Reprinted from Robert Reich Blog
Cliven Bundy Ignited a Hellstorm of Right Wing Hate
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On Friday, a gunman killed three at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. Later, in explaining his motive to the police, he said "no more baby parts."
Last Monday, gunmen opened fire on Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis who were demanding action against two white Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, an unarmed black man, on Nov. 15.
Evidence shows the accused shooters were linked to white supremacist organizations operating online.
Meanwhile, the FBI reports an upturn in threats on mosques and Muslims in the United States.
In Connecticut, police are investigating reports of multiple gunshots fired at a local mosque. Two Tampa Bay-area mosques in Florida received threatening phone messages. One of the calls threatened a firebombing.
In an Austin suburb, leaders of the Islamic Center of Pflugerville discovered feces and torn pages of the Qur'an.
Hate crimes will never be eliminated entirely. A small number of angry, deranged people inevitably will vent their rage at groups they find threatening. Some will do so violently.
But this doesn't absolve politicians who have been fueling such hatefulness.
Perpetrators of hate crimes often take their cues from what they hear in the media. And the recent inclination of some politicians to use inflammatory rhetoric is contributing to a climate of hate and fear.
Carly Fiorina continues to allege, for example, that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts of fetuses.
Although the claim has been proven baseless, it's been repeated not only by Fiorina but also by other candidates. Mike Huckabee calls it "sickening" that "we give these butchers money to harvest human organs."
Even in the wake of Friday's Colorado shootings, Donald Trump referred to videos "with some of these people from Planned Parenthood talking about it like you're selling parts to a car."
Some candidates are also fomenting animus toward Muslims.
Huckabee says he'd "like for Barack Obama to resign if he's not going to protect America and instead protect the image of Islam."
Ben Carson says allowing Syrian refugees into the United States is analogous to exposing a neighborhood to a "rabid dog." Last September Carson said he "would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation."