Thursday, October 23, 2008

Responding to the MN Vandalism - A Few Thoughtful Words

There were reports in this morning's local papers about a series of vandalisms against the homes of six Minnesota political figures, Republican and Democrat alike. Needless to say, it's a rather disturbing development and one we should pay very close attention to.

The vandal has not been caught yet, nor do we have any compelling leads. At least, not anything the police are willing to discuss publicly yet. That's fine by me, as we don't want the villains to have advance warning. Each of the homes were vandalized with the same messages: threats, calls to resign, "psalm 2." I think it's obvious that these are politically-motivated crimes, but they are not aimed at any one party. The home of Norm Coleman was targeted just as Amy Klobuchar's has been.

Clearly, this villain has an authoritarian bent, an obsession against the government, which is sadly common among extremists in America (Timothy McVeigh, for example). This is precisely what I have been warning about these past few weeks, as the temper and mood of the campaigns have darkened, as crowds have become increasingly agitated, as threats of violence increase and increase. Couple the results of a generational shift in this election with the deeply troubled economy, and you have a fire that's just waiting for fuel.

We have a problem in this country where political violence is excused if it happens to the other guy. September's RNC was the prime example of that. At least it was for me. But what most people do not understand is that this growing violence will not be contained to any one side. Stoking the fires of racism and fear at McCain-Palin rallies will not result in violence against Democrats. Republicans, too, will fall victim as well. It's a sad thing that we realize here that we are all truly equals. In life and death, there are no sides. We are all together.

This has been a very ugly campaign, and we need all leaders, of all parties, to work together to curb the darkening mood of hate and fear. We are facing a very long and difficult recession, the kind that Americans have not faced in a generation. Or perhaps we are on the edge of another Great Depression. Raising the rhetoric of fear and loathing, feeding paranoid conspiracies, depicting the other side as evil or harmful - these are all very reckless and dangerous actions. We cannot be so foolish as to throw sparks onto these fires. America is facing a new day of violence if this is not stopped.

For that we need everyone - Democrat, Republican, Independent - to do their part. And we must always practice Dr. Martin Luther King's gospel of non-violence. America must appeal to the better angels of its nature during these challenging times. To give in to hate and violence is to hurl this world into the grave.

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