Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Love that Sarah!

It's hard to believe that it has been over a year since I have posted. Part of that has been an intense work schedule, and part has been the political debate has gotten so bad that I just got too turned off. There were just too many idiots in America to talk about.

But it's time to jump back in.

This weekend, what I had been fearing actually happened. The political rhetoric has gotten so ugly that I feared someone would get hurt. After all, the ugly anti-abortion rhetoric stirred up by Bill O'Reilly and his ilk created an environment that contributed to Dr. George Tiller's assassination. Now, six people in Tuscon, AZ, lie dead, and several others, including the target of an assassination attempt, Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, are hospitalized -- Giffords from a head wound.

Is any single individual spewing forth hateful political rhetoric personally responsible for the shooting? No. A nut job who couldn't get into the Army and who was kicked out of community college for disruptive behavior -- but who could get a gun and an extended clip -- is responsible. He deserves to be locked up in a psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life.

But conservatives, particularly the Tea Baggers, need to take responsibility for what they have to say. Yes, I am singling out political conservatives. There are a number of media pundits who say hateful rhetoric has been spewed by both sides. Yes, that's technically true, but when it is 95% conservative and 5% liberal, there's no equivalence here. It's like arguing that there's a scientific debate over evolution, when 99.9999% of all qualified scientists believe in evolution.

The best example is Sarah Palin. During the campaign, both her website and Facebook page had a map with crosshairs "targeting" 20 Democratic representatives for defeat in the fall 2010 campaign. Rep. Giffords was one of those in the "crosshairs," and complained about violent nature of the image.

Now the media have talked about Palin's map as an example of irresponsible political discourse. Yesterday, Palin issued a video in her defense, complaining that "within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible."

Several Palin critics have jumped on her use of the term "blood libel," a term that refers to the charge from the Middle Ages that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood to make matzoh for Passover. I wouldn't expect someone who makes up words such as "refudiate" to know what "blood libel" actually means.

But, I do hope that someone who has become identified with her statement "Don't retreat, reload" will stop blaming what she calls the "lamestream media" for her own contribution to our hostile political environment.

Given that her political team has tried to say in recent days that the "crosshairs" were not "crosshairs" but "surveyor marks," I am not holding my breath.


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