“Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. No one is right all the time. But we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedoms and the public servants who enforce our laws.
“We are again dealing with difficulties in a contentious, partisan time. We are more connected than ever before, more able to spread our ideas and beliefs, our anger and fears. As we exercise the right to advocate our views, and as we animate our supporters, we must all assume responsibility for our words and actions before they enter a vast echo chamber and reach those both serious and delirious, connected and unhinged.”
“In the world of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the threat is always growing. Ronald Reagan’s policies led to a growing threat. The first Gulf War led to a growing threat. The election of Bill Clinton led to a growing threat. The Internet led to a growing threat. Sept. 11 led to a growing threat. The war in Iraq led to a growing threat. Is it any wonder that Obama’s presidency has, in the SPLC’s estimation, led to a growing threat?
“Hate groups do exist across the political spectrum, and have for a long time. But they have nothing to do with the expressions of frustration over deficits, taxes and Obamacare that we have heard at so many Tea Party gatherings. That frustration, felt by Republicans, independents and even some Democrats, is an entirely mainstream reaction to the sharply activist course the president and congressional leadership have taken. While the level of frustration is indeed a threat, it is a political threat. Ask Democrats running in this November’s elections.”