- 67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.
- 57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
- 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”
- 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did”
- Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.”
John Avlon cites these statistics today in The Daily Beast, linking this new level of public hysteria about the President to an intentional campaign of fear and hate. We need only look to recent outbursts from the right (e.g. GOP congressmen yelling “Baby killer!” and “You lie!”) within government spaces predicated on decorum and dialogue–to reinforce the scope of the GOP’s widespread antics.
As Avlon so persuasively notes:
It demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process. What might be good for ratings is bad for the country.
According to the Harris poll, to be realeased in full tomorrow, those with less education are more likely to be duped by conspiracy theories that President Obama was not born in the U.S., is Muslim, or setting the country on a path to socialism. It makes one question how much of these wrong-headed, intententionally perpetuated, theories are driven by racism more than dissent.
Also frightening are Avlon’s notes on what this mean for the future:
The “Hatriot” belief that Obama is a “domestic enemy” as set forth in the Constitution is also widely held—a sign of trouble yet to come. It’s the same claim made by Marine Lance Corporal Kody Brittingham in his letter of intent to assassinate the President Obama.
Brittingham’s assassination attempt, as well as the infamous Twitter death threats by Jay Martin, heighten the importance of calling attention to these very incorrect modes of thought.
I am solidly for affirming the right to civil disobedience and dissent. But how do we address the GOP’s shameful turn from disobedience and dissent to the troubling ideologies of armed rebellion and fear?