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Apocalyptic Rhetoric

Paul Waldman at The American Prospect makes an excellent point about what passes for political discourse in this country recently:

The rhetoric of violence is not the only kind of rhetoric that encourages violence. The apocalyptic rhetoric we’ve seen from some on the right, most notably Glenn Beck, should be part of this discussion too. When Beck portrays Barack Obama as the head of a socialist/communist/Nazi conspiracy whose goal is the literal destruction of America, he is implicitly encouraging violence. If that really were the nature of the administration, and our liberty really were on the verge of being snuffed out, violence would be justified.

I find this kind of “ginning up the natives” way more dangerous than things like drawing targets on a map. Statements claiming that Obama or some other politician is going to kill your grannie with “death panels” or will destroy your freedom or take away your guns, or otherwise threaten you with harm is purposely designed to scare the pants off of people and push them toward Sharon Angle’s “second amendment remedies”.

Indeed, as Waldman points out, if Obama really was threatening to do half the things that the right-wing have claimed he is doing, then I would likely be out there with them employing those remedies. But just because you don’t like a politician (who was elected by a majority of voters), doesn’t make them a tyrannical despot who deserves assassination. Instead, we have elections.



  1. Chris wrote:

    I wholeheartedly agree. Violent rhetoric isn’t even necessary if you can convince the gullible that their way of life is under threat. Robert Wright just wrote a good piece on this here:

    By the way, just to take one step back in all this, what exactly is under threat from the Obama administration? The guns are still in people’s closets (and hands), corporate regulations are still weak, leading to unprecedented oil spills and economic havoc, yet Beck, Bachmann and the rest are as angry as if there actually were a ban on guns and carbon dioxide.

    Much of this anger supposedly surrounds the health care reform bill, which neither nationalized health care nor increased the deficit. So the sad truth seems to be that pundits and politicians on the right are raving mad largely because – now that insurance companies can’t drop paying customers for pre-existing conditions – Blue Cross and Aetna now enjoy slightly smaller profit margins.

    Seriously, what is the right so angry about?

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    rove and fox news want control of the American public. 70% of the public think that our country is getting worse financially, jobs, etc. It is getting better. 70%, 70% watch Fox News with its brainwashing news. They want to hate. Fox gives them the means.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
  3. Sammy wrote:

    News reports this morning (sorry, heard on radio, no links) state that Glock 19 (same gun that killed 6 in Tucson) sales are brisk in Arizona. Not just guns for self-protection from crazed gunmen, but the exact same model that nearly killed a Congresswoman. That’s some sick shit.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  4. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    When did the definition of treason shift? I keep wondering as I hear/read of the latest insanity from Glen Beck and those of his ilk!

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink
  5. Sammy wrote:

    Here we go with the link:

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Chris, greed has no limits.

    And some of the anger is justified. In some ways, our country is in worse shape than it used to be. Especially to someone who hasn’t been able to find a job for 2 years. The game of the right is to turn that anger against someone else — like a convenient scapegoat (immigrants, Obama, Democrats, socialists, you name it).

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  7. Morrius wrote:

    These talking heads and politicians don’t even believe what they are saying. They just want TV ratings/re-election campaign money/votes.

    Check out Fred Clark’s blog: and the next few entries that follow it.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink
  8. Kirk wrote:

    Their just trying to get the folks to forget most of are problems were inherited from bush, sorry bama hasnt fixed everything fast enough for ya. Scary how many people wholeheartedly believe beck, scarier that their more then likely armed lol

    Monday, March 28, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink