Those who carry the message have been trying to convince us that the above images are not of hatred but patriotism, that their sentiments are not disturbing but rational and this behavior is not disrespectful but acceptable.
Tonight, by Rep. Joe Wilson calling President Obama a "liar" during his address to Congress, we got to see a very tame example of what happens when hatred is encouraged to run rampant under the guise of political expression.
Rep. Wilson quickly apologized, at the urging of Sen. John McCain and because -- oh yeah -- Obama wasn't lying. From the statement issued by Wilson:
"I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks."
I'm not too concerned about Wilson. He's got to be feeling incredibly disrespectful at this point and his political fate lies in the hands of his constituency. But someone needs to make it clear that this is not okay. And while Wilson's apology is nice, what happens when emotions get the best of someone with a gun strapped to their ankle?
Update: To send a message that this is unacceptable, donate to Rep. Wilson's opponent Rob Miller. Miller ran against Wilson in 2008 and got 48% of the vote. He has received over $22,000 in donations on ActBlue since the end of tonight's speech. Click here to donate any amount.