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Politics & Policy

‘Political Terrorism’ in North Carolina. An Outlier or a Harbinger?

From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

‘Political Terrorism’ in North Carolina. An Outlier or a Harbinger?

Thankfully, no one was hurt.

Republican county offices across North Carolina are being warned after a headquarters in Orange County near Durham was torched by a flammable device and someone spray-painted an anti-GOP slogan referring to “Nazi Republicans” on a nearby wall, authorities said Sunday.

A bottle filled with flammable liquid was thrown through the window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters overnight, according to a news release from the town of Hillsborough. The substance ignited and damaged the interior before burning out. No one was injured.

On Sunday afternoon, the walls of the multi-room office were covered in black char, and a couch against one wall had been burned down to its springs. Shattered glass covered the floor, and melted campaign yard signs showed warped lettering.

“This highly disturbing act goes far beyond vandalizing property; it willfully threatens our community’s safety via fire, and its hateful message undermines decency, respect and integrity in civic participation,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said.

“Let me be clear, the Orange County Republican Party, and all of the North Carolina  Republican Party will be open for business tomorrow morning,” executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party Dallas Woodhouse said. 

In these final days leading up to the election, a bus will serve as the Orange County GOP headquarters in Hillsborough.

Another business owner discovered the damage Sunday morning. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working with local investigators.

Calling it an act of “political terrorism,” the North Carolina GOP party ordered all county Republican offices to increase security.

Let’s all take a moment to observe the irony and/or historical illiteracy required to call someone a Nazi and then threaten them by burning their books and offices.

Sadly, this seems like a foreseeable and perhaps inevitable outcome of a political environment where the opposition is painted as not merely wrong but evil, a force whose malevolence justifies any method or tactic used against them.

The presidential candidates reacted:

While Democrats condemned the bombing, Trump tweeted: “Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning @NCGOP.”

But Clinton’s campaign tweeted, “The attack on the Orange County HQ @NCGOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe.”

The North Carolina Republican Party responded, “Thank you for your thoughts & prayers, Sec. @HillaryClinton.” Later, the party responded to Trump, “Thank you Mr. @realDonaldTrump. We will not be silenced nor suppressed by this evil act. We will pray for those who seek to harm us.”

Give credit where it is due: Some North Carolina Democrats acted quickly and decisively to demonstrate this attack didn’t represent them or their values, and they put their money where their mouth was.

An online campaign reportedly set up by a group of Democrats to help rebuild the firebombed Republican party headquarters in Orange County, N.C, met and surpassed its $10,000 goal only 40 minutes.

The GoFundMe account had raised $13,117 as of Monday morning.

It was set up by a group of Democrats who said they hoped to make a statement against such tactics, which the state’s GOP leaders have called “political terrorism.” 

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