Sunday, October 16, 2016

GOP headquarters in North Carolina firebombed and vandalized.

Photo showing some of the damage to the North Carolina arson attack. GOP Handout/Charlotte Observer.

A GOP headquarters in Orange County, North Carolina, has been attacked by a firebombing and other vandalism. Charlotte Observer. Someone threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid into the headquarters and also sprayed "Nazi Republicans get out of town or else". State and national GOP officials condemned the attack. The governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory (R) called it an attack on democracy. For the Democrats part, Hillary Clinton also condemned the attack on Twitter. The office was considered a total loss. 

My Comment:
This is the textbook definition for terrorism. The use of violence and intimidation for a political cause. The arson attack was an attempt to disrupt GOP operations in North Carolina, a critical swing state. Arson is always a violent act and it is very lucky that there wasn't anyone there when this attack happened. And it's clear that the message painted on the wall is a direct threat at GOP people in the state.

A quick note. There is always a possibility this is a false flag. I would say in this case it is an extremely small chance. Though Orange County seems to be fairly safely in the Democrats hands, no one would be so stupid to destroy their own headquarters in a critical swing state. I only bring it up just in case...

But I am guessing this attack is legit. And it might have an impact on North Carolina. Current polling, which I don't trust at all, has a slight lead for Clinton in the state, which could erode by election day. It's close enough that the small number of votes that the Orange County GOP headquarters could have peeled off from the Democrats might have decided the election.

That won't happen now. Indeed, this looks like a textbook case of voter suppression. This act of violence could influence who decides to vote for Donald Trump and down ballot candidates. The implicate threat of violence might cause people to worry "what happens if people find out I voted for Donald Trump and the GOP?" And prominent public figures in North Carolina, who may have endorsed Trump over Clinton, now have to worry about their homes and businesses getting firebombed. This attack may have the desired effect.

I will give some credit for Hillary Clinton, which is not something I do often. She did come out right away and condemned the attack (see tweet above). That was, of course, the correct thing to do and she deserves some credit for that.

Still, I think that she and the Democratic Party deserve some of the blame for this attack. From the start of this election and beyond they have been saying that Donald Trump and the GOP is the party of hate. They say the GOP hates minorities, women, gays and Muslims. Calling people on the right Nazi's is a common and almost normal occurrence from people on the left. I got called one once simply for saying political violence is never ok, even when it is directed at right wing extremists. Is it any wonder when you spend the entire election cycle calling people Nazi's, that someone would go out and attack someone?

This behavior is common and I see precious little condemnation form the left about it. They didn't say much of anything when Trump supporters were attacked in San Diego and Chicago. And they don't say much about the army of twitter trolls who harass those of us on the right. I'm not saying the right is without sin here, there has been bad behavior on all sides, but I also think that the left hasn't done much to condemn it either.

This attack may backfire though. Though I worry that some voters may be intimidated, I think a lot more people are going to be pissed off. I know my reaction to this is that I am even more determined to vote in November. I categorically reject this kind of political violence so when I see it directed at people that are generally like me and support the same side, I see it as an attack on me. Such attacks are a huge motivation to send a message to the people responsible for this act. We won't be intimidated.

Indeed, the event that pushed me into full fledged support for Donald Trump was the attack on his supporters in Chicago. That attack, which both the Democrats and GOP blamed Trump for, more than anything else made me want to support Donald Trump. If for no other reason then to send a message to the left. If they try to suppress our votes through violence, than we will make our voices heard at the polling box.

I also think that this violence creates an obvious asterisk that should be posted on every opinion poll. People are being intimidated into not openly supporting Donald Trump and the GOP. I would love to have a Trump bumper sticker, but I know that if I did so, I would be risking getting my car keyed. I'd put a Trump sign in my apartment's windows, but I am worried that my neighbors might attack me for it.  And when Trump was in the area for some speeches, I didn't even seriously consider going because I though the threat of being attacked was much higher than I was willing to accept. I think these kinds of thoughts are common and may cause quite a few people to keep their support for Trump quiet. The "shy Trump" effect is real and is being compounded by these kinds of attacks.

I'm semi-open about my support for Trump. My friends and family all know I support Trump, and I obviously have said that I have voted for him here. That being said, I am happy that my blog and related social media accounts are semi-anonymous. Though I doubt my boss would care if some twitter trolls tried to get me fired simply for what I write here and on twitter, I don't know if that's true for my boss's boss and people even higher up in the company. That's how messed up this election is. I feel like I could be risking my job and my safety just because I support the nominee for a major political party...

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