cross posted at Right Michigan
The first effigy hanging I ever witnessed was during my college years. It did not take place within the progressive bubble of CMU's journalism department but rather hung by the side of M-33 in rural Oscoda County but a few miles from where then Gov. William Milliken had pledged to bury thousands of cattle tainted with PBB.
It was not a popular decision with the locals who feared illness and birth defects if PBB from the rotting carcasses ever leached into the groundwater. Energetic activists took the time to erect a makeshift gallows from which they hung a stuffed life size cloth replica of the governor. A rock and roll band played on in the background.
It was all for naught. The cattle were indeed buried. Thankfully, Milliken was never hanged. The band, I think, played wedding gigs for a couple of years despite how unpopular punk was with the in-laws.
Much is being made the last couple of days over the death threats and harassment being hurled at people like Bart Stupak. One such threat contained a drawing of a gallows with Bart's name written on it.
A call to his office went like this:
"Congressman Stupak, you are one big piece of human [bleep.] And think about this, there are millions of people across the country who wish you ill. And all of those thoughts projected on you will materialize into something that's not very good for you. We don't have to do anything but sit back and wish. Go to hell, you piece of [bleep.]"Another:
"Stupak you're a low life baby murdering scumbag pile of steaming crap. Bleep. You're a [unintelligible] punk, Stupak. That's what you are. You and your family is scum. You ought to fill your pockets with lead and jump in the Potomac. Punk. That's what you are, Stupak. You're a piece of crap. We hate your guts here in real [unintellibible] America. We despise you and every punk like you, Stupak. Get out of office. Get off our property."Pleasant? No.
Death threat? Where?
This is the cause of the maelstrom? A prepared and carefully read statement from someone who apparently believes she, with the help of millions of others, can think long and hard enough to stricken Mr. Stupak with "ill." And another from a guy whose grammar and accent would place him somewhere in the lowest quartile of his junior high Mississippi special ed class. It sounds like this doofus, who does nothing more than suggest that Stupak might want to commit suicide in a very dirty river, almost tries to give his home address away before he stumbles out the word "America."
"Get off my lawn," though not a death threat, would sound pretty mean if my Dad was yelling it, at least until my Mom backhanded him one. The biggest possible threat coming out of this guy's mouth would be the accidental discharge of a tobacco plug.
What we have here are death threats to be carried out by some very well concealed weapons. So concealed in fact that they do not exist unless, of course, Stupak takes Mr. Tobacco seriously and does load his pockets with a heavy metal and jumps.
Conservatives and particularly the Tea Party movement are being accused of heavily damaging political discourse in this country. By inserting the term "death panels" into the health care debate, Sarah Palin and the conservatives were ridiculed for fear mongering. Contrarily, when Stupak and company embrace a nationalized socialist health care program that will force the denial of health services due to insufficient capacity, its a money saver! Meanwhile, someone has to make the decision of who gets the care. But its not a DEATH PANEL! LIAR!
When pro-life groups point out that abortion ultimately means the death of a baby they are accused of damaging the conversation. Really, what else was going to come out of there? A turnip? Where do these people take biology?
When Pete Stark addressed President George W. Bush from the Congressional podium and accused him of amusing himself with the deaths of American soldiers, was he engaging in kind political discourse? When Bart Stupak himself accused oil companies of obscene profits while his constituents' families were crippled, was he engaging in honest debate, or was he using unfair character assassinations for his political purposes? Does Stupak not realize that even oil executives can get ugly drawings?
Politics is a rough and tumble game. People make big decisions that impact the lives of millions while steering the course of a country. People get upset. Sometimes people say things and do things that aren't particularly smart or commendable. Sometimes people get violent as witnessed when union thugs roughed up tea partiers at a political rally.
People who choose to live their lives in the spotlight of political office should expect to get a little flak when they make a controversial stand--particularly when they make a highly visible final stand that is exactly opposite of the one they've made a career out of championing.
How does the old saying go? If you stand in the middle of the road you can get hit by traffic heading both directions.
In a manner that would make a chipmunk proud, Stupak waited until the last possible moment before announcing which side of the road he was going to scurry to. His ultimate decision angered the pro-life crowd, while his hesitancy to openly endorse a pro-abortion stance ticked off feminists and a befuddled Joe Biden who didn't like anyone standing in the way of something he thought was a big bleeping deal.
If Bart Stupak gets plausible death threats he should report them to the FBI and the morons making them should spend many years in jail. No legitimate voice on the conservative side would tell you any differently.
If however, a mewling Stupak claims death threats against his person and all he can produce as evidence is a gallows drawing, an allusion to concentrated negative thoughts, and a suggestion to commit suicide while getting off the lawn, he is merely adhering to an old Saul Alinsky tactic of discrediting the opposition. Look! They are frothing at the mouth!
At this late point in Stupak's political career, it just might be time for him to finally grow himself a pair. After all, his effigy is still unblemished while that particular band ain't ever getting back together.