A white terrorist cell on a military base in Georgia plotted to assassinate President Barack Obama and stage a military coup. It murdered two former members of the cell. It bought $87,000 of military grade weaponry and land in Washington state. It planned to bomb a dam in Washington and poison its apple crop. It planned to take over Fort Stewart in Georgia.
The National Security Agency is massively and illegally spying on ordinary Americans. Peace activists are bothered by police and put on watch lists. Journalists like Amy Goodman have been beaten up for covering peaceful protests. The NYPD conducted extensive espionage on American citizens of Muslim heritage not only in NYC but far beyond their jurisdiction. Rep. Peter King of New York keeps holding hearings on the alleged radicalization of American Muslims (who are mostly pillars of the American establishment; King himself supports IRA terrorism).
But extremist white Christian soldiers want to kill the president and privately stockhold thousands of dollars worth of military grade weapons? Apparently if they hadn’t started murdering people they could have flown under the radar on all that.
All those right wing politicians and commentators who kept hammering Obama as a foreigner, a Muslim, illegitimate, a budding dictator– they created the hothouse atmosphere that fostered this kind of evil.
Indeed, apparently one of the four plotters was a page at the 2008 Republican Convention.
Republicans aren’t responsible for having crazed assassins among them– that would be guilt by association. But they are responsible for promoting irrationality by using fear, demonization, taboos, innuendo and coded race discourse. It is reasoned argument that makes for democracy. Karl Rove and Rupert Murdoch and Koch brothers’ rhetorical tactics release chickens that eventually will come to roost.
And don’t get me started about what the Bush White House would have done if minority members in uniform had gotten up such a plot against W. They’d have used it to put progressives in concentration camps. Because Democrats are not on the whole demagogic, this plot will likely not even get that much air play.
Nor will the National Rifle Association come under any pressure to stop insisting that extremists and the mentally ill have free and constant access to military grade weaponry.
What I’m afraid of is that demagoguery and semi-automatic weapons will keep dominating our society until something very bad happens, something which may cost us even more of our liberties.