“There’s no problem on the planet that can’t be solved without violence. That’s the lesson of the civil rights movement.” – Andrew Young
Two stories hit my radar and make me wonder what people are thinking … if, indeed, they are thinking … and also make me wonder, as I have many a time in the past year-and-a-half, what has become of our society.
The first pertains to threats to lynch a congressman …
Al Green has been the U.S. Representative from Texas’s 9th congressional district since 2005. He is a democrat, and also happens to be African-American. Last week, Mr. Green, along with many others, criticized Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and, as it came to light that the firing was a result of Mr. Comey’s investigation into Trump’s Russian connections, Congressman Green called for Trump’s impeachment. He was not alone, and even a few republicans in Congress made similar comments. However, to the best of my knowledge, no others received the same response to their remarks as Congressman Green.
“Hey, Al Green, we got an impeachment for you. It’s going to be yours. Was actually gonna give you a short prop trial before we hang your n—– ass.”
“You’re not going to impeach anybody, you f—— n—– … You’ll be hanging from a tree. I didn’t see anybody calling for the impeachment of your n—– Obama when he was born in Kenya. He’s not even an American. So f— you, n—–.”
Two republican representatives, Justin Amash from Michigan and Carlos Curbelo from Florida also called for Trump’s impeachment last week, but they did not receive lynching threats.
According to The Washington Post, “It’s unclear whether there is a police investigation of the calls, though hate crime charges are not likely. The FBI defines hate crimes as crimes committed based on a bias against a person’s race, color, religion or national origin. But for a crime to exist, there must an accompanying act of violence, such as murder, arson or vandalism. Hate itself is not a crime — and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.”
Most of you know that I am quite serious about protection of 1st Amendment rights, defend them avidly. When somebody threatens to lynch a man, that exceeds the bounds of the rights guaranteed under the 1st Amendment. Period. There can be no argument. Likely these are empty threats, phone calls made by cowards … racist, bigoted cowards. But what if they aren’t? Lynching of black people has a long and ugly history in this country, the last recorded one being Michael Donald in Mobile, Alabama in 1981. Those of us with consciences cringe at even hearing the word. These threats, and the people who would make such threats, have no place in our society today.
The second story is that of Wendi L. Wright of Weakley County, Tennessee. Ms. Wright was incensed a few weeks ago, as were many of us, when the House of Representatives irresponsibly caved on the bill to repeal ACA and replace it with … basically a bill that would deny healthcare to some 24 million people. I, too, was incensed that our elected representatives were so irresponsive to the needs of their constituents. However, I did not go out and attempt to run my representative off the road. Ms. Wright did … she tailed the car carrying Representative David Kustoff on May 8th. When the driver of the congressman’s car became alarmed, he pulled into a driveway, at which point Ms. Wright got out of her car, walked over to the one in which Kustoff was riding and began pounding on the windows, screaming obscenities. Then she stood in front of the car to keep them from pulling out from the driveway.
Ms. Wright left before police arrived, but went home and posted details of the encounter on her Facebook page, which is how law enforcement officials found her. She is now out of jail on $1,000 bond. At first glance, this story seems almost humorous, but it had the potential to have become deadly. My fear is that with more and more contempt for the needs of the citizens coming out of Washington, with We The People being represented less and less every week, our needs and wishes obviously irrelevant to the wealthy administration, we will begin seeing even more episodes like the one between Ms. Wright and Mr. Kustoff. And sooner or later, somebody will end up dead.
These two stories highlight some bitter facts about our society and about the influence of the current occupant of the Oval Office and his minions. We are an angry society … I understand this. I, too, am angry. However violence solves nothing. We are better than this and it’s about damn time we all came to realize that the hate, the vitriol, the name-calling and labels, the ranting, the threats … none of these solve anything. We are rapidly spiraling into an abyss from which there may be no return in our lifetimes. Let’s get the rich, white, inconsiderate bums out of Congress and out of the White House, but for Pete’s sake, let us do it with our voices and our votes, not our lives.