If there's one thing that I hope people get out of these town hall protests and other right wing freakouts is the interconnectedness of various right wing obsessions with race, sex, and hostility to social spending. Take, for instance, Randall Terry's anti-health care traveling circus, where they're going to make even the most stubborn believer in "principled" conservatism see it:
The Moran town hall was the last stop on a 10-city tour for Randall Terry, the anti-abortion activist known for his extreme tactics.
Terry's colleagues put on a skit with a man in an Obama mask pretending to whip a bloodied woman, who kept saying, "Massa, don't hit me no more. I got the money to kill the babies."
(Via.) As I noted when I put this on Twitter, the racist bent of anti-choice protesters isn't news to anyone who actually bothers to listen to clinic workers and escorts who deal with protesters on a regular basis, and are witness to both vicious racist slurs and racist assumptions from the protesters. It's the sort of thing that gets ignored or papered over in an attempt to paint anti-choicers as earnest people with moral qualms about abortion, instead of right wing nuts who are in a full-blown panic over the fact that they don't have a legal right to control and punish women who have unapproved sex lives. Though it would seem obvious that's what's going on when someone is driven to hang out at clinics so that you can titillate yourself looking at women who you know have likely had sex recently, and so you can scream at them.
The widespread unwillingness, particularly in the mainstream media, to accept that anti-choicers are rather mean-spirited right wing nuts has led to a disturbing unwillingness to label anti-choice terrorism as "terrorism". It seems there's a sense that the obsessiveness of anti-choicers should work to contain their anger and violence, so they only aim at sexually active women and those who provide them medical care---which shows how much our society still devalues women, but that's a topic for another post. But right wing paranoias are rarely self-contained. People who come in because they're obsessed with female sexuality are open to being paranoid about Islam, and people who turned into right wing nuts after 9/11 often find themselves slipping into anger over women's rights, anger they may not have felt before.
There was a lot of hubbub over this guy who brought a ginormous gun to an Obama event, and now it turns out that he's a member of this church that Pam's been covering, a church where the pastor is an over-the-top homophobe who has preached that Obama should die. What I want to point out is that the violent rhetoric that drove this man to actually threaten the President with his big gun is very specifically anti-choice rhetoric:
.....you're going to tell me that I'm supposed to pray for the socialist devil, murderer, infanticide, who wants to see young children and he wants to see babies killed through abortion and partial-birth abortion and all these different things -- you're gonna tell me I'm supposed to pray for God to give him a good lunch tomorrow while he's in Phoenix, Arizona?
Nope. I'm not gonna pray for his good. I'm going to pray that he dies and goes to hell.
The obsession with abortion is so all-consuming and violent not because of the issue itself, but because right wing nuts know that when it comes to abortion, most of the country will give them leeway to advocate murder, and that even liberal men will sometimes have "intellectual" debates about whether or not violence would be justified if you really believed fetuses are people. It's not that they're just highly moral people who have grown overly incensed about this issue. They are highly immoral people who get excited pushing the boundaries of hate and violent rhetoric, and they push harder on abortion because they know that they can get away with it. That when someone actually acts on it and murders a doctor, it won't be taken as seriously as would a terrorist action against other villains of the right wing pantheon, such as IRS agents or college professors. But if they got the same soft touch, they'd be threatening those people just as much. This has nothing to do with babies.