Words kill. It's going to happen
Somebody is going to die. That’s what is going to come of all the racist verbiage coming from the likes of Republicans Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar. There is someone out there who cleans his guns on the dining room table and stores his ammunition on top of the refrigerator who is going to pick up his AR-15 or Glock and put a bullet in a Democratic congresswoman.
Yes, a man with a gun is going to shoot a female Democratic politician. It’s already happened. Democratic Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011 by Jared Lee Loughner, a deranged conspiracy theorist who had expressed his dislike for government and was a follower of an online message board called “Above Top Secret” which espoused conspiracy theories that the 9/11 attacks were a government set-up, and the American government was really a captive of the so-called “New World Order.” Loughner shot Giffords through the head, wounded 18 other people at an outdoor event held by the Arizona congresswoman, and killed six others.
They’re out there. In a country with some 400 million privately-owned firearms, they are heavily armed and they are susceptible to the kind of rhetoric and “jokes” being thrown around on far-right websites and by members of congress belonging to the Republican Party. When a member of congress like Lauren Boebert makes a “joke” implying that Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is a Muslim terrorist, there are people sitting in their living rooms reading conservative websites like Newsmax or watching Fox News on TV who take them seriously. When another Republican member of congress like Paul Gosar tweets a “joke” anime video depicting him using a sword to slash the head off Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden, there are people on Twitter who don’t get the joke. They think it’s a good idea.
A district office of Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell in Michigan was vandalized yesterday. The front window was broken, and memorabilia belonging to Dingell were taken off the wall and smashed. Dingell had gotten into a shouting match with Greene in September when the Georgia congresswoman disrupted an event Dingell was hosting on the Capitol steps after the House had passed a bill that would guarantee women the right to an abortion. Greene yelled over Dingell’s attempts to address the press, shouting that abortion was “killing a baby” and “the border is wide open down there,” in an apparent reference to border crossings by undocumented immigrants seeking asylum.
Earlier today, Representative Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, got into a Twitter exchange after Mace criticized Boebert’s recent Islamophobic comments. Greene called Mace a “RINO,” a Republican-in-name-only, to which Mace replied, “What I’m not is a religious bigot (or racist). You might want to try that over there in your little ‘league’.” While hardly a liberal, Mace supported censuring Trump rather than impeaching him and recently voted with Democrats to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of congress for refusing a subpoena issued by the January 6 Select Committee.
Did you notice anything about the verbal and visual attacks mentioned above? How about the fact that they have been against female members of congress, all but one of them Democrats. Boebert regularly refers to Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who are Muslim and appear wearing hijabs as the “jihad caucus.” The word “jihad” is usually taken to mean a war or struggle carried out by Muslims against the enemies of Islam. There are people in this country who believe that all Muslims want a “war” with America. To connect that idea with Democratic members of congress is to put their lives in danger.
Democrats censured Gosar for his tweet of the violent anime video, but only two Republicans voted to censure the member of their party. The refusal of Republican leaders in the Congress to deal with the disgusting racist and Islamophobic language being thrown around by members of their caucus has the effect of endorsing their behavior. Everybody out there watching Fox and reading right-wing crap on the internet gets the message. It’s okay to attack Democrats. They’re not like us. They’re not loyal Americans. It’s all on the table and anything goes.
This is serious business. One political party has declared war on the other political party. They’re fighting it for the time being with voter suppression laws and racist lies and ugly, violent words and images, and these tactics are being endorsed and directed from the highest levels of the Republican Party, including he-who-shall-go-unmentioned from Mar a Lago. But this has gone beyond politics. A war of words has already become violent with bricks thrown through congressional office windows and racist cartoons depicting violence.
What’s next? Somebody’s going to get shot. It can happen. Just ask Gabby Giffords.