I could only rub my eyes in disbelief when I saw footage of one protester standing outside an Obama town hall meeting in New Hampshire with a loaded handgun strapped to his leg, holding a placard proclaiming: "It is time to water the tree of liberty," in reference to the Thomas Jefferson quote "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots." In Maryland, one man went even further, holding up a sign saying: "Death to Obama" and "Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids".(...)
This militant, rightwing craziness comes on the back of the now-infamous ad published in a Pennsylvania newspaper in May, calling for Obama to be assassinated – and, of course, in the wake of a presidential election campaign in which crowds at Republican rallies shouted "Kill him!", as well as "Treason!" "Terrorist!" and "Off with his head!"
Less than a year on, and under the spurious guise of a "row" over healthcare, we are left, in the words of investigative journalist Chip Berlet, with "a very dangerous situation that can spin off 'lone wolf' individuals who decide now is the time to act against people they see as an enemy."
If, God forbid, Obama were to go the way of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy, as that Pennsylvania newspaper ad demanded, 21st-century America would be engulfed by violence and protests on a scale not seen since the 19th-century civil war. The country would tear itself apart.Truer words have not been spoken.
Republicans should beware. They are playing with fire.