From the streets to school board meetings to the United States Capitol itself, right-wing violence and the threat of it has skyrocketed across the nation.
In addition to the deadly failed insurrection mounted by pro-Trump extremists on January 6, a Northampton County Executive called for "20 strong men" to join him into intimidating school board members to voluntarily resign or "be removed." Far-right Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia suggested Americans shoot liaisons going door to door with vaccine information—a suggestion that was met with cheers.
One attendant of a right-wing Turning Point USA conference asked founder Charlie Kirk, "When do we get to use the guns? ... How many more elections are they gonna steal before we kill these people?" Just this past month, Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona was censured by his colleagues after sharing an animated video of him killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and attacking President Joe Biden with knives.
Now, a Republican columnist—Max Boot—is warning against the growing danger of armed right-wing extremists in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post.
Why do so many Republicans go along with extremism?
Some, like Rep. Paul Gosar, are zealots themselves, @MaxBoot writes.
"But many others are simply afraid of the crazies." https://t.co/P6p8yCtPn8
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) November 23, 2021
Noting the casualties from such right-wing attacks as the El Paso shooting and the Pittsburgh shooting, Boot emphasizes that Republican lawmakers like Gosar, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and too many others only exacerbate the inclination to violence, using rhetoric like "the left hates America" and frequently posing with firearms in campaign ads.
"We are at the greatest peril since the early 1970s — when the threat emanated from the left — of a violent insurgency in America. Indeed, the scattered terrorist attacks we have seen in recent years might be the early stages of such an uprising. If we see a full-blown insurgency ... Trump made the relationship explicit when he told the Proud Boys, an armed group that later took part in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, to "stand back and stand by."
"Republicans are complicit in fomenting violent extremism — and they have also become hostage to the extremists in their ranks. It's an ugly situation familiar from other people's civil wars, and it portends more grief and bloodshed for a country that has already seen far too much of both. It's not too late to avert a wider insurgency, but it will require Republicans to dial down their violent and apocalyptic rhetoric — which they show no sign of doing."
People agreed with the chilling assessment.
All of this: https://t.co/uPGvS4bE1g
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) November 22, 2021
This is correct.👇 https://t.co/QhoIL0LMYa
— Once Republican - Get Vaxxed! (@oncerepublican) November 23, 2021
Reminds me of the early scenes of Gone With The Wind. Young men chomping at the bit to kill fellow Americans https://t.co/8KkEs78lya
— DanaNcolorado (@DanaNcolorado) November 23, 2021
It's got to stop. We are a country of laws becoming a country of right wing violence https://t.co/ghnShPWQii
— pat northey (@pnorthey) November 22, 2021
Boot isn't the only person concerned about the inclination of some right-wing lawmakers to encourage violence.
There is a growing contingent of Republicans in Congress and the public who want to overturn representative democracy and are willing to use violence to do it.
And yet, that's not the dominant story of our politics because many Democrats keep acting as if it's not happening.
— Max Berger (@maxberger) November 17, 2021
The House voted to censure Paul Gosar, who continues to pretend to be a viable member of Congress.
Note that 207 Republicans voted against the measure, indicating their support for the encouragement of violence against their Congressional colleagues.https://t.co/I1DlwZ5Opv
— Dr. David A. Lustig (@drdave1999) November 17, 2021
Voting is the way civilized people resolve differences of political opinion. Civil behavior in Congress is essential to sound governing. But Republicans right-wingers have abandoned civility and resort to intimidation with threats of violence. This must be resisted at all costs.
— Michael Zygmunt (@MichaelZee0) November 21, 2021
Moments after being censured by the House, Gosar retweeted a share of the violent video.