*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Most Americans, and actually most human beings, are inclined to couch their extreme hatred for another person if for no other reason than to not appear inhuman. If nothing else, no matter how much a person detests another, they would never ever state publicly they want anyone killed; it’s just not acceptable.
However, this is America and one segment of the population is so wracked with animus for non-conservatives that calling for a Democratic politician’s demise, by the harshest measures, is just not unusual any more. It is, though, unusual for a politician to call for another politician to be executed by public hanging; but then again it’s what many have come to expect from Republicans.
“@HillaryClinton You should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the US Constitution…then hung on the Mall in Washington, DC.”
Folk isn’t just another Southern yokel who hates Democrats; he serves in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Now it’s true there is a general election upcoming and passions are inflamed, but this is going too far without severe consequences; sod this kind free speech.
After rapid criticism for the tweet, Mr. Folk posted a second tweet supporting his call for the presumptive Democratic nominee to be executed on his personal indictment; “Sorry, I don’t mince words… read this story & watch this video & maybe you’ll understand.” Folk provided a hyperlink to a neo-conservative site about the failed Republican congressional investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. The West Virginia Democratic Party provided a screen capture of Folk’s tweet, where they said he was “unfit to serve” as if that was hurtful in the least.
The chairwoman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, Belinda Biafore, issued a news release early Saturday morning stating:
“Not only are Delegate Folk’s words concerning, they are disturbing. The mention of hanging and implication of murder should never, ever be acceptable. To think that a person in a leadership position in our state can say these types of things is baffling and should not be tolerated. Folk’s actions should deem him as unfit to serve and Speaker Tim Armstead (R) should take action if Folk doesn’t resign. It makes me very worrisome for the people of West Virginia that someone who can feel this type of hate and use this type of rhetoric is in any position of power.”
With all due respect to Ms. Biafore; how on Earth is she remotely “baffled” that a Republican in a leadership position, particularly in the former Confederacy, is publicly calling for, not just mentioning, the public hanging and murder of any other American, much less a presumptive nominee for the presidency? For dog’s sake it was the Republican Party of West Virginia’s neighboring state, regular Virginia, that called for armed rebellion against Barack Obama if he won re-election leading up to the 2012 general election. Calling for violence is just part and parcel of what it means to be a 21st Century Republican. In 2013, another Virginia Republican attempted to incite an assassination attempt against President Obama; so much for that Southern hospitality and “Virginia is for lovers” slogan.
Even West Virginians, including those who are not Hillary Clinton supporters, were appalled that one of their “esteemed Republican” legislators took the lowest road possible to express his opposition to Clinton. One of the first commenters said, “I’m no where (sic) near a Hillary supporter. I’m just not a fan of having a maniac hold office in my great state.”
Apparently, the news that Folk called for Clinton’s execution alerted many Twitter users to his ‘regular’ job as a United Airlines pilot and they promptly sent screen captures to the corporation to let them know what kind of stellar character they have in their employ. United Airlines responded to the flood of messages with: “We are definitely aware, and are investigating this. Thanks for letting us know.”
Now, although the likes of pedophile and washed-up, one-hit wonder Ted Nugent regularly calls for the execution of Hillary Clinton and President Obama, he is not an elected official; he is a board member of the National Rifle Association and should be expected to advocate for violence against his perceived enemies. But Michael Folk is an elected official and although he is a Republican, he has to be smart enough to know that those kinds of words have terrible consequences.
For example, after Republicans spent months using a phony and highly-edited video to portray Planned Parenthood as a deviant organization selling “baby parts,” a gun-wielding religious maniac strolled into a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic and began killing; all the while saying “no more baby parts.” More recently, after hearing for years that LGBT people deserved execution, a religious maniac committed a heinous mass murder at an alleged gay nightspot in Orlando.
Words have consequences and although evangelical preachers or West Virginia or Virginia Republicans aren’t committing horrendous acts of violence, there are enough religious and conservative maniacs in America with access to firearms that can be pushed to commit murder.
It is a mystery if the West Virginia Republicans will throw Michael Folk out of the legislature, or if United Airlines will do anything more than conduct an investigation, as if there is something more to learn than they don’t already know. However, it is long past time for Republicans to take control of their own and it goes all the way to the top of the organization and leadership at the highest levels, which is probably why it continues unabated.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.