Monday, November 17, 2008

Spike In Death Threats Against President-Elect Obama

Yes We Did poster by Alvin Blair (Poster image by Alvin Blair)

Spike In Death Threats Against President-Elect Obama

I sat down to write a post on this and discovered Digby already covered it yesterday, with good detail, so I'll begin by referring you to her post Losin' It: The Secret Service is reporting a spike in death threats against President-Elect Obama which "from Maine to Idaho, it’s the most threats ever made against a President-elect."

The Statesman Journal from Salem, Oregon reports that the Secret Service has warned the Obama family about the dramatic surge in threats, and that they have begun investigating former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin because her attacks on Obama are believed by them to be responsible for the increase in threats.

According to a cited Associated Press count, "One of the most popular white supremacist Web sites (Stormfront) got more than 2,000 new members the day after the election" and had to temporarily go off line because of the increased activity.

The Statesman Journal article states "The verbal attacks by Palin on Obama had provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling 'terrorist' and 'kill him.'"

Eliminationist rhetoric, ably tracked by Dave Neiwert and our own Sara Robinson, is frequently a canary in the mineshaft when a prevailing lie (such as the bedrock of racism in American culture) is effectively contradicted. Our response must deal with the core issue, not just the most evident symptoms. In particular, we must continue on our path of progressive vision without retreating in strategy or downgrading our expectations; we must insist on naming and speaking out against hate speech in all its forms (including from our own ranks, even if it seems to come from a place of "reacting to their attacking us first"); and we must be able to differentiate between examples where constructive dialogue can lead to long-term cultural change versus examples where an imminent threat means seeking legal intervention.

For more reading, check out the Appendix on Eliminationism in America compiled by Dave Neiwert at Orcinus. This appendix supplements Orcinus's 2007 series on eliminationism, and is arranged "by categories of eliminationism, namely: Expressing a desire or a demand for extermination, removal, or infliction of harm; identification of opponents with national enemies; identification of opponents as a target for retaliation or incarceration; expressing a desire for or approval of genocide or murder; identification with vermin or disease."