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Monday, May 20, 2024

Right-wing hate and violence threaten to destroy democracy and America

The violent attack against the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week came from a supporter of the hate and violent preachings of Donald Trump and his right-wing MAGA cult. This violence is increasing.
President Donald Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The rabid increase of right-wing violence in America should worry anyone with an IQ that rises into double digits but too many Republican leaders shrug off such things with dismissive claims that “both sides do it” and some even suggest that violence is necessary in these hight-partisan times.

Disgraced former president Donald Trump calls the rioters who defaced the Capitol and generated violence that led to deaths and serious injuries claims they were “true Americans” who showed their “patriotism and love” of his bigoted and destructive view of what this nation should be and has become under his one criminal term in office.

House GOP majority leader Kevin McCarthy, who is slated to become Speaker if the Republicans, as expected, take over control in next week’s midterm elections, called the events of Jan. 6 “acceptable political expression.” He wasn’t saying that on Jan. 6 when McCarthy screamed into his cell phone that the rioters are “fucking trying to kill me” as he urged Trump to take steps against the violence. That help never came from Trump.

Now McCarthy and the many other hypocritical Republicans in Congress, governorships, and state offices around the nation look the other way as the legal system closes in on Trump with indictments coming for his obstruction of justice, violations of America’s Espionage Act, and sedition against the nation he swore an oath to serve and protect.

The Republican party is riddled with racists, liars and those who want to destroy violence and the right-wingers that now control the party are the main cause of violence that is increasing in America daily.

Notes columnist Max Boot:

It should not be controversial to say that America has a major problem with right-wing political violence. The evidence continues to accumulate — yet the GOP continues to deny responsibility for this horrifying trend.

On Friday, a man enflamed by right-wing conspiracy theories (including QAnon) entered the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and attacked her 82-year-old husband with a hammer, fracturing Paul Pelosi’s skull. “Where is Nancy?” he reportedly shouted, echoing the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, at President Donald Trump’s instigation. This comes after years of Republican demonization of the House speaker, a figure of hatred for the right rivaled only by Hillary Clinton.

The same day as the Pelosi attack, a man pleaded guilty to making death threats against Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). Two days earlier, three men who were motivated by right-wing, anti-lockdown hysteria after covid-19 hit were convicted of aiding a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). In August, another man died after attacking an FBI office because he was so upset about the bureau’s search of Mar-a-Lago. “We must respond with force,” he wrote on Trump’s Truth Social website.

Then there are all the terrible hate crimes, in cities including Pittsburgh, El Paso and Buffalo, where gunmen were motivated by the kind of racist rhetoric — especially the “great replacement theory” — now openly espoused on Fox “News.”

The rabid right claims that we in the news media ignored the violence ignited by the left, saying “they do it just as much as us.”

“Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot in 2017 by a gunman with leftist beliefs, and in June, a man was arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh after becoming incensed about court rulings on abortion and guns.,” Boot writes.

“Violence is up across the board,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Sunday news shows. she claims it’s “unfair” to blame anti-Pelosi rhetoric for the assault on Pelosi’s husband.

The facts say otherwise.

The New America Think Tank found otherwise. It reports that violence by right-wingers and Republicans had killed 122 people, too many of them children, compared to just one who died at the hands of a leftist. The Center for Strategic and International Studies says that, since 2015, right-wing extremists had been involved in 267 plots or attacks, compared with 66 for left-wing extremists.

A January Washington Post-University of Maryland survey found that 40 percent of Republicans believe violence against the government is justified, compared to 23 percent of Democrats.

Boot adds:

There is little doubt about what is driving political violence: the ascendance of Trump. The former president and his followers use violent rhetoric of extremes: Trump calls President Biden an “enemy of the state,” attacks the FBI as “monsters,” refers to the “now Communist USA” and even wrote that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a “DEATH WISH” for disagreeing with him. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has expressed support for executing Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Tex.) has tweeted that “the America Last Marxists … are radically and systematically DESTROYING our country.”

That type of extremist rhetoric used to be confined to fringe organizations such as the John Birch Society. Now it’s the GOP mainstream, with predictable consequences. The U.S. Capitol Police report that threats against members of Congress have risen more than tenfold since Trump’s election in 2016, up to 9,625 last year.

The sickness on the right was on display after news broke about the attack on Paul Pelosi. While leading Republicans condemned the horrific assault, the MAGA base seethed with sick jokes making light of the violence and insane conspiracy theories. (Filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza suggested that the attack was “a romantic tryst that went awry.”)

So please don’t accept the GOP framing of the assault on Paul Pelosi as evidence of a problem plaguing “both sides of the aisle.” Political violence in America is being driven primarily by the far right, not the far left, and the far right is much closer to the mainstream of the Republican Party than the far left is to the Democratic Party.

In Virginia, Trump-wannabe governor Glenn Youngkin, who conned voters to elect him by claiming he was a “fresh non-Trump Republican” dismissed the attack on Pelosi’s husband as something that Virginia voters could fix by helping send her “back to San Francisco to be with her husband.”

Thankfully, Virginia limits all governors to just one term but Youngkin is already building his political plans to run for President as an “alternative” to Trump.

Writes columnist Karen Tumulty, who told her readers this weekend that she had been conned into thinking Youngkin was a breath of fresh air and the toxic fumes of Trump, McCarthy, and other Republicans:

At the time, I expressed hope that Youngkin — or someone like him — would seek the GOP nomination in 2024. His stunning 2021 victory in blue-ish Virginia showed that there might still be room in the Republican Party for a different model of politician, one who could run as a unifying alternative to Donald Trump’s venomous brand.

Optimist that I am, I still hope that a tribune of sanity will emerge in the Republican Party. But the everydad in the fleece vest probably isn’t that guy. When a situation this week called for expressing a modicum of human decency, Youngkin — who frequently talks about his religious values — showed he could rival the former president at diving for the gutter.

“Speaker Pelosi’s husband, they had a break-in last night in their house, and he was assaulted. There’s no room for violence anywhere,” Youngkin said.

Alas, he didn’t stop there.

“But we’re going to send her back to be with him in California,” the governor said. As the crowd cheered, Youngkin doubled down: “That’s what we’re going to go do. That’s what we’re going to go do.”

Set aside the fact that his joke, if that’s what you can call it, showed a lack of understanding of basic civics and geography. Pelosi is in Washington because she has been elected for the past 35 years by the voters of California. This has nothing to do with anybody in Virginia.

We can hope that voters next week ignore the polls and vote to get rid of the liars, election deniers, violent supporters of a seditious criminal like Trump, and those who follow and support him.

If we don’t, there will more threats of violence, more deaths, and little chance left for what remains o the democracy that used to define the home of the brave and the land of the free.

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