Monday, January 17, 2011

Right-wing nuts have fomented an atmosphere of violence with their unprecedented vitriol

Who can doubt that right-wing nuts in this country foment an atmosphere of violence with their vituperative and abusive vitriol?  They have raised hateful political speech about the left,  specifically, the President, to an art form. For example, they've alleged that the President has betrayed the Constitution; allied himself with ultra-leftists and Marxists; ignored our friends around the world; betrayed Christians; and even hidden the truth about his personal legal status. 

Is the senseless violence we've witnessed in the aftermath of such vitriol -- examples of which follow after the jump -- in any sense unexpected?

(Click on documents to enlarge.)

The President referenced above is John F. Kennedy; the senseless violence alluded to was his assassination on November 22, 1963; and the vitriol against him is evident in these two documents: the one on the left is a right-wing ad that appeared in the Dallas Morning News on November 22, 1963, hours before he was gunned down; the one on the right is a right-wing handbill distributed throughout Dallas in the days leading up to his visit to Dallas.  These attest to the fact that charged political rhetoric has been with us for a long time (and, of course, these pale in comparison to things said about President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War). 

But just as there is no evidence that the recent Arizona shooting had anything to do with political vitriol, the same can be said about JFK's senseless murder. Kennedy was murdered not by a right-wing fanatic but by a self-professed Marxist who had defected to the Soviet Union, was kicked out, and was allied with pro-Castro forces in the U.S.

As a footnote, America has witnessed five subsequent shootings in the context of presidential politics, none of them by right-wing nutcases.  President Kennedy's brother, Robert, was murdered by an anti-Zionist. Gov. George Wallace was shot by a mentally disturbed young man who'd been rejected by his one and only girlfriend and sought notoriety by killing either President Nixon or Wallace. President Gerald Ford was shot by a female follower of Charles Manson and then, seventeen days later, an extreme leftist woman into revolutionary politics. And President Reagan was shot by a mentally unhinged young man obsessed with Jody Foster.