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The Right Embraces Terrorism, And We Should Say So
There Is No Daylight Between Violent Extremism And The GOP
The two political parties in America are not merely two different faces to the same coin. Prominent leaders of the Democratic Party, like Presidents Biden, Obama and Clinton, along with Congressional leaders like Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer — along with other rank and file Democrats in the House and Senate — do not make it a habit to express sympathy for or echo the rhetoric of violent extremists.
The same cannot be said of the Republican Party.
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On a host of issues it is nearly impossible to discern any true dividing line between those who would bomb and shoot innocent people and those at the highest level of the Republican Party.
And it isn’t just Donald Trump. The embrace of extremism long predated Trump’s involvement in party politics and can be traced all the way back to the 1960s, when modern conservatism became the unwavering faith of the political right.
As Black people were being lynched and killed, conservative icon Barry Goldwater expressed his opposition to civil rights legislation, leading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to essentially abandon his political neutrality and make clear that he thought the re-election of President Lyndon Johnson was necessary for his people to continue living and striving for equality.
The right has only gotten worse since then, not better, whether it’s Ronald Reagan laughing alongside fellow homophobes and refusing to act on the AIDS crisis, or George W. Bush locking arms with the kind of people who killed Matthew Shephard in his opposition to same-sex marriage, or Mitt Romney signaling to racist groups he was with them by elevating racist birther Donald Trump during his failed presidential campaign.
At the Congressional level, Republicans have been there for a long time. The party consistently used the “research” of anti-immigration hate groups in official hearings, inviting their representatives to testify. The party stoked and continues to stoke the bloodlust of anti-choice extremists, promoting lurid and completely untrue fantasies of Democrats advocating “post-birth” abortion.
The right’s media outlets have gone even further than this, portraying those who commit violence in the name of racial pride or conspiracies as figures worthy of praise and love, while also frequently directing their rabid audiences to threaten liberals and Democrats who don’t toe the line.
The only real difference lately is that unlike leaders like Bush, McCain, and Romney, Trump lacks the political sophistication at the presidential level to keep the extremists at a boil while also gladhanding with the “respectable” set.
But these ties are rarely called out, either by liberals, Democrats, and especially the mainstream media.
It is still seen as a bridge too far, as the culture collectively holds on to this image of Republican normalcy and moderation that was never true and will never be true.
When the FBI went to Mar-a-Lago it was inevitable that a right-wing extremist would heed the call from the Republican Party and Fox News to attack. And the threat remains. There is a long trail of blood directly associated with the right’s actions and rhetoric and their allies in extremism.
The threat is real. For the safety of everyone, the Republican Party and the conservative movement must not be allowed to get away with their vile behavior any longer. It must be repeatedly called out, exposed, and condemned. And then the process should be repeated and repeated, until it ends.
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