You are hereSF Bay Guardian: Force is the weapon of the weak: decrying the right's violent rhetoric

SF Bay Guardian: Force is the weapon of the weak: decrying the right's violent rhetoric

April 8, 2010- American political discourse is being poisoned by some truly scary rhetoric from the right-wing, which is increasingly resorting to threats and condoning of violence, a trend that has played out in recent weeks right here on the Guardian’s Politics blog. Now is the time to recognize and stop it, just as a new coalition is calling for.

San Francisco resident Greg Lee Giusti was arraigned in federal court this morning for making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one day after the arrest of Charles Alan Wilson for threatening to kill Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). In both cases, the subject was the recent health care reform bill, the anger of the suspects stoked by misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric from top conservative politicians and media figures, as well as the Tea Party movement.

But these cases – along with the recent domestic terrorism plot by Christian fundamentalists and other incidents of overt and implied threats of violence – aren’t isolated examples; they are closer to the norm of rhetoric emanating from the right-wing these days, a trend not seen in this country since the months that led up to the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building by right-wing radical Timothy McVeigh, the biggest act of domestic terrorism before 9/11.

Consider Giusti, who also wrote a scary letter to me and the Guardian in the midst of his threats against Pelosi, taking issue with our recent cover story that was critical of police crackdowns on SF nightlife. In additional to praising police violence and encouraging cops to “crack a few skulls open,” just like his NYPD cop uncle, who “knows how to inflect [sic] excruciating Paine [sic] on someone without leaving any signs of what happened.”

But Giusti was far from alone in promoting violence over the issues we’ve raised. SFPD Southern Station Capt. Daniel McDonough praised the sometimes-violent tactics of the two undercover cops who bust parties and nightclubs, strongly implying those tactics were justified to counter the unspecified threats of violence that nightclubs represent. “Because of their diligence and professionalism the amount of violence and disorder has been reduced,” McDonough wrote, echoing a troubling strain of right-wing political thought that condones violence to prevent even speculative threats of violence, a perspective that led us to invade Iraq.

And when I wrote about McDonough's response yesterday, a commenter wrote that aggressive police tactics are justified because, “The unprecedented ascendancy of nightclubs and violation of the Constitutional rights of residents to peaceful use of their property calls for drastic measures.”



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