The Secret Service showed up at the house of Joshua Black, a Republican candidate for the Florida House, after this inflammatory tweet:
“I’m past impeachment [for President Obama]. It’s time to arrest and hang him high.”
Not smart, Joshua Black. Not smart at all. If Joshua Black had not been, well, black, this would have been so much worse. Hang him high? Like lynch him, maybe? When are Tea Party candidates, already famous for pediphagia, going to stop saying such obviously misconstruable things?
Anyway, Republican mainstreamers face-palmed and told Black to shut up. Which he did not, of course. His main point was that Obama droned some people without a trial (which amounts to murder) and that he was calling for the execution, among others, of some guy named Eric Snowden. Maybe he meant Edward Snowden? But did Obama ever call for his execution? Not that anyone knows of.
After the expected media outrage, Black responded to his critics with elaboration, but no apology. His point was that Obama, as a traitor, should be legally executed for treason. He hashtagged Benedict Arnold as an apparent historical support for his opinion. Arnold was not executed for treason, however. Arnold fled to England (a country that was at that time not terribly happy with the U. S., for obvious reasons) which gave him asylum. He died there of gout at the ripe age of 60. Maybe a little like Snowden and Russia. Anyway…
Not content to make just Tea Party Republicans look bad, Black then channeled his inner street-preacher (a former profession) and started getting King James on Obama—“the measure ye mete, it shall be meted to you again.”
Bottom line: All of this may be true in some sense. It might even be permissible in some context. But it certainly isn’t profitable. If 99% of what you say is spot on, it won’t matter much if the remaining 1% is crazy whackitude. It’s not a Free Speech issue. You’re welcome to say whatever stupid, unhelpful things you want to say whenever they pop into your mind. But don’t expect for people to take you seriously if you don’t weigh the costs first.
And on the other side of the coin, I’m very pleased that Joshua Black at least says what he means and means what he says. If only we could find a candidate that combined passionate conviction with good sense.