On Sunday, some "patriots" and armed anti-government militia types held a big rally at the Kentucky Capitol building in Frankfort to show they want to "Take Back Kentucky" from the majority of Kentuckians who support the public health orders put in place by Gov. Andy Beshear.

After the rally, some of the militia dudes hanged Beshear in effigy, with a sign reading "Sic Semper Tyrannis" ("thus ever to tyrants"), the phrase shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he shot Abraham Lincoln and worn on a T-shirt by great patriot Timothy McVeigh the day he bombed the Oklahoma City federal building and killed 168 people, including 19 children. It's a really patriotic phrase because tyrants need killing if they keep you from getting a haircut or going to bars.

As part of his daily coronavirus briefing Tuesday, Beshear responded to the protest and the effigy with a 10-minute speech in which he condemned not only the "III Percent" militia jerks, but also the respectable Kentucky politicians who appeared at the rally and pandered to the armed radicals, pointing out that you can't very well cater to these people's support on the one hand and condemn their vile actions on the other.

Here you go; we've cued the video up to the start of Beshear's remarks about the rally and the mob. It's a really good speech (transcript here).

Gov. Andy Beshear May 26 5:00 pm Update | Coronavirus | KET youtu.be



After noting that most people in the state approached the Memorial Day weekend with safety in mind, thank you very much, Beshear said that the rally and the hanging in effigy took him back to his decision to actually move into the Governor's Mansion after he won election, making his family the first first family to actually live there in 40 years. He said he'd imagined that his kids, aged nine and ten, might occasionally get hassled by other children because their dad's the governor, but he didn't "consider that they might be bullied or heckled by grown adults. And then Sunday happened."

Beshear pointed out that the demonstration organizers had rejected an offer for a permit to hold a drive-through protest that wouldn't risk spreading the virus, and said that as the protest went on, the rightwing Three Percenter militia people

left the front of the Capitol, and walked through and across all of the barriers to the governor's mansion, where they say it is no longer open to the public. They walked up and stood on the front porch, and there, just a windowpane away from where my kids play, the mob chanted and heckled. Thankfully, my kids weren't there that day.

You know, because they refuse to give in to fear — they just want to spread some of their own if at all possible. But since shouting on the porch wasn't enough, they then went back near the Capitol to string up the effigy, Latin murder motto and all. "Think about it. A celebration of assassination on our Capitol grounds."

So let's start by calling it what it was, and what it is. Actions aimed at creating fear and terror. Crossing over barriers, standing on the other side of the glass from where I raise my kids and hanging me in effigy? That's an action intended to use fear to get their way. This small group, way less than 3%, is trying to bully everyone else into doing what they want us to do. But they didn't get there alone.

Then Beshear got to the meat of his condemnation: These idiots may be disavowed by the "respectable" Right, but only once they go too far and openly endorse assassination. Anything short of that, like stomping around in full military cosplay battle rattle, is perfectly welcome on the Right. But Beshear wasn't about to let the Right off the hook so easily:

They had been embraced and emboldened by elected leaders that rallied with them weeks before. Standing in front of a radical militia group, these elected officials claimed that people, including me, aren't Christian, and even told them that people wanted babies to be murdered. What do you think was going to happen after throwing out those type of claims to this group? Shouldn't they have known what was going to happen?

If you're thinking here about Bill O'Reilly's constantly attacking Dr. George Tiller as "Tiller the killer" and comparing him to Josef Mengele, then saying he felt no responsibility at all when Tiller was murdered by an anti-abortion terrorist, you're exactly on target. The Right has a hell of a blind spot for all the terrorists it inspires.

Beshear continued:

You cannot fan the flames and then condemn the fire. Those elected officials that embraced these individuals, and that stood in front of people dressed in tactical gear and the rest, and threw as much red meat as possible at them, they have to claim responsibility because they absolutely know what could have happened. And they are in part responsible for what did happen. All elected officials can no longer actively seek the support and cater to these groups like we have seen. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. You can't wait until something nasty and horrible happens to then claim it's wrong, while you've then catered to the support of certain groups, for votes or other reasons.

He also noted the not-so subtle evocation of lynching, in language that white politicians should probably study for future use: He recognizes the very intentional echoes of the act, but explicitly avoids coopting the historical pain of lynching:

Let's also not ignore that the hanging was intended to send a message to others – one of intolerance, and one of hate. I can never understand the depths of pain that this symbol causes to many of my fellow Kentuckians, but I can condemn it outright, as wrong, as vile and as evil.

Beshear pledged, "I will not be afraid. I will not be bullied. And I will not back down, not to them and not to anybody else," and that he would continue to protect the state's health and safety. Damn good speech!

During the Q&A that followed (about 45 minutes into the video above), Beshear said that while he'd rather not have to, he would look into additional security measures to keep future protests away from the executive mansion, and said he suspected those guys with the guns wouldn't much care for having gun-toting people shouting on their front porches. He also said that if future armed protesters ignore the signs around the mansion warning that the house itself isn't a public area, "they should expect a very different response," and he hoped everyone would agree such behavior is out of bounds. "What's wrong is wrong," he said, perhaps mistakenly thinking that those on the far Right have a moral compass that can be appealed to.

At least the leader of the III Percent militia loons, who also led the mock execution near the Capitol, got his ass fired from his job yesterday, so there's a nice thing.

[WDRB via Daily Kos / Kentucky.com]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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