Threatening as they are, the fires burning around Los Angeles are not the most dangerous flames being fanned by hot hair in America these days.
"There is a coup going on," Glenn Beck lied to his radio followers on Monday. "There is a stealing of America, and the way it . . . has been done [is] through the -- the guise of an election."
Mr. Beck's incendiary and absurd charge is but one among a growing cacophony of extremely dangerous, radical nonsense being regurgitated by right-wing commentators, with the active or passive complicity of leading Republicans. They are playing with fire, and if they do not cease, someone -- or, quite possibly, the entire nation -- is going to get burned.
It is time for every voice of decency in America to be raised in unison to say firmly and unequivocally: "STOP!"
The venom being spewed against President Obama by Republicans and the screaming heads of Faux News and talk radio -- "Communist!" "Nazi!" "Death Panels!" "He's a secret Muslim!" "He's not an American citizen!" "He wants to kill Grandma!" "Take OUR country back!" -- goes far beyond the bounds of political debate. So does the carrying of firearms to appearances by the President.
Do these wild-eyed people on the right really want to reap what they are sowing?
What they are sowing is unmistakable. If you lead people to think that a black Communist-Nazi-Muslim-racist President who is not an American citizen and wants to euthanize old people has stolen America by taking power through a coup, you cannot fail to know what you are saying to your gullible listeners.
Nor can you fail to know what it is going to lead some of them to think it is their patriotic duty to do.
We've Been Down This Road Before