Climate of Fear: Pt. 2


Matt: For whatever it's worth, I've been hearing such tales of vandalism from both Bush supporters and Kerry supporters. Naturally, both assume that the vast majority of these attacks are directed against their side.

There is a lot of hate out there. The country might not be "polarized" in the sense of an ideological war—the gap between Kerry's and Bush's beliefs simply isn't that wide, and there's a substantial number of Americans who don't really care who wins—but the fanaticism of the hardcore Bushbots and Kerrybots really is something to behold. I get their e-mails, and I don't have any trouble imagining them vandalizing someone's car, sign, or lawn. Anything to save America from that Communist sleeper agent Kerry or that Nazi goon Bush.


NEXT: You've Got Them Under Your Skin

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  1. I don’t doubt it at all, my bad sense of humor notwithstanding.

  2. I blame the Internet. Things were better when people couldn’t talk to other people with different beliefs.

  3. “For whatever it’s worth, I’ve been hearing such tales of vandalism from both Bush supporters and Kerry supporters.”

    I wonder, ‘cuz I sure haven’t. Everything I’ve seen is targeting Bushies. Care to provide any links on attacks against Kerry signage?

  4. My mom thinks if Bush isn’t elected, we’ll be killed by terrorists. I tell her to stop listening to Hannity but it’s like crack. They can’t put it down.

  5. Austin: I can tell you that in very Red State Johnson County, Kansas I have seen several vandalized Kerry/Edwards signs. If you need links though, try a Google News search for “Campaign Sign Vandalism”. Just about every story in there states that it’s happenning on both sides.

  6. I blame noted cesspools DU and FR.

  7. I’ve seen both sides represented here in the South Bay of LA. We get professionals from both Orange County and Santa Monica working together here. I’ve seen vandalized stickers on cars in the lot, but I haven’t seen the cars themselves vandalized, which doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

    I did hear of one barbarous act first hand. The bartender downstairs said that many of the suits wouldn’t tip her yesterday; she was wearing a T-shirt that read, “My Country Went to Iraq, and All it Found was This Rotten T-Shirt.” Refusing to tip a hot bartender may not constitute vandalism, but it is un-American.

  8. Same thing goes on in Iraq, ideological fundamentalism. Maybe it’s nothing to worry too much about here, but it probably isn’t too much to worry about overseas either, yet our collective legislature gets their undies in a bunch when some cleric does the same thing. Don’t give me the “but the Islamists are killing people” baloney, we do the same thing here but we do it with more pomp and circumstance and call it our justice system. See what happens when a PAC won’t pay up on an FEC fine.

  9. OK, here’s one:

    I noticed the morning after a particularly violent thunderstorm that my Badnarik/Campagna sign was laying in the middle of our street. Thinking that the wind blew it down, I just stuck it back in the grass, and went about my business. Well, as I’m mowing my lawn the next day, my neighbor comes over and I shut off the mower and he proceeds to tell me about the night of the thunderstorm. He said here was this barefoot kid just walking down the middle of our street at the height of the storm, lightning popping, horizontal rain all that, and he walks past the sign then stopped, came back, looked at it, cocked his head, then went over and pulled it out, carried it to the middle of the street and threw it straight up into the air. Then he proceeded to mosey on down the street.

    I don’t know if he was all fucked up on something, or what, but my best guess is that he saw the big “B” in Badnarik and either was so blinded by the rain or “blinded by the light” that he mistakenly thought it was a Bush sign!

    But I have had violent reactions to my statement of support for Badnarik, usually from hard left greens or Naderites. I can’t imagine that the kid got that pissed off about Badnarik, though.

  10. Ryan: I blame noted cesspools DU and FR.

    Not to be a dick or anything, but do you mean “DE?”

    just checking.

  11. Ken,

    Up here in Seattle, I have seen a few cars keyed, one car pulverized by a Louisville Slugger, and one other fire bombed by some reservation fireworks. As usual, some had K/E stickers and some had B/C stickers. The fire bombed car belong to a hippie friend of mine who had every liberal bumper sticker one could get attached to it. His house was also vandalized.

    A fellow apartment dweller had his “independent” car egged, not sure if it was politically motivated though.

  12. DB,

    Democratic Underground and Free Republic.

  13. My buddy had his KE04 bumper sticker ripped off his truck…in Wisconsin!

  14. After sitting through the debates the other night, and before we finally stopped drinking…our group, made up of just about every political persuasion (including the I don’t Give a Flying F— contingent) we contemplated going aroung the neighborhood and swithcing the K/E signs for B/C signs (and of course the opposite). And we followed up with the thought of getting some bumber stickers of both parties for the same purpose.

    I think the main thing stopping us was the fact that, being a weeknight, we all had to get up in the morning. I gotta admit, come this weekend, I’m gonna be pushing the same thing….perhaps all night drunkeness will shake something loose…Vandals for Humor?

  15. “Refusing to tip a hot bartender may not constitute vandalism, but it is un-American.”

    It’s not un-American. She just learned the difference between tips for tits and tit for tat. She’ll know better next election.

  16. If you think this is bad, just take a gander at the violence associated with 19th century American politics. It went beyond property crime into the realm of murder.

  17. Ken,
    Which bar in South Bay? I’m willing to sacrifice time from my busy sked to help console the lass.

  18. Matthew Cromer:


    Democratic Underground and Free Republic.

    Not reading any other blogs than H&R, I was bound to not get that reference. I thought the reference was to the ISO country codes for Germany and France, which didn’t make much sense to me anyway…Thanks for clearing that up.

  19. I’m not sure what counts as vandalism, stealing the sign, or putting the sign up on someone’s private property. I know those cardboard signs with the two metal stakes come in quite handy for sighting in the slug gun this time of year. The public range is full of political signs, some 25 yds, some 50, and some 100 yds down range. Some even have the candidate’s photo!

  20. If you think this is bad, just take a gander at the violence associated with 19th century American politics. It went beyond property crime into the realm of murder.

    fair enough, but i wonder if the trip down isn’t quite a lot more rapid and awful than the voyage up was.

    i don’t want to be dramatic, right, but i’ve read enough of the classics to understand that this state of affairs — demagoguery as leadership, the masses foaming at the mouth, declining levels of civility all the way up the scale (eg., “fuck you, senator leahy!”) — that we are in the deteriorating stages of our plebiscitarian democracy. perhaps it is only the onset of such deterioration — and perhaps not — but one can hardly make the case that things are improving.

  21. Austin,

    You should check out Orcinus on a regular basis.

    On the whole, I think brownshirtism and “eliminationist rhetoric” is much more common on the right than on the left. Enraged “red meat” rhetoric is a peculiarity of the right. (The main place on the left where I’ve seen it is not among liberal Kerry supporters, but from the kind of self-proclaimed “anti-racists” and “anti-fascists” who sometimes frequent Infoshop).

    And interestingly, the worst offenders aren’t the “far right.” They are people much closer to the mainstream GOP in their ideology than to the “anti-government extremists” in the militia/patriot movement. The people who engage in violence are mainly flag-worshipping, law’n’order conservatives of the old Archie Bunker variety, who think Bush was divinely appointed. They are, in fact, much more likely to advocate violence against “traitors” than are the “anti-government extremists” further right.

    This isn’t intended as a slam at the right. Liberals have their own peculiar ways of being obnoxious. They are much more prone to smugness and moral superiority, congratulating themselves over their “more advanced” views–e.g., “Democrats care.”

  22. On the whole, I think brownshirtism and “eliminationist rhetoric” is much more common on the right than on the left

    Not unless unions are part of the right…

  23. Wouldn’t it be emotionally healthier for Righties and Lefties to admit they simply loathe each other, grab their rifles, and shoot it out in the town square? Let’s face it, elections are for girlie-men.

  24. Kevin, are the break-ins and thefts of Bush-Cheney campaign computers at multiple locations, the AFL-CIO mini-riots, and the shooting up of Bush Cheney state headquarters offices is the work of those Archie Bunker conservatives? Or is shooting up someone’s campaign headquarters what you mean by smugness and moral superiority?

  25. gaius, yep, I was thinking along those lines when the Dixie Chicks first got the response they did. It also reminds me of a certain moustached European rising to power in the 30s.

  26. My fiance, who is a teacher, told me that some of her students steal Bush signs off of peoples’ yards. I almost busted a vein.

    Though I don’t plan on voting for Bush, I think it’s beyond hypocrisy for a supposed “liberal” intruding on private property and interfering with another citizen’s right to political expression. These fucking “rock the vote” kids are morons, and I ever see a kid doing something like this I’m going the kick the hell out of him.

  27. Its all Clinton/Bush/Reagan/Carter/Ford/Nixon’s fault

    (sorry got tired of typing).

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