Daniel Kirkdorffer over at On The Road to 2008 has gallantly taken on the task of examining (un)Sound Politic’s bizarre obsession with Governor Christine Gregoire’s death threat, and her comment about the level of discussion on talk radio. [“Gregoire’s Feb 3rd Death Threat Comments Revealed“]
Apparently at a loss for new ways to attack the Governor’s legitimacy, the (u)SP folks are reduced to simply attacking her personally. As a sense of normalcy continues to return to Washington politics, expect to see such thoughtful analyses as a biting critique of Gregoire’s hair style, or her daughters’ fashion sense. But for now they’re content to poke fun at the governor for following the WA State Patrol’s recommendations regarding her security.
What (u)SP wants you to believe is that the entire issue is bogus… that there never were any threats, and that Gregoire staged the whole controversy. But this strikes me as more than just an effort to tear down the Governor. The Snark seems so emotionally invested in this non-issue, I wonder if it’s also a rationalization intended to make him feel better about himself?
For I’m sure that he and his cohorts must understand that hateful rhetoric has consequences, and if at some point a less-than-stable individual irrationally acts on the anger the right-wing blogosphere and talk-radio have been plying him with, then… they all share a little responsibility.
The truth is, the level of discourse that has sometimes emanated from the right, has not only been dishonestly propagandistic, but downright disturbing. Their angry thesis is that Gregoire and the Democrats have “stolen” this election, and the exaggerated reaction in the comment threads sometimes borders on threats of violence. Passions and tensions are high, and to imagine that Gregoire and others have not personally received threats, is to lack an imagination at all.
I know. I have received threats myself.
Those who followed this website back during the heady days of the “Horse’s Ass Initiative” might remember a feature I called “Hate Mail Highlights”, in which I poked fun at some of my stupider hate mail by posting it alongside my actual, snide reply. What I didn’t discuss publicly was that along with the many anti-semitic slurs and accusations that I was a communist and a traitor, was the occasional threat of recourse.
Nobody has ever explicitly threatened to kill me.
But there have clearly been efforts to frighten me into shutting up, some subtle, some not. There was the person who emailed me a copy of my credit report… clearly implying that he could fuck with it. There was the person who repeatedly threatened to “out” me (as if I really care if anybody has an accurate impression of my sexual preference other than the person I prefer to have sex with.) And there was the emailer who thanked me for a TV interview I gave, saying that now that he knew my face, he’d “beat it to a bloody pulp” if he ever saw it in public. (He then courteously advised me which Seattle neighborhoods I should avoid.)
Last spring, Tim Eyman sent an email to his list accusing me of sending them viruses, which prompted a number of very angry emails, plus an onslaught of viruses in return. (Tip to e-vandals… I use a Mac.) Several said they reported me to federal and state authorities, and several others threatened to do so. Some threatened to sue me personally. But one individual saw fit to repeatedly call me at home, threatening to come right over and the beat the crap out of me. (Tip to angry phone callers… I have caller ID.)
As tensions rose after the November election, and my blog gained more visibility, my hate mail rose in both volume and, um… volume. One angry missive reminded me that things would all “even out in the end” for while liberals controlled the media, conservatives had “all the guns.” And after I posted a rather harsh critique of the Building Industry Association of Washington, an emailer responded “Builders know how to build houses… we also know how to tear them down.” He then helpfully appended my home address.
I discuss these threats reluctantly — if people think it gets to me, it might only encourage more. But I thought they raised an important point.
I’m just some guy with a strong opinion and a website. If I get personal threats, imagine what kind of crap is sent to the Governor who the right-wing blogs and talk radio have repeatedly accused of stealing this election?
Nobody is denying (u)SP their First Amendment right to hate-mongering. But I repeat, hateful rhetoric has consequences…. and they know it.
Methinks the Snark doest protest too much.