You have to go back to the 1960s to find any even remotely comparable legitimization of anti-government violence on the left as we have today from Republican elected officials and party candidates, not to mention the chorus of right-wing talk-radio demagogues. It is simply nonsense to assert, as many right-wing commentators and Republican politicians have in the last 48 hours, that “there are extremists on both sides,” and to speak as if political violence is a random natural phenomenon, a meteorite falling from the blue sky. I defy you to point to a single Democratic member of Congress or comparable official or candidate who has used the kind of rhetoric we have been bombarded with for the last two years from the right — Sharron Angle explicitly suggesting that if conservatives did not prevail at the polls they would be justified in “Second Amendment solutions” to “protect themselves against a tyrannical government”; Michele Bachman telling her supporters she wants them to be “armed and dangerous” on the issue of a federal energy tax and describing Washington as a city “behind enemy lines”; the barrage of conspiracy theories about the President’s supposed foreign birth and his being the agent of a socialist plot to destroy America; the waves of talk-radio-driven death threats against judges and Democratic congressmen over immigration, health care, taxes, abortion, and other reliably demagogic issues of the right.
Another great point here:
For as long as I can remember, I have heard conservatives blaming everything that is wrong in the universe, from violent crime to declining test scores to teen pregnancy to rude children to declining patriotism to probably athlete’s foot . . . upon Dr. Spock, Hollywood liberals, the abolition of prayer in school, Bill Clinton, the “liberal 1960s,” the teaching of evolution — in other words, upon symbols, rhetoric, cultural norms, and the values expressed by political and media leaders. Yet from the moment when someone gets a gun in their hands, apparently, society ceases to have any influence whatsoever on the outcome and individual responsibility takes hold 100%.