Back in March, the Washington Post reported In America, talk turns to something not spoken of for 150 years: Civil war:
With the investigative report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III said to be nearly complete, and with impeachment talk in the air and the 2020 presidential election campaign ramping up, fears that once existed only in fiction or in the fevered dreams of conspiracy theorists have become a regular part of the political debate. These days, there is talk of violence, mayhem and, increasingly, civil war.
A tumultuous couple of weeks in American politics seem to have raised the rhetorical flourishes to a new level and also brought a troubling question to the surface: At what point does all the alarmist talk of civil war actually increase the prospect of violence, riots or domestic terrorism?
Which brings us to disgraced and recalled former Senate President Russell Pearce who, unfortunately, is still all too influential in the Arizona Republican Party. The Arizona Republic reports, Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070: ‘It may take the shedding of blood’ to save U.S.:
Russell Pearce, the hard-right conservative who helped write Arizona’s toughest-in-the-nation law to curb illegal immigration years ago, said the U.S. may have to confront a violent chapter to save itself.
Pearce, the former president of the Arizona State Senate, made the remarks during a right-wing rally Monday dubbed “Patriotism Over Socialism.”
The rally included speeches by U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Arizona Republican Party chairwoman Kelli Ward, and right-wing activist Laura Loomer, who was banned from Twitter and for using Uber and Lyft over her anti-Muslim posts.
“And it may take the shedding of blood to keep this Republic,” said Pearce, who is employed by the Maricopa County Treasurer. “And I, for one, am willing to do whatever it takes.”
It is unclear what Pearce was speaking about leading up to the quote, which was captured on video.
Pearce’s comments come against the backdrop of a deeply pessimistic electorate and amid the presidency of Donald Trump, who in 2016 declined to say whether he would concede if he lost the election to Hillary Clinton. Trump’s lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen testified earlier this year that “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.” Take Michael Cohen’s chilling warning seriously. On Thursday, after the release of the damning Mueller Report, Trump again ‘joked’ about staying on as president for more than two terms, telling a crowd that he might remain in the Oval Office “at least for 10 or 14 years.” This is no laughing matter.
American University professor Susan Benesch said comments such as Pearce’s lower the normal barriers to violence that people have.
It is difficult to quantitatively measure whether there has been an uptick in this sort of rhetoric, she said.
Benesch said incendiary language is linked to the pipe bombs sent to Democrats last year, and the 2018 murders of 11 Jewish people at the Pittsburgh synagogue.
“Both of these men were heavily influenced by other people who made violence seem not only acceptable, but necessary or justified because they were invariably describing threats,” she said.
Benesch added of Pearce: “By talking this way, he increases the chance that other people will” engage in violence.
Groups labeled “extremist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist and hate groups, also attended the rally. They included Patriot Movement AZ, which has posed for pictures with Ward during her unsuccessful run for the Senate in 2018 and has disrupted various Democratic events by protesting, waving flags and shouting.
Recently, Patriot Movement AZ has protested outside of Phoenix-area churches that have agreed to provide temporary housing and humanitarian assistance to large groups of families being released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after being apprehended at the border.
Pearce, who is employed by the Maricopa County Treasurer, has come under fire for anti-immigrant emails and comments he has made since voters recalled him from office eight years ago. He lashed out against today’s state legislators during his remarks Monday, according to a video published by azfamily.com.
“We have stupid leaders, stupid politicians, and it’s time we start replacing those that refuse to stand up for the values that we have shed blood for,” he said.
Pearce, a Mesa Republican, lambasted lawmakers for repealing the decades-old law forbidding sexual education in public district and charter schools that promotes a “homosexual lifestyle.”
“They took all that away,” he said, appearing incredulous. “Why would they do that? Why would they put my children at risk?”
Video shows him saying, “…in fact, I’m so old, I can remember when there were only two genders.”
His comment provoked a round of laughter.
(Here is the racist triad of Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio and John Kavanagh who were behind SB 1070).
Back in 2014, GOP candidates swiftly distanced themselves from him after he said on his radio show that women on public assistance should be forced to go on birth control. The remarks cost him his position as first vice chairman of the state GOP. A year later, he caught heat for using his county-issued email to send send immigration-related missives, against the county’s email policies.
The Republic’s Laurie Roberts writes, “Nice to see that Russell Pearce is still out there in fringeville, spreading goodwill and cheer … and plans for a possible bloody coup.” Is Russell Pearce planning a bloody coup?
“Fringeville” includes the chairwoman of the State Republican Party, Kelli Ward, elected by a majority of Republican state committee persons, and Rep. Andy Biggs, elected by a majority of Republican voters in District 5 (most of the East Valley, covering most of Mesa and Chandler and all of Queen Creek and his hometown of Gilbert).
I’m surprised that Rep. Paul Gosar (District 4) was not in attendance. This nut job is present at every right-wing fringe event, from the Bundy Ranch standoff (with Kelli Ward above), to supporting the white nationalist political parties in Europe. Rep. Paul Gosar Secretly Met With Steve Bannon, Far-Right European Politicians in London.
Sorry Laurie, but “Fringeville” appears to include a majority of the GOP in the state of Maricopa, and greater Arizona.
Laurie Roberts continues:
Have you gone now from full-on nutcase to Napoleon?
“It may take the shedding of blood?” “I, for one, am willing to do whatever it takes?”
I, for one, would like to know exactly what you mean because that sounds like an invitation to grab your guns and head … somewhere.
And isn’t that just what we need, Pearce and his merry band of whack jobs in red-white-and blue berets as they patrol the streets with their AR-15s.
It would be nice to know if Maricopa County’s chief deputy treasurer – a guy who is drawing a $157,000-a-year government salary – is inciting his fringe friends to go all banana republic on us.
Pearce has long been known – renowned, really – for having one of the most obnoxious mouths in the Republican Party.
A decade ago, then-Senate President Pearce was pushing Senate Bill 1070 and advocating for the return of “Operation Wetback,” a 1950s federal program to round up and deport Mexican immigrants here illegally.
He’s a guy who rails against big government and calls himself a champion of the taxpayer even as he enjoys three taxpayer-supported pensions. That, plus his current six-figure government salary.
Which I’m assuming he will keep even as he appears to suggesting violence as an answer to what he thinks ails this country.
Pearce’s brand of politics was long ago rejected by voters.
Seriously?! Have you met the white nationalist racist-in-chief in the White House? Have you met Arizona’s Republican congressional delegation? And most of our Republican state legislators? What are you smoking?