Anyone who's read this blog more than once or twice a) deserves a medal and b) probably knows that I'm a tad depressed and occasionally disgusted with the state of affairs going into the November election. But no story has sickened me like the one I read this morning out of Orange County in central North Carolina, where a local Republican Party headquarters was firebombed in what had all the hallmarks of a political attack.
Investigators this morning poured through the rubble of the storefront office, where the incendiary device crashed through the window. That window was once decorated with the words "FREEDOM SPEAKS HERE." Now it just reads "FREEDOM." And clearly, freedom itself is threatened by what the local GOP leader, Evelyn Poole-Kober, rightfully described as an act of "political terrorism," meant to intimidate.
To see a firebombing south of the Mason-Dixon line is especially heart-wrenching, because this is exactly the kind of terror tactic that reactionaries turned to in the 1050s and '60s seeking to deny black people their basic civil rights. This weekend, it was used in an effort to deny a voice to one of our two major political parties. It is every bit as wrong, repulsive, and downright un-American today as it was back them. Indeed, I'm struggling to find the right words to express how cowardly it is to resort to violence to silence someone else's political point of view.
It is important to note that the 2016 campaign has been unusual in both its invocations of violence and its actual appearance, on numerous occasion, at political rallies. But this attack by unknown actors in North Carolina seems to have ripped the hearts of many Americans -- conservatives and liberals, Republicans, Democrats and independents -- in a unique way. All decent people are condemning this act.
In a short period of time, Democrats, liberal activists and some journalists raised at least $13,000 in donations for their fellow humans who are on the other side of the ideological wall. That indeed was one small step -- a pretty big step, actually -- for civility in these United States. The only actual message that was sent by these criminal scum in North Carolina was to remind us that violence solves nothing.