Right wing candidates and commentators have become fond of calling Democrats in Congress “extremist” just because they want to provide Americans with more reliable health care, or because they pay attention to the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is causing serious problems that are going to quickly become much worse unless we slow down emissions of greenhouse gases. These accusations of extremism should be considered in contrast with the genuine extremism demonstrated by supporters of Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul last night outside a debate between Paul and Jack Conway.
Describing what Rand Paul supporters did to her, Lauren Valle, a MoveOn activist, said, “I’m here to present Rand Paul with the ‘Employee of the Month’ award, however his supporters were not very nice to me and my message.” Valle was taking part in MoveOn’s RepubliCorp project, in which activists highlight congressional candidates’ ties to corporate interest group.
So what did the supporters of Rand Paul do to Lauren Valle that was “not very nice”? When she attempted to speak with Rand Paul, to confront him about his policies that would inflate corporate profits while harming working Americans, Rand Paul supporters grabbed her, threw her to the ground, and stomped on her head – twice. These were not just taps to signal to the Valle that she should stay on the ground. They were violent stomps from a large man, with Valle’s head already on the pavement. The mob attack was caught on camera. In this picture, you can see a man’s foot raised up above his victim’s head, ready to strike.
Brutal physical attacks against people who have done nothing more than express disagreement – that’s extremism.