Sarah Steelman is a Republican challenger of Senator Claire McCaskill in a Missouri race for the US Senate. Last week, Steelman attended a Tea Party rally hosted by Tea Party Express. During the rally, a Tea Party activist named Scott Boston declared McCaskill a target who needs to be killed, a remark that sent police into a frenzy and prompted the Missouri Democratic Senator to ramp up her security.
“She walks around like she’s some sort of Rainbow Brite Care Bear or something but really she’s an evil monster,” Boston declared before adding, “We have to kill the Claire Bear.”
The St. Louis Tea Party activist made the threatening remarks in the presence of Steelman who isn’t bothered at all by them. In fact, she didn’t even bother to condemn the remarks, merely issuing a statement saying that she “may disagree with the words Mr. Boston chose in his statement but I understand his frustration and I emphatically support his right to express his views.”
So, let me get this straight. Steelman thinks it’s okay for an activist to openly call for the killing of a sitting United States Senator and she “emphatically” supports his right to do so. What Steelman really needed to “emphatically” do is condemn Boston’s vile words altogether instead of defending him. Because of his words, police are working overtime and using precious resources to protect McCaskill, as they rightfully should. But McCaskill shouldn’t have to have extra security in the first place. She shouldn’t have to worry about being assassinated by an opponent. Yet, that’s precisely what Boston just advocated by using his violent rhetoric. And by not condemning the words outright, Sarah Steelman is only encouraging more violent rhetoric and the possible violence that could result.
Curiously, Republican Rep. Todd Akin has also been silent as well as Republican challenger John Brunner. Until they show some spine and condemn this clear call for assassinating Claire McCaskill, they are no better than Sarah Steelman and also must be totally repudiated by voters on Election Day. This kind of rhetoric is dangerous to democracy and does not belong in American politics. Over the last few years, threats against Democrats and President Obama have skyrocketed as paranoid and power hungry conservatives become more desperate to oust their opponents. The Republican Party has created an atmosphere of hate and fear that has driven this kind of rhetoric. And the Republican Party is so entrenched with conservative extremists that they are literally willing to let activists get away with this kind of talk. If just one conservative gun toting nut case fires a gun at a Democrat because of this rhetoric, what will Republicans say then? Will they defend the assassin’s right to shoot liberals or will they pretend to condemn the action after failing to condemn the rhetoric that led to it? There are lives at stake now because of this rhetoric and unless Republicans renounce the extremists in their party, they should only be seen as fully supporting those who want to do bodily harm to those who disagree with their warped views.