America, Congress, editorial, Gabrielle Giffords, right wing extremists, Sarah Palin, teabaggers, violence
I confess that I spent most of my time yesterday simply reading what came across the Internet. I cover dozens of well-known and not so well-known political websites, as well as a plethora of religious, and other more general blogs.
“If tweets could kill, then Sarah Palin would be dead of ten thousand pecks.” I wrote that, after viewing her Twitter page. She was vilified on @SarahPalinUSA. You see, she can’t control comments there. There was hardly any defense of her.
Not the same over on Facebook, where comments are regularly removed by those who write for her, when they get too critical of Ms. Palin. Perennial critics like myself, are simply banned from commenting at all. There, comments were unfailingly supportive.
It became interesting to read these remarks. “Libtards are at it again, making political points out of a tragedy,” one intoned. In fact this was stated repeatedly. Charges, were, as you might expect, lodged against the President who during the campaign said something like “if they bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun,” as evidence that Sarah was no worse an offender of violent rhetoric.
I think I recall the President’s remark and it was part of a string of analogous “if this, then that,” metaphors. Interestingly, that was the ONLY such remark anyone of the Sarah lovers could come up with. On the other hand, Sarah’s veer into the violent is scattered with dozens of such remarks.
“Don’t retreat-reload,” she says. “If you can’t climb the wall, then parachute in, . . .blood may be spilt. . .in our quest.” “Paling around with terrorists.”
More telling, her tweets were sanitized as were her websites for violent language. If that doesn’t suggest a guilty conscience I don’t know what would.The cross-hairs map was turned into “surveyors marks”. This all was done, we are told, before her “condolences” were sent.
But of course, we agree, Sarah is not directly responsible, any more than Sharron Angle is when she noted that if they didn’t get their way, “Second amendment remedies” might have to be used. Any more than the man pictured above is directly responsible. Or the woman who screamed at a tea party event, “this time the ballot box, next time bullets!” Nor the crazy Paladino who threatened a reporter with violence, nor Jarred Kelly who opposed Giffords and invited his supports to “come on down and shoot a fully automatic rifle with me.” Nor Bill O’Reilly who referred to the doctor murdered for his abortion activities as the “Killer Tiller.”
Don’t forget all the right-wing rhetoric that calls Obama “Hitler” and paints swastikas across his likeness. Nor the constant claims of Beck, Hannity, Fox in total, Palin and all the others that we are at war for the very existence of our way of life. That everyone on the left is determined to “destroy America.” This is the rhetoric we are used to hearing from the right-wing supremacists. They’ve been at it for years. But now the right-wing media and candidates are using fear, stark dramatic fear to gin up their followers.
Such rhetoric falls on the sane and the insane. The sane place it in context. The insane, the troubled, the mentally unstable, hear the words and find what they almost never find–a confirming of their ideas. Can you imagine how encouraging this can be?
We are a violent nation. Of that no one disagrees. We love our guns to distraction. Way beyond what the Founding Fathers could ever have intended or imagined, we now demand the right to have all manner of killing power in our homes, and increasingly to tote our weapons about where ever we go. More and more states, my own included, allow open carrying.
This is pure insanity. Our video games, our music and our movies and television fare is crammed to the neck with violence. If you were to believe it, every cop in America kills a suspect about every three or four days. The reality of it is that most cops never discharge their gun in their entire careers.
We have been this way it seems forever. A fair and impartial look at our history suggests that most of the time, life in the west during the mid-nineteenth century, was mean and hard. But we have glorified it. Cowboys and Indians are the natural history of most of us now in our middle age. We grew up on WWII movies where we always won the battle and killed the Krauts or Japs. Guns are as natural to us as bicycles.
It should come as no surprise that violence is part of our political rhetoric. Along with metaphors involving sports, it seems the easiest way to make a point that everybody “gets.” But that doesn’t make it right.
The demonizing of our political enemies is an offering to the crazy among us of our tacit approval of the plans they dream of carrying out, OUT OF NECESSITY TO SAVE THE NATION. The rhetoric of war and guns used to make points, is understood perfectly by them, but in literal terms.
We have to stop it. While I agree, that there is some of this on both sides, there is no question that the vast majority of it comes from the right-wing tea party and those that created them and constantly push their buttons.
If we don’t stop this, then this will be but one of a series of such tragedies we will suffer. Another 9-year-old’s life will be snuffed out for no good reason on God’s green earth. We bear this responsibility. We must stand UP and SPEAK OUT against the violence of our country. DENOUNCE those who speak violence. And continue to do so. Until it carries the same noxiousness as the “N” word and the “R” word, and all the other words we no longer use in any discourse.
The choice is yours and mine. What will you do?
- In Blaming Sarah Palin, Our Violent Culture Gets a Pass (politicsdaily.com)
- Sarah Palin removes ‘target list’ as ‘vitriolic rhetoric’ blamed for Arizona shooting (dailymail.co.uk)
- Special Comment: Violence and threats have no place in democracy (crooksandliars.com)
Thomas Bryner said:
I think it starts at the top. For whatever reason, our leaders *want* us to be violent and materialistic.
Look at the response to 9/11. The first impulse of the people was to help- for the only time in my memory, blood banks actually had a surplus because so many people wanted to contribute in a positive way.
It didn’t take any time at all for politicians to twist all that positive energy into a misguided quest for revenge. George said they hated us because we were free, and the best thing we could do was all go shopping.
And here we are today: broke and violent. Mission accomplished.
Very well put, Sherry. While this rhetoric didn’t directly cause this guy to go out and shoot people, it encouraged his own urges and he then acted on them.
Snoring Dog Studio said:
Sherry, I’m going to print out your post because it is exactly on point. People don’t get it. We’re awash in violent words and imagery. I couldn’t say this better than you did, though I tried on another post this morning. I left that person the link to your post. I’m going to tweet your link, too. Thank you for this!
Last night, Chris Matthews ran down the list of presidential/political assassinations and assassinations attempts. It’s rather shocking how often we do this sort of thing.
Palin et al (Limbaugh by virtue of audience size and longevity is the biggest offender by far) lack any sense of history and live only in their own present. They incite by any definition. And they are outraged that anyone would draw a line from their words to the consequences.
To Thomas: I agree it starts at the top with leaders who use chaos around us to control us.
Maui: the climate of hatred encourages some to do what they might not otherwise have the courage to do. At least that’s what I think.
SDS: thanks for your remarks.
Moe: I love their defense. Our challenge to them is the incitement. Apparently they agree that liberals can incite conservatives, just not the other way around.
To all: thanks for your patience. My e-mail went berzerk and it took 4 phonecalls to get it straightened out. I could receive but not send yesterday. My longer replies got eaten! lol..
[Our challenge to them is the incitement. Apparently they agree that liberals can incite conservatives, just not the other way around]
Just made this exact point elsewhere.