The Danger Of Violence In Today’s Charged Political Atmosphere

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently voiced fear that the super charged atmosphere that now exists in American politics could spark violence similar to what happened in San Francisco in 1978, when the mayor George Moscone and supervisor and gay activist Harvey Milk were shot to death by one of their former colleagues, Dan White.

Her concern over political violence has been echoed by former agents of the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA, and also by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican Congressman from Florida.

Scarborough, a very responsible talk show host in the mornings on MSNBC, condemned Glenn Beck and other radio and tv talk show hosts who promote strong emotions by their often out of bounds bitter attacks on the Obama Administration and President Obama personally. He warns that this kind of rhetoric is dangerous, and it is well known that Obama has had more death threats than is normal, with a lot of it due to his race.

The fear of Scarborough and these government agents is that the political atmosphere, being so charged and incendiary, is liable to lead to widespread violence and tragedies affecting ordinary American citizens, but also federal government employees and government leaders themselves.

And of course, the greatest fear is that our President could be subjected to harm, something we must all pray never happens, as the death of President John F. Kennedy still affects us nearly half a century later. That assassination, plus those of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the shootings of Ronald Reagan and George Wallace; and the attempted assassination twice of Gerald Ford; plus the shootings of others, including Malcolm X, Meir Kahane, and John Lennon demand that we bring pressure on both media talk show hosts and politicians to STOP the high stress, poisonous political rhetoric that has become so common.

Americans, and those who have the privilege of being in the public spotlight, MUST start seeing those who have a different view, as opponents, NOT enemies. If violence ensues, blood will be on their hands, and they should be held accountable in a court of law for inciting violence. Freedom of speech does not include the right to be reckless in language that causes the death or injury of others. We are entering the stage of “clear and present danger”, which is not covered by freedom of speech guarantees!

One comment on “The Danger Of Violence In Today’s Charged Political Atmosphere

  1. tate September 25, 2009 5:17 pm

    Professor, while I agree with your comments you are asking alot of these individuals – demanding that they think in terms of their “fellow man” rather than their “next buck.” I’m not sure the isolated and elite boarding-schools and ivy league colleges they attended gave them this skill-set to work with.

    Let’s hope I am wrong.

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