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Thu Feb 14, 2013, 04:58 PM

The Ultimate Wedge Issues: Rebellion and Civil War

The fringe has been creeping out from under the rocks for decades now and have reached the edge of the playing field, in open view of anyone not caught intentionally looking the other way. Call them minute men or oath keepers or patriots, call them nullification advocates or backers of state sovereignty or potential secessionists; these are people on the verge of hard core treason, preparing for possible actual war against the United States of America.

The drive to enact sane gun safety measures has flushed more of them out into the bright light of day. They feel strongly compelled now to mobilize to protect their military arsenals, but with their increased activity comes greater public scrutiny. They didn’t choose this exact timing, mass shootings called the question in the public mind, and their positions stand exposed.

When will Democrats and sane Republicans respond directly to the threat that these “forces” pose to our nation? Supposedly there are establishment Republicans concerned that extreme right messaging is making it too difficult for Republicans to again become the ruling national party. Well it does not get any more extreme than threatening violence against the United States Government, or the break up of the Union. There is no framing starker than that to illustrate how far from the mainstream the Republican Party has been drifting.

Every Republican of any State or National significance needs to be forced to comment on the militant anti-government movement growing within their ranks. Do they forcefully condemn this increasing talk of treason and rebellion, or do they sympathize with and condone the behavior of those who describe the constitutionally constituted and legally elected by popular will government of the United States of America as the enemy? That question no longer is too outrageous to ask, which is how the status quo in American politics to date has treated it. The links between those who are preparing for battle with the United States government and the right wing of the Republican Party are now too numerous and obvious to continue to ignore.

If the tables were reversed you know what would happen. In fact it already has happened. It was called the Red Scare. I would never advocate Democrats resorting to that type of witch hunt; there is no place in our politics today for “are you now or have you ever been” nonsense. But it is both fair and timely to ask leaders of the Republican Party one simple but important question. Do you stand with the United States of America or with its current domestic enemies? No doubt most would try to dismiss that question as unworthy of serious comment, but nothing could be more serious.

There once was a time when leading conservatives like William F. Buckley had the courage and integrity to openly and completely disassociate from the John Birch Society. The reason why Republicans today refuse to similarly unambiguously condemn today’s rebellious right wing fringe is obvious; they don’t want to risk alienating some Republican base voters and contributors. Nothing should be easier for a Republican legislator than to condemn those who contemplate violence against fellow law abiding Americans. But that is a stand many would rather not be forced into making.

The growing talk of what should rightfully be called treason should legitimately be a wedge issue inside today’s Republican Party, but not unless they start getting called on it. Until that happens expect Republicans to keep turning a seemingly deaf ear to continued dog whistle appeals for support from America’s most organized and fastest growing domestic enemies, emanating from those who have sworn to preserve and protect our Union. Partisan self interest does not sink lower than this.

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