I’m not sure if this is the first time I have called Sarah Palin a terrorist. If I did it might have just been hyperbole, I was probably trying to argue with someone and I enjoy overstating my arguments just to see how people will react. She has come close to deserving the label in the past, but her most recent Facebook note Don’t Get Demoralized! Get Organized! Take Back the 20! has finally put her over the edge.
One of the lucky 20 to be targeted by Palin was Tom Periello, from Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. Members of a local Virginia tea party group found what they thought was Periello’s home address and posted it on their website telling the other teabaggers to “drop by” the house. And now it seems that at least one of these patriots did “drop by.” And while they was there they decided to cut the gasline to the home they thought belonged to Congressman Periello.
But the home did not belong to Tom Periello, it was the home of his brother Bo. Bo was home with his wife and four children last night when he smelled the gas that was leaking into his home.
The Charlottesville, VA news site DailyProgress.com reports Nigel Coleman was one of two teaparty organizers who posted Bo Periello’s address online. When he found out that he had posted the wrong address he said, “Do you mean I posted his brother’s address on my Facebook? Oh well, collateral damage.”
As I sat and watched the House vote on Sunday I had very mixed feelings. I was amazed that the first major step towards real reform in health care was actually happening. I have been conflicted about the specific bill for a long time, knowing that it doesn’t go nearly far enough but also knowing that it will help a lot of people who can really need it. It took me a long time to grudgingly realize that this was probably the definitive case of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
The thing that really bothered me that day was the actions of the teabaggers the day before, spitting, yelling, hurling racial epithets. I sat with my friend watching history being made in and history being repeated. I was at the same time tremendously proud and tremendously ashamed of my fellow Americans, tremendously hopeful for our future and tremendously scared of what it might hold for those who history has left behind.
We sat and watched the debate, and talked about what would happen next. We talked about the anger that was building inside of this group of people who felt betrayed. They were like a wounded animal, fighting to stay alive. And for many the health care vote would be a massive assault. While they were wounded before, they are now wounded and cornered. Their only choice for survival is to fight back.
There was a moment where the leaders of the Tea Party movement had a choice to make. The anger was growing and starting to spiral out of control, and they could have tried to stop it. They could have come out publicly and condemned the racist attacks of the weekend, they could have condemned the property destruction, they could have. But they didn’t. Instead Sarah Palin put out her Facebook note with crosshairs on it. She urged her supporters to “reload.”
Luckily whoever cut the gas line in Mr. Periello’s home yesterday didn’t kill anyone. But someday, probably someday soon, one of Sarah’s supporters will injure or kill someone they disagree with politically. When that day comes, the blood will be on her hands.