In a chilling collection of anecdotes, Rachel Maddow last night connected the dots between a handful of instances of threatened and parodied violence against Democratic, pro-health care reform legislators and the known tendency towards violence among the radical right in the United States, as evidenced recently by the murder of Kansas abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. A staged lynching of a Congressman in Maryland, a mock tombstone with a Congressman’s name on it in Texas, death threats to a member of Congress in North Carolina, weapons carried into town halls — all from health care reform opponents — grimly foreshadow a turn to real violence.
"What is not politics as usual is that opponents of health
care reform have chosen to fight it this time with force and with
threats of force," observes Maddow. "Not just fringe talk show hosts, but members of Congress are telling their
constituents that Obama like Hitler, that they have a right to be afraid that health care reform is a
plot to kill the elderly." Maddow asks, "Has enough kerosene been poured on the
flames that the possibility of violence, even assassination, is being
posited as a real political tactic in the United States?"
Maddow’s guest, Dr. Warren Hern, director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic, discussed with Maddow the reality of the extreme right’s resorting to violence. As Maddow observed, "People in the health care field already face assassination…The possibility of American politics turning to violence is not theoretical."