Sedition: Crime of creating a revolt, disturbance, or violence against lawful civil authority with the intent to cause its overthrow or destruction -- Brittanica Concise Dictionary
These two events are a wake-up call for progressives. They're telling us that it's time to openly confront the fact that conservatives have spent the past 40 years systematically delegitimizing the very idea of constitutional democracy in America. When they're in power, they mismanage it and defund it. When they're out of power, they refuse to participate in running the country at all -- indeed, they throw all their energy into thwarting the democratic process any way they can. When they need to win an election, they use violent, polarizing, eliminationist language against their opponents to motivate their base. This is sedition in slow motion, a gradual corrosive undermining of the government's authority and capacity to run the country. And it's been at the core of their politics going all the way back to Goldwater.
At that point -- and we're there -- criminal intent and action become the real issues. Progressives need to realize that the right began defiantly dancing back and forth over the legal line, daring us to do something about it, quite some time ago. And it's high time we called it out -- and, where appropriate, start prosecuting it -- for exactly what it is.
Openly advocating acts of sedition has become the conservatives' main political stock in trade over the past year. (The SPLC offers a strong summary here.) You hear it everywhere from Rush to Glenn to Michelle Malkin to Michelle Bachman. Everybody on the right is now roundly convinced that the fairly-elected President of the United States isn't even a citizen. He's a Muslim, and thus in treasonous league with terrorists. The main goal of his administration is to turn the country over to the One World Government. He's a socialist. He's a fascist. All of these are direct attacks on Obama's fundamental legitimacy and authority to lead the country -- and thus a deliberate incitement to revolt against his administration.
These narratives are coupled with a rising us-versus-them blaming of progressives for all the problems of the country. These days, the screeds sound eerily like free-market fundamentalists freebasing Hitler: they're clouded over with the typical eliminationist vitriol that reduces liberals to subhuman vermin that must be violently exterminated from the body politic in order to restore the virtue of the country. (For those who groove on that sort of thing, there's even a slight dash of anti-Semitism in the mix.) This is dangerous stuff. And in the context of the conservatives' longstanding effort to delegitimize the government, it's also an open invitation to sedition.
What these groups are telling us is that they no longer recognize the government's sole franchise on the use of force; and they're actively organizing to seize and exercise at least some of that power for themselves.
Most alarming of all: these right-wing warriors have advanced to the point of actual target acquisition. This should worry us, because law enforcement and terrorism experts know that when groups like this get to where they're settling on specific targets, they're the final stages of gearing up for violent confrontation.
It's time to confront the sobering fact that the entire right wing -- including the GOP establishment, which encourages, endorses, and echoes these sentiments almost every time its officials appear in public -- is now issuing nearly constant invitations to criminal sedition. They're creating a climate and using language that lowers their base's inhibitions around violence -- and irresponsibly eggs on the handful of sociopaths in their midst who are already primed to kill. They've given their newly-expanded corps of flying monkeys permission to brandish their guns in public, empowered their militias, promised them glory, and are now telling them explicitly which targets to hit.
We'd be idiots not to regard this as an overt threat. Especially when they keep telling us, very explicitly, that they mean it to be. When somebody says they're going to shoot you, believe them.
If this is just political grandstanding to energize the base, they're playing with fire, and they need to bring this incendiary campaign to a screeching halt. Right now. This Mickey Mouse pussyfooting around, play-acting at sedition is criminally dangerous chickenshit politics that puts the short-term needs of the Republican party ahead of the long-term viability of the American democracy they've sworn to uphold. In case the party leaders haven't noticed, their base has taken them as seriously as a heart attack -- and they're genuinely making ready for armed revolt.
On the other hand, if seditious overthrow is what they intend, let them stand up, follow through, and face the charges. They're either Americans, committed to working in good faith within the democratic process to create our common future; or else they're seditionists in intention or fact -- and thus enemies of the state, plain and simple.
For the good of the country, we cannot continue to let them have it both ways. They need to choose whose side they're on: America's, or their own.
I have nothing to add other than keep your weapons clean and oiled.