Democrats facing violent threats in wake of health care reform

Posted Mar 25, 2010 by Stephanie Dearing
Blame it on the heavy toll the recession has taken on Americans, along with the politely termed "inflammatory rhetoric" against the historic U.S. health care reform bill.
The President signing health care reform into law
The President signing health care reform into law
White House Photo by Pete Souza
Whatever the cause for the behaviour, the fact is some U.S. Democrat Senators are the recipients of abusive messages, violent threats and intimidating acts of vandalism to their offices.
The FBI has joined forces with local police to investigate the threats, received by at least 10 Democrat Senators since the health care bill was passed on Sunday. The threats are not idle rants made by a disgruntled American public. The FBI is investigating the report of a severed gas line to the home of the relative of one senator. The address to the home was published on the internet by a person who thought it was the home of the senator.
The violence has been condemned by U.S. house leaders, while pundits point to opposition leaders for fanning the flames of violence through their so-called 'inflammatory rhetoric.' One often-cited example is Sarah Palin's facebook page, which depicts a map of the United States with gun scope sight lines (cross hairs) marking those senators who supported the health care reform bill. The hunting-happy Palin has also reportedly tweeted her followers to "Don't retreat, just reload." Palin vehemently opposes the just-signed health care reform legislation.
Ironically, on a website devoted to Palin followers, Team Sarah, an article written by Adrienne Ross states "I have never seen people more intolerant, threatening, or downright nasty than far-left liberals. I deal with these people on a regular basis as they pull out all the stops in their determination to silence the opposition by any means necessary. It's what they do. It's who they are. After all, they get their marching orders from Saul Alinsky. They stop at nothing to defeat the enemy."
ABC News reported Republican National Committee Communications Director Doug Heye as dismissing the concerns over the threats against the senators, saying:
"Meanwhile, when Sen. Jim Bunning received death threats this month, Democrats didn't say a word. When Gov. Mitt Romney was assaulted on an airplane last month, Democrats [never] said a word. And when Gov. Sarah Palin is treated like a pinata every day, Democrats and a willing media give the polite golf clap."
Another Republican, the House Minority Leader John Boehner, was more moderate, cautioning Americans to behave more appropriately. "I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill, and that Washington Democrats just aren't listening. But, as I've said, violence and threats are unacceptable."
CBS News posted some of the threatening phone messages online.
The FBI issued a warning to the public Wednesday, saying
"Any threats or incidents directed against members of Congress are being taken seriously by the FBI, Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies."
New security measures may be put into place to protect the senators.
The health care reform act, signed into law on March 23, has already hit a snag and has to go back to the House of Representatives for another vote. Senators have been working on refining two provisions of the bill, and it is anticipated that the revisions will be voted on Thursday. If approved, the revised bill will be signed into law next week.
No sooner had President Obama signed the legislation on Tuesday than 14 US states filed a lawsuit against the legislation, claiming the reform act is unconstitutional.
The bill would ensure that all Americans would be able to receive health care coverage from insurance companies, and also would stop insurance companies from withholding medical treatment, or denying insurance coverage to people with health conditions, practices currently employed by insurance agencies, which exclude 32 million people from accessing health care.
President Obama's push to bring in the legislation, something he promised when he ran for President, has divided America, with millions rejoicing in the new ability to be able to access medical care, and millions of others who object to access to health care for all through the state. Opponents believe they will have to give up something in order for the health care reform act to exist, and say the reform will cost billions of dollars on the act.