Last October, Glenn Beck was musing on his radio show about the prospect of the government seizing his children if he didn’t give them flu vaccines. “You want to take my kids because of that?” he said. “Meet Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.”
Last April, Erick Erickson, the managing editor of the right-wing RedState blog and a CNN commentator, was questioning the legality of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey on a radio show. “We have become, or are becoming, enslaved by the government. . . . I dare ‘em to try to come to throw me in jail. I dare ‘em to. [I'll] pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door.”
Do right-wing talk show commentators incite violence against the government? Feel free to draw your own conclusions – but to dwell on the rise of violent rhetoric on the right is to miss an even bigger, though connected, problem. Let’s focus, rather, on the first part of Beck’s and Erickson’s observations: The government wants to take away Glenn Beck’s (and by extension, your) kids. The government wants to take a census and will throw Erick Erickson (and by extension, you) in jail if he, and you, don’t comply.
Can we see the hands of all the kids taken from their parents because they didn’t get flu shots? How about all those people rotting in jail because they didn’t cooperate in compiling the census?
The primary problem with the political discourse of the right in today’s America isn’t that it incites violence per se. It’s that it implants and reinforces paranoid fears about the government and conservatism’s domestic adversaries.
But someone once said something mean about Sarah Palin on Facebook, so it all balances out.
Jewish Republicans (all six of them) sure are feeling squirmy about Palin’s and the GOP’s “blood libel” talking point. But she’ll probably claim that some of her best friends are Jewish, so it’s all good.
During a radio show on Saturday, Rep. Michele Bachmann described herself as a “foreign correspondent on enemy lines” in Washington, D.C. The Republican congresswoman went on to tell WWTC-AM:
“I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.”