Print Friendly, PDF & Email

“There’s some scary stuff happening.”

A quote from Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday, in response to Friday’s vicious hammer attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, by an intruder in their San Francisco home.

Scary stuff indeed.

The intruder, a 42-year-old conspiracy-theory-embracing man from California, is charged with multiple crimes, including attempted murder.

Pelosi underwent surgery for a skull fracture and suffered other serious injuries in what some experts suggest was actually a plot to assassinate Nancy Pelosi. He allegedly wanted to tie up her husband and wait until she returned home.

Some political leaders in Congress immediately condemned the violence, and some voiced concerns for their own safety in a political environment where vitriol and hate speech are running rampant, particularly from right-wing extremist factions.

Harris, at an election event Saturday in Baltimore, was quoted as saying that in place of rigorous but fair political debate, “Powerful people, so-called leaders, have been using the bully pulpit to divide our country, in a way that is propagating hate.” Propagating hate has been one accusation frequently leveled against our former president.

Harris’ consternation has been echoed by other leaders, including Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, who commented about the increasingly threatening rhetoric and political violence in this country to Ark Valley Voice at a campaign appearance in Salida Saturday.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet at a Salida campaign appearance on Oct. 29. Dan Smith photo.

When asked why he thought some people seem to believe that outright political violence against rivals was acceptable in some instances, Bennet said he disagreed.

“I hope the vast majority of Americans don’t approve of this kind of political violence, and I think the vast majority of Americans don’t approve of this kind of political violence,” he said.

But his reaction also came with a dark observation and a warning:

“The thing people need to keep in mind, you know, is that political violence – is the way republics come to an end.“ (emphasis mine)

“And that’s why it’s so important for us to push back on this stuff; speak out against this kind of stuff and to make sure that people, especially our kids, understand how unacceptable this is,” Bennet added.

In her statement, Harris echoed Bennet, saying people needed to make their voices heard to articulate “that we won’t stand for that.”

This past weekend, the Sunday TV talk shows were often focused on the Pelosi attack and the ominous warning by the government just before it occurred of the potential of attacks against officials, election workers, law enforcement and others by political extremists.

On CBS’ Face the Nation, host Margaret Brennan chastised Republican campaign strategist Tom Emmer of Minnesota after he decried political violence, for a video tweet he posted last Wednesday, of him firing a semi-automatic rifle at an indoor range with the comment: “13 days to make history. Let’s #FirePelosi.”

During his appearance on “Face the Nation,” Brennan asked Emmer about his Wednesday tweet that included a video of the lawmaker shooting a firearm in what appears to be an indoor range. He kept interrupting her claiming it was his Second Amendment right.

Brennan chastised the Minnesota Republican for the tweet after Paul Pelosi, the Speaker’s husband was assaulted at their San Francisco home early Friday morning.

“That’s not a debate about the Second Amendment,” interjected Brennan. “That’s not a debate about the Second Amendment. Hashtag fire Pelosi.”

“Yes it is,” Emmer countered.

Elsewhere, GOP Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) told The Hill Saturday both Democrats and Republicans need to tone down their political rhetoric.

He cited the 2017 incident when Republican whip Steve Scalise was wounded by a shooter at a congressional baseball game.

Insurrectionists at the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, dressed in combat gear. Photo by Colin Lloyd for Unsplash.

Comer said on CNN Newsroom Saturday, “Violence is wrong. These people need to be put in jail for the rest of their lives and we need to try to do better in both parties, myself included,” he said.

Such threats of violence have, of course, lingered since the insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Their goal; to halt the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory and the peaceful transfer of power by a crowd of thousands of extremists. They were motivated and encouraged by Donald Trump, many believing his lie that the election had been ‘stolen.’

Extremism and extremists are a growing threat to our democracy and to our election system, even at the local level in Salida. County Clerk and Recorder Lori Mitchell had bulletproof glass installed in her office after workers were harassed and she herself was threatened by a man who pointed what later turned out to be a (realistic-looking) squirt gun at her while she was behind the wheel of her car.

Instances of armed ‘drop-box watchers’ intimidating voters have already been reported around the country (drop-box watchers are also apparently active here in Chaffee County) and have led voting rights activists to advise voters to photograph such people and contact police immediately if they’re harassed.

Finally, the ludicrous myth of the 2020 election “big lie’ needs to be dumped onto the ash heap of history. The Trump conspiracy believers need to be somehow dragged into the harsh light of the reality that they’ve been conned and brainwashed.