In the past two days, twelve suspicious packages have been discovered in mail facilities or at the homes and offices of Democratic leaders or prominent critics of Donald Trump, including Hillary and Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, James Clapper, John Brennan, Cory Booker, Maxine Waters, Robert DeNiro, George Soros, Eric Holder, and Joe Biden. Each of these packages contained a crude but apparently functioning pipe bomb. It isn’t clear if the bomber’s intention was to kill or maim the targets or to create fear among those who dare to be critical of our current president. Several prominent right-wingnuts, including Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh, have suggested that this pipe bomb campaign is a “false flag operation,” a hoax perpetrated by someone wanting to help the Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections. This ludicrous conspiracy theory was dashed this morning when the FBI arrested Cesar Sayoc, a registered Republican with a lengthy criminal record who appears to be an enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump who has taken the president’s hateful and divisive messages to heart and sought to terrorize anyone who would speak out against the president or oppose his policies. Democracies are often challenged by people who cannot accept the free-flowing nature of democratic discussion and the need to give a voice to opposing ideas. These pipe bombs will not silence Trump’s critics. In fact, they may have the effect Dobbs and Limbaugh fear–they may alarm enough sensible voters who are concerned about the state of our democracy and the rancid political climate that Trump’s rhetoric and actions have created and convince them to vote against the Republican establishment that has abdicated its responsibilities in our government’s system of checks and balances. Trump needs to be called on the carpet for his often egregious behavior and divisive language. A Republican-controlled Congress has refused to do that, so it is time to vote in more Democrats at all levels of the government–local, state, and national.
Congratulations to the FBI, Postal Inspectors, local police, and others in law enforcement who quickly found and apprehended the suspect. They acted in a responsible, professional, and non-partisan manner to thwart this threat and bring the person responsible to justice.