Monday, February 28, 2011

Congressman Broun's Town Hall Meeting

It’s old news now – almost non-news, for all the attention it’s gotten -- that at a town hall meeting with Congressman Paul Broun (R-Ga.) on February 22, barely six weeks after six people were killed and Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, a constituent brought down the house with his question about when someone was going to shoot President Obama (who is also, incidentally, the father of two young children -- anyone else here old enough to remember little Caroline and John-John?)  The congressman’s “handling” of the incident has been documented. I certainly won’t bore anyone with my own opinions on the matter (this time). The subject is, after all, pretty “loaded.” Instead, let’s just revisit some facts:

Last fall, Joyce Kaufman, the chief of staff for the election campaign of Alan West, Republican Congressman from Florida, made a public speech promising to lead a violent rebellion against a House of Congress and a Federal Government not controlled by and not reflecting the policies of the Republican Party. Congressman West himself stated that the aim of his supporters should be to make his Democratic opponent "afraid to leave his house." During the same campaign season, Stephen Broden, a Republican candidate for the United States Congress, said publicly that his constituency should pursue "armed insurrection" against the duly elected Federal Government should Republicans fail to win back control of the House in the election. Earlier in the year, during the Health Care Reform debate, Representative John Boehner, now the Republican Speaker of the House and third in line to the presidency, declared that a Democratic representative from his home state would be "a dead man" back in his district if he were to vote with Democrats and against Republican interests. Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman has called on her constituents to be “armed and dangerous” in their opposition to Democratic Party initiatives. Sharron Angle was the Republican Party's candidate for the United States Senate from the state of Nevada when she encouraged her fellow Republicans to pursue "2nd Amendment remedies" should she lose a legal election to her sitting Democratic rival. Sarah Palin was the Republican Party's candidate for Vice President of the United States and after losing a fair and legal election exhorted her fellow Republicans "not to retreat but to reload" with a graphic featuring snipers' crosshairs over legally elected Democrats' seats. One of those symbols was over Ms. Giffords.'

These are not the rants of isolated nut jobs or "fringe" elements. These are documented statements from the local, state and national leaders of one of our two mainstream political parties espousing civil violence against members of the other party. As to the future, the RNC is being very discriminating in screening potential candidates to see that they fit the profile of those already in positions of leadership. In the meanwhile Democrats and Liberals (along with a Republican judge, a nine year old child and four other participants at a Democratic Party rally) were shot to death last month. Liberal activists have been shot and killed in Tennessee; Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider (abortion rights being a Democratic Party priority) was murdered in Kansas in 2009, and a building in Texas housing Federal IRS offices was the target of a suicide plane crash last year.

Could an observer of the side-splitting Q & A from Congressman Broun’s town hall meeting be faulted for wondering if the Republican Party and its constituency are still not satisfied?

1 comment:

  1. Mightn't we add the "From my cold, dead hands" mantra of the NRA as another example of the exhortation to violent resistance to possible legally-instituted changes in interpretations of Constitutional rights? Though the NRA is not a structural element of the GOP establishment, there is little question to which party their support--electoral, financial, vocal--is directed.