We're progressives, right? We're supposed to have open minds, be fair-minded, big tent, the whole balance thing. We're not pacifists, of course, that's one of the biggest myths going - but it's pretty to think we're not total raging hypocrites, either.
Before I go there, though, let's think back a few years - specifically, let's recall the healthcare reform debate. If memory serves, Democrats were threatened in all manner of ways during that emotionally charged period - bricks were thrown through Democratic Congresspersons' windows, Dems in favor of the ACA received threatening phone calls, racial epithets were tossed around, and one Congressman's brother had a severed propane gas line. Apparently, according to the Guardian, "An activist with the 'tea party' movement had posted the brother's address on an internet forum, apparently thinking it was the congressman's, and urged angry opponents to pay him a visit." A pro-ACA Democrat received a call saying, "I hope you bleed ... [get] cancer and die." A revered black civil rights leader, Rep. John Lewis, was allegedly called the N-word. Gay Democratic Rep. Barney Frank was called a "faggot." High-ranking black Congressman, Rep. James Clyburn, received a fax with the image of a noose.
Threats to Democrats? Posting an address on the internet? We, progressives, were horrified and enraged and all kinds of pissed at this despicable conduct - and rightfully so. None of us, as I recall, were okay with all that.
So, having said that, maybe somebody ought to school me as to why threats made to uber-Republican tea party crazy Ted Cruz are seen by progressives as okay? Someone apparently tweeted that he wanted to "take down" Cruz, and even posted his home address - an address, it should be noted, where his family lives. Hell, I don't support Cruz - far from it. I've written about Cruz and Co's crazy, un-American antics here and here and here and here and here - and frankly, you'd have to get up early to beat me at sheer vitriol aimed at Republicans and Cruz and right-wingnuts in general.
But when a progressive website (one that I like very much, in fact) accuses Ted Cruz of wasting taxpayer money by having Capitol police investigate the threat - well, it appears whoever wrote that never read the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you."
As the healthcare reform debate raged, former House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said that the threats made to Democrats had "no place in a civil debate in our country". When progressives raise their voices in righteous anger at something the right does - for example, when tea party activists hoist racist signs and demean our President - it's good and important and necessary for us to make our fierce opposition to such tactics heard. But it's also good and important and necessary that we do not become the monsters we are working very hard, every day, to slay.