Local Republican leaders in Loudon County, Virginia thought it would be hysterical to send a mass e-mail that depicts President Obama as a zombie with part of his skull missing and a bullet through his head as a way to drum up support and participants for a Halloween parade. The e-mail had “Halloween 2011″ in the subject line and included several other images, like one of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi drawn to look deformed with one eye bulging out of its socket. Super classy.
State party officials came out against the email, calling it “shameful and offensive” and asked for those local officials to apologize. Which is nice and all, but really. How many campaign fliers, ads, and emails have we seen with some kind of violent imagery or language targeting Democratic leaders coming from the right? The apology might mean something if it were not part and parcel of how the right is running their shop these days.
When Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot there was a call to cool the heated rhetoric and to strive for more civility in our national political discourse and push back against the urge to stoke, for political gain, the darkest elements of our culture. Instead, those elements have gone mainstream, finding their way back to local leadership positions just like they held prior to the civil rights movement and the eradication of de jure segregation. It should come as no shock that as these tactics resurface so too do the policies of the confederacy.
After all, violence and the political right have a long history together.
Photo from gideon_tsang via flickr.