October 14, 2013
The scene in our nation’s Capital took an ugly turn yesterday.
About 200 people, including Senator Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, held a rally, promoting themselves as the true friends of our nation’s veterans. It was typical political theater — at least until one speaker urged the President to “put the Quran down” and others later waved the Confederate flag in front of the White House.
Harmless political theater still? Perhaps, but I worry.
Like the claim that President Obama wasn’t born in this country, the attempt to vilify him as a supposed Muslim is part of a long-running effort to suggest that he’s not a true American. It’s the kind of thing that’s fueled a meteoric rise in the number of radical antigovernment groups — including armed militias — in recent years. Frankly, it’s a dangerous trend.
It’s our job to track the rise in radical antigovernment groups and alert the country to the growing threat of violence from the far right. It’s everyone’s job to convince those in public life to tone down the divisive rhetoric. Sometimes political theater can go too far. Please join us in speaking out against the extremists.
Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center