We've been seeing it for months now. It started small, racist jokes during the primaries, cracks about how even if Obama won he'd be assassinated before he could take office. Then when election season hit high gear it got worse, death threats being called in to campaign offices (or shouted at Palin rallies) signs defaced, air let out of the tires at rallies.
It got worse, People beaten in the streets while anti Obama and racial slurs were yelled, at least one home burned to the ground, A church in Tennessee shot up, many MANY death threats towards ACORN, the DNC and others. And it's going to get much worse before it gets any better.
We've cornered a rabid dog, and it's not going to go down quiet or easy.
It took me a little while after the election to notice the difference.
I'm used to the rhetoric, the shrill screech of the AM dial jabbering in a paranoid sweat, foam flecked lips sneering on the other end of a microphone. Hell I was raised in it, chanting "nuke Dukakis" on the school bus and praying with my Sunday school class that Clinton wouldn't be elected (else we won't be allowed to meet at this church any more children, can I get an amen?). I was 8 years old marching on the nations capital next to people carrying placards with pictures of abortion remains. It took a long time to get the stink of conservatism out of my nose and off of my skin.
But now it's back. The hatemongers are chattering and the noise they're bringing isn't the same old bully boy rhetoric. This has the greasy feel of desperation and fear clinging to it like cheap perfume, and comes complete with the fever bright hate that I last saw in the eyes of Timothy McVeigh. The liars and the sycophants that make up the noise machine of the right are searching for their next patsy and they're shilling to see if someone will come and pay the butchers bill. Sad to say, that in a time of growing economic desperation they are probably going to find a number of people willing to take things as far as they want them to.
The right wing noisemakers of Hannity, Rush, O'Reilly etc. are looking for people like this, and I'm scared that they're going to find a lot of them. Jim Adkisson, Alfred Brock, and the 4 staten islanders, are not going to be the last of this.
Of course you can't manage to assign blame to the punditry for these actions. If you attempt to accuse them of inciting this they'd obfuscate and talk about how they couldn't possibly have known that someone was going to go over the edge and of course they didn't mean for.... blah blah blah.
But we know that's what they want.
They want Obama to fail, they do their best to dehumanize and demonize us so that they can convince the less balanced of their followers to take the next step.
During the election I had the dubious honor of keeping track of what a local AM pundit had to say (Bill Cunningham for those who watch Olbermann he's a regular on the Worst Persons list), and one of the things that struck me is that apart from the constant mentioning of Obama's middle name (at one point simply state Obama's full name over and over on the air emphasizing the middle name to the point where it sounded like he was simply screaming "HUSSEIN" into the microphone over and over) he would also speak in dire terms of how "we have to save the country from this man" and that he wasn't confident John McCain was up to it. One of his favorite tactics was to leave a question hanging open about "if this socialist, friend of terrorists gets elected what should Americans do about it?
He's not going to directly state the answer, but he'll lead as far as he can.
So be careful out there folks. That dog might be rabid, and it might be stuck in a corner, but it's got a mouthful of poison teeth and a bad look in it's eye.