they believe in democracy only when it works for them.
America is a scary place now, and I worry for the safety of anyone on the left who speaks his or her mind in public. We are like the Jews of Germany in the 1930s, huddled in our homes hoping that fascists don't throw bricks through our windows or haul us off to concentration camps. They are armed, and we are not. And they have Goebbels Limbaugh spewing hate on the radio all day, inciting the worst of the lot to take action.
Just last week, in fact, a couple of pro-lifers had the audacity to knock on my door and insist I vote Republican in the coming election. I relished the opportunity to ground their views into a pulp. The conversation went something like this.
"The GOP is pro-life; the Democrats are child murderers," sniffed the Bible-thumpers.
"Really?" I smirked. "Then why does the GOP support the death penalty? Thousands of innocent people are electrocuted every year in this country. Why does the GOP support the NRA? Thousands of innocent citizens die every year from gun accidents. Why does the GOP support the war in Iraq? Thousands of Americans have died unnecessarily in an immoral, unjust war there. Why is the GOP against health care for all? Millions die each year because they have no health care. It seems to me the GOP wants to protect human beings only before they actually become human beings. I guess the GOP is anti-abortion because it wants to make sure there are a good supply of Americans to enjoy killing off once they are born and become human beings...or fresh meat, as McCain supporters call them."