In response to a supposed wave of vigilantism (in reality, a handful of isolated attacks) against Democrats who voted for increased government control over our health care system, Mark Potok of the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center has become quite incensed.
He is right to decry violent acts against any individual for speaking his mind or voting his party’s will. It is wrong to attack an individual physically or to vandalize his property because of his vote. That sad, I do wonder where Mr. Potok was when liberal activists trashed Republican campaign offices in 2004. Or when gay marriage advocates published the names of those who contributed to “Yes on 8,” hounding one man out of his job and steering business away from one restaurant because one employee supported the campaign.
Still, he must criticizing those gay marriage activists for publishing the names of those who oppose gay marriage:
“This is what neo Nazi leaders in America do today,” Potok said. “They post personal information about their enemies and sit back and wait for somebody else to act.”
Or is he?
He only “compared the online posting of a public official’s address to tactics used by hate groups.” Maybe it’s okay then to post the address of a private citizen online?
Look, the main reason I am writing this post is because I believe these actions are absolutely reprehensible. Folks like Mr. Potok are right to be outraged. But, they–and the left-leaning media which echoes their complaints–have been strangely silent when outraged left-wing protesters committed similar infractions, inciting violence and publishing the names of private citizens who supported causes they didn’t like.
Much as I decry such violence, it seems outgoing House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s is grandstanding when he demands that “Republicans to stand up and condemn the threats.” I wonder if he ever decried violence against Republicans. Still, his Republican counterpart, John Boehner, the 61st Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives,
. . . called disrespectful acts towards members of Congress “unacceptable” and urged health law opponents to speak with their votes instead.
“Violence and threats are unacceptable. That is not the American way,” he said on Fox News. “Yes, I know there’s anger, but let’s take that anger and go out and register people to vote, go volunteer on a political campaign, and let’s do it the right way.”
Not only are violent acts wrong. They are also counterproductive. Vandalism and violation of privacy only help advance the cause of the targeted individuals.
The gay marriage advocates who targeted those who contributed to the “Yes on 8” campaign didn’t help advance the cause of gay marriage, instead looked like sore losers. Similarly, opponents of Obamacare in threatened those who voted for the measure help turn the focus away from the bill’s myriad flaws to their acts. And we all know how ready the media are to highlight reprehensible acts of angry right-wingers.