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Would You Kill Jefferson Davis?

Barry Nolan
The bloodiest, most costly, most savage war in America's history was our Civil War. More than 620,000 died, some 2% of the population. With today's population, a war with an equivalent percentage of casualties would mean over 6 million dead. A holocaust. And yet, a new civil war, an actual shooting war, is just what some people seem to be trying to gin up these days. There has been an alarming spike in race and hate crimes:
The election of America's first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters' comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama's election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element. -The Christian Science Monitor - 11/17/08

There has been a huge spike in gun sales:

The FBI reported that, during election week, instant background checks in the U.S., an indicator of firearms sales, shot up 49 percent over the same week in 2007. This was during the most severe economic crunch in decades. From Nov. 3 to 9, the FBI logged nearly 375,000 instant checks. -The Arizona Republic - 10/18/08

And there has been a general undercurrent of threat, a deliberate stirring up of hatred and the embrace of a kind of violent imagery that has not been seen in this country since the election cycle that brought Abraham Lincoln to office. Some cases in point:

In a Maine convenience store, a sign invited customers to join a betting pool on when Barack Obama will be assassinated. For just $1 you could enter "The Osama Obama Shotgun Pool," the proceeds going to whoever picked the date closest to when Obama was attacked. The sign added: "Let's hope we have a winner." Papers in Maine have also reported on three separate effigies of black men found hanging from trees.

In Idaho, land of militias, a sign posted on a tree with Obama's name and the offer of a "free public hanging."

In Tennessee, two skinheads were charged with plotting to travel across the country, beheading blacks as they made their way to assassinate Obama, while wearing white top hats and tuxedos.

From, comes the story of school children in Iowa spouting assassination threats, some as young as 7 and 8.

"There were other remarks, mostly by students who hunt. They were discussing how far a shotgun could shoot, and decided that they could get to a high enough vantage-point to shoot Obama from at least 2 miles away, without anyone ever knowing where the shot came from. 'Another Kennedy' they were saying."

The day after the election, the NY Daily News reported on the reaction on Sean Hannity's radio show::

"I saw those 500,000 Bolsheviks in [Grant Park] last night," a caller said. "This is the first step toward Marxism. I'm ready to fight." Sean Hannity, who's begun calling his show "The Conservative Resistance," warned that as a first target, Democrats and their allies may push for the revival of the Fairness Doctrine, which requires equal time in media for differing viewpoints. "That would destroy talk radio," Hannity said. "The liberal media wants to kill us because they don't like competition."

From a blog spot on FreeRepublic that talks about setting up and underground Obama resistance:

“'They' can’t be everywhere, and I don’t think that Orwell envisioned 250-300 million guns owned by 85-90 million people. Even if 3% decide to resist, you’re generally talking about the best armed, most skilled and most motivated people - plus their friends and families that are willing to help them in some fashion or other."

They post things like this:


They are crazy. They are angry. And they love their guns.

All this and Obama has not even taken office. Where can such hate and such delusional fear come from? The belief that he is a socialist, a Marxist, coming for their guns? Against the Constitution, free speech, free markets, freedom in general? It's not too hard to figure that out.

It comes from media people like this:



And Michael Savage:


And Glenn Beck who just moved to, where else, Fox News:


After the worst President in American history, after a tragic war and a ruined economy, 65 million people rose up, and with the greatest number of votes ever cast for a single candidate, peacefully called for change, for honesty, and for competency. And now the highly paid demagogues of the right stir hate, spread smears, deceit and dismay, and they do it all for profit. They pump up their chests with suggestions of insurrection, resistance, rebellion. The seek another fight against a War of Northern Agression. For there is always great money to be made in selling retail hate.

We have sometimes been asked if, given what we know now, and somehow given the chance, would we kill Hitler? Today it should as least be asked, given what you know now about the media outlets that are ginning up a level of hate that could produce serious violence, would you at least kill the businesses of those advertisers who pay these demagogue's salaries? Would you boycott their products? Write them a letter? Send them an e-mail? Would you at least dope slap the next wannabe Jefferson Davis? 

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Barry Nolan is a veteran TV journalist who was fired by Comcast Cable's CN8 channel in Boston for protesting an award honoring Bill O'Reilly.

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