With the Palin VP announcement in late August the inbox of our website on Sarah Palin (grizzlybay.org) was barraged with hate mail from her supporters. Particularly troubling was the overall violent tone of most Palin supporter’s letters, many of them threatening to inflict grotesque acts of violence upon us, “liberals”, “tree huggers”, “socialist maggots” and my particular favorite – “markists” (yes, that is how she spelled it).
The similarity of tone and metaphor of the hate mails was uncanny. They were often infused with violent threats against bears and wildlife and often used the same violent metaphors. Threatening to “barbecue bears”, “eat bear steaks”, “shoot bears”, and “hang bears” up on their walls, Palin supporters were particularly virulent about describing the infliction of violence upon an animal that our website supports. It is not insignificant that the implication of these emails was that liberals and “demorats” should be barbecued right alongside the bears. As one Palin supporter wrote, “Too bad you dumb fucks can’t be hunted from the air…now that would be sport”.
Since Palin has a pathological hatred of bears (and all wildlife), threatening to kill them became a common way for Palin supporters to express their support for her when writing to us – the authors of a website that comes up on the first page of a google search on “Sarah Palin”. We have gotten over 600,000 hits to our website in less than two months – which translates into lots of Palin supporters seeing the bear as a symbol of Palin opponents – or Obama supporters.
Now these threats have become real and literal – a bear cub in NC was shot in the head, draped in Obama signs, and thrown onto the steps of Western Carolina University. This signals many dangerous things: Verbal threats against Democrats and Obama have now translated into real violence and death. Palin supporters are willing to break the law to express their support (killing bear cubs is illegal). Since serial killers and sociopaths torture and kill animals as a warm up for torturing and killing humans, this is a very real sign that violence towards Obama and his supporters is escalating.
People anonymously wrote us threatening to kill bears in September. Five weeks later a baby bear is shot in the head. People are shouting in public at McCain rallies, “off with his head”, “kill him”, “treason”, “terrorist” and “bomb Obama” and my question to the American public is what is going to happen to Obama five weeks from now?
Palin has become the mouth piece for fueling and fanning violence infused sentiments towards Obama at her public rallies. While McCain gives minimal lip service condemning the threats at his rallies – it is his campaign orchestrating this very escalation of public violence and mob infused hatred. Everyone and anyone has a responsibility to condemn this behavior and to make it stop. Palin must be held accountable for the violence she is stirring up, and the death threats she refuses to condemn as they are happening in front of her.
As Obama’s support continues to grow it becomes apparent that the majority of Americans do not support this kind of hatred and violence. Every political leader and individual needs to take a stand to stop this race infused hatred and violence before it is too late.