Target: Joe Walsh, ex-congressman and conservative radio host
Goal: Denounce Mr. Walsh’s violent call to “grab muskets” if Donald Trump loses the election.
If Donald Trump didn’t already have us peering with trepidation down the rabbit hole, ex-congressman Joe Walsh may well turn out to be the Tea Party’s maddest hatter. Walsh recently threatened, via twitter, to resort to violence if Hillary Clinton wins the upcoming election: “On November 8th, I’m voting for Trump. On November 9th, if Trump Loses, I’m grabbing my musket. You in?” He later clarified that grabbing his musket was meant to signify “protesting. Participating in acts of civil disobedience. Doing what it takes to get our country back.” Now, to be sure, this writer would never wish to fly in the face of First Amendment rights – even those of musket-toting conservatives. However, Walsh’s statements are problematic not because of his grievances with Hillary as a potential president, but because of the aura of violence and political petulance he cultivates.
Walsh represented an Illinois district for a single term in the House of Representatives, and now maintains his place in the public eye by hosting a conservative talk show. This is far from the first time that Walsh has made problematic statements – in 2014, he was in fact removed from his talk show for using racially charged language, though he returned the very next day. Following the shooting of Dallas police officers earlier this year, Walsh sent out a hate-infused tweet blaming Obama and Black Lives Matter “punks” for the shootings, and telling them to “watch out.” His Twitter account is rife with vitriolic complaints against PC culture, feminism, the biased media, and even one especially jaw-dropping tweet lamenting the fact that the NFL has begun cracking down on the use of the N-word on the field – says Walsh: “You can’t penalize speech on a football field. It’s a violent game.”
It’s true, football is violent. Thankfully, it’s just a game, and the players presumably understand the risks they’re taking. The American people, on the other hand, did not sign up to have war waged upon our democracy by narrow-minded bullies who are unwilling to accept the results of an election. There are no paramedics standing by. Tell Joe Walsh we will not stand for this type of bombastic threat to the peace of our nation and our political system.
Dear Mr. Walsh,
I was deeply disturbed by your recent Twitter comment threatening to resort to violence if Donald Trump does not win the upcoming election. Although you later clarified that your intent was not to act violently, you must understand the inherent aggression in your words. The fact that you were calling others to join you – others who may, in fact, act violently if they are disappointed on election night – is even more problematic.
Donald Trump has set a poor example for his supporters by refusing to say whether or not he would accept a negative outcome of the election. This is unprecedented in our nation’s history, and shows not an ounce of maturity nor respect for the peaceful transition of power that is essential to our political system. Your threat to “grab [your] musket” is exactly the kind of violent reaction we feared would come out of Trump’s comments.
Violent rhetoric and poor-sportsmanship have no place in our democracy. As a former congressman, you should know better than this, and I am surprised and disappointed by your behavior. Please retract your comments, and commit, as Trump should, to accepting the votes of the people, however they may fall this November.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Federal Government