Vandals attacked the Hillsborough, North Carolina GOP office late Saturday night, throwing a Molotov cocktail through one of the building’s front windows, according to a statement released by the town. The words “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” and a swastika were spray-painted in black on a building adjacent to the office, which houses a party goods store.
North Carolina is a key swing-state in the general election, but that didn’t stop a group of Democrats from launching a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the GOP office. According to David Weinberger, a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, the GoFundMe campaign was inspired by this tweet from writer and University of North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufekci:
“As Democrats, we are starting this campaign to enable the Orange County, North Carolina Republican office to re-open as soon as possible.
Until an investigation is undertaken, we cannot know who did this or why. No matter the result, this is not how Americans resolve their differences. We talk, we argue, sometimes we march, and most of all we vote. We do not resort to violence by individuals or by mobs.
So, let’s all pitch in, no matter what your party affiliation, in and get that office open again quickly.”
The campaign was not an official effort by the Democratic Party, Jeff Jarvis, professor and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“It is the effort of a half-dozen Democrats (of which I am one). This is a moment for graciousness, not fractiousness,” Jarvis wrote.
Donations quickly poured in and the campaign’s $10,000 goal was surpassed within a couple hours, Weinberger said. In total, organizers raised $13,167 from 552 donations before closing the fund.
Some donors added a message with their gift, saying that political violence was simply unacceptable.
“This act of terror was an attack on all of us,” donor Vivian Vacca wrote on the site. “In moments like these, there’s no partisanship. We’re all Americans. We stand by you.”
Weinberger said the funds would be given to the North Carolina GOP with a note saying that the donation was intended to help get the firebombed office back in operation.
“The true motive force for this effort’s incredibly quick success: a thirst for civility and a way to remember our shared love of democracy,” he said.