At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
–January 27, 1838 Abraham Lincoln
The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disentrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
–December 1, 1862
What I predicted cynically yesterday has started to come true.
Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress.
So “targeting” a liberal for defeat could be a federal crime soon.
Disagreeing with someone in power will be a crime.
“Never waste a crisis…”
And the left has had a renewed flare-up of Palin Derangement Syndrome, her “targeting” of candidates for defeat is for most on the vindictive minds of liberals.
“The rhetoric is just ramped up so negatively, so high, that we have got to shut this down,” Brady said.
Meaning, we have to censor those who disagree with The Left.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann called on Palin to repudiate her part in “amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics.”
The Left is complete pure and virtuous and not responsible in any way for the vitriol they have interjected into politics, especially in the last 12 years. It’s all the right’s fault for opposing them.
Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas tweeted this early Saturday: “Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin.” The tweet included a link to Palin’s target map.
Kos also recycled a clip of Giffords reacting to the map on MSNBC, where she warned Palin of potential consequences to such visuals.
“The way that she has it depicted, has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” Giffords said. “When people do that, they’ve got to realize there are consequences to that action.”
Conservative Andrew Breitbart responded on his own website and on Twitter Saturday, tweeting this warning: “For the love of God, @markos. Stop it. Don’t go there, trust me. Trust me. Trust me. You will not like the blow-back, I assure you.”
Moulitsas, who is also a contributor to The Hill, re-tweeted the message, accompanied by an “LOL.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.” Democrat Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey denounced “an aura of hate” fed “by certain people on Fox News.”
Just hours after the shooting, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik sounded off at a news conference (BTW he’s a Democrat), pinning blame for the tragedy squarely on “the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government.” Dupnik proclaimed, “the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.”
“This may be free speech,” he said. “But it’s not without consequences.”
His comments flew across Twitter and were highlighted by a Daily Kos blogger who praised Dupnik for not being afraid “to point the finger at who is culpable.”
An internal Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by the network indicated that <the shooter> Loughner, 22, is “possibly linked” to an anti-Semetic, white supremacist group.
The DHS memo called the group American Renaissance “anti-government, anti-immigration, anti -ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic.” (The Hill)
And the Left is the one that produced an Assassination Movie of a Sitting President and when they were excoriated for it they blew you off like it was meaningless. (called “Death of a President”).
Adelaide Now (Adelaide, South Australia) Always ripe with talk of threats and reprisals, the tone of American political debate has turned uglier in the past decade.
The Left raged against George W. Bush, hanging him in effigy, depicting him being guillotined and showing him in one movie being assassinated. After the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006 and President Barack Obama in 2008, the Right frequently invoked guns and violence to stir opposition.
To The Authors That Blame Murder On Politics
Dear Author, and to other writers, columnists, and authors who blame this attack on right wing politics:
I think its outrageous that while the families of the dead still are shedding tears, and they aren’t even cold in the ground, that you would use your public forum and your skills as a writer, and author, to bring a political crusade into this issue.
The politics of discourse, whether it be heated, or not, is not the issue. The man that perpetrated this crime is solely to blame. There has not been a single shred of evidence to indicate that the shooter was acting on behalf of anyone that represent public conservative thought, much less Sarah Palin. Even a cursory review of the man’s rants on You Tube or Myspace or interviews with his high school friends show him to be a highly unbalanced individual, and most likely driven by his heretofore undiagnosed and untreated mental illness.
But there is a greater issue here, one that you and other writers are missing. You are abusing the authority your publisher, and the power of your readership to exploit the deaths of fine public servants in order to push a political cause. Writing, and authorship, carries with it great joys, as well as the ability to generate an income, but it also comes with it a great responsibility- to report with the judgment of a fair mind, and based in facts. Writing, and seeking readership in the public eye, is a serious matter, one that should not be taken lightly, or used as a weapon to injure those unfairly who disagree with you. The importance of such responsibility should not be taken lightly, nor disregarded. This is why acts of either plagiarism, yellow journalism, or libel are taken so seriously in courts of law.
There is nothing more powerful then the power of an idea.
Your column suggests that the theory that the Republicans should target certain individuals that had shown weakness in their local polling, and to support tea party candidates in those elections is tantamount to murder. You are saying that conservatives support individuals that go out and shoot the opposing candidates or murder a respected public servant. While issues such as Palin using a crosshairs to show candidates who should be targeted for reelection was done in poor judgement, it hardly is an act suggesting someone should go on shooting spree. In fact, I find it unlikely that you would be able to find a single article, speech or known author of the right, that would suggest such a thing and still keep their job- much less the respect of their readers. By posting such an article at this time, you are in effect, claiming that the public discourse of political discussion is inherently dangerous, and that opposition on ideas leads to violence.
And now, while law enforcement still is investigating the case, and the dead are not even put to rest, you use the pulpit of your column without any evidence- and, in fact, in opposition to what we do know, and just plain common sense.
I find it abominable.
Attacks and acts of violence against our leaders, whether they be from the left or right, or any political school of thought, has never been condoned or suggested by either side. It has been said that violence is the last refuge of the coward, and I agree with that sentiment. But to use the power of the pen, in such a scandalous way, and to act with disregard for the families of the dead; is an abuse of your skill, and the talents you were born with.
When I read columns like this, and others like it, I sometimes feel shame for the profession.
UNITED IN HORROR (Ross Douthat- New York Times)
When John F. Kennedy visited Dallas in November of 1963, Texas was awash in right-wing anger — over perceived cold-war betrayals, over desegregation, over the perfidies of liberalism in general. Adlai Stevenson, then ambassador to the U.N., had been spit on during his visit to the city earlier that fall. The week of Kennedy’s arrival, leaflets circulated in Dallas bearing the president’s photograph and the words “Wanted For Treason.”
But Lee Harvey Oswald was not a right-winger, not a John Bircher, not a segregationist. Instead, he was a Marxist of sorts (albeit one disillusioned by his experiences in Soviet Russia), an activist on behalf of Castro’s Cuba, and a man whose previous plot had been aimed at a far-right ex-general named Edwin Walker. The anti-Kennedy excesses of Texas conservatives were real enough, but the president’s assassin acted on a far more obscure set of motivations.
Nine years after Kennedy was killed, George Wallace embarked on his second campaign for the presidency. This was the early 1970s, the high tide of far-left violence — the era of the Black Panthers, the Weathermen, the Symbionese Liberation Army — and Wallace’s race-baiting politics made him an obvious target for protests. On his final, fateful day of campaigning, he faced a barrage of coins, oranges, rocks and tomatoes, amid shouts of “remember Selma!” and “Hitler for vice president!”
But Arthur Bremer, who shot Wallace that afternoon, paralyzing him from the waist down, had only a tenuous connection to left-wing politics. He didn’t care much about Wallace’s views on race: he just wanted to assassinate somebody (Richard Nixon had been his original target), as “a statement of my manhood for the world to see.”
It’s possible that Jared Lee Loughner, the young man behind Saturday’s rampage in Tucson, will have a more direct connection to partisan politics than an earlier generation’s gunmen did. Indeed, many observers seem to be taking a kind of comfort from that possibility: there’s been a rush to declare this tragedy a teachable moment — an opportunity for people to cool their rhetoric, abandon their anger, and renounce the kind of martial imagery that inspired Sarah Palin’s PAC to place a target over Gabrielle Giffords’s district just months before Loughner gunned down the Arizona congresswoman.
But chances are that Loughner’s motives will prove as irreducibly complex as those of most of his predecessors in assassination. Violence in American politics tends to bubble up from a world that’s far stranger than any Glenn Beck monologue — a murky landscape where worldviews get cobbled together from a host of baroque conspiracy theories, and where the line between ideological extremism and mental illness gets blurry fast.
This is the world that gave us Oswald and Bremer. More recently, it’s given us figures like James W. von Brunn, the neo-Nazi who opened fire at the Holocaust Museum in 2009, and James Lee, who took hostages at the Discovery Channel last summer to express his displeasure over population growth. These are figures better analyzed by novelists than pundits: as Walter Kirn put it Saturday, they’re “self-anointed knights templar of the collective shadow realm, not secular political actors in extremis.”
This won’t stop partisans from making hay out of Saturday’s tragedy, of course. The Democratic operative who was quoted in Politico saying that his party needs “to deftly pin this on the Tea Partiers” was just stating the obvious: after a political season rife with overheated rhetoric from conservative “revolutionaries,” the attempted murder of a Democratic congresswoman is a potential gift to liberalism.
But if overheated rhetoric and martial imagery really led inexorably to murder, then both parties would belong in the dock. (It took conservative bloggers about five minutes to come up with Democratic campaign materials that employed targets and crosshairs against Republican politicians.) When our politicians and media loudmouths act like fools and zealots, they should be held responsible for being fools and zealots. They shouldn’t be held responsible for the darkness that always waits to swallow up the unstable and the lost.
We should remember, too, that there are places where mainstream political movements really are responsible for violence against their rivals. (Last week’s assassination of a Pakistani politician who dared to defend a Christian is a stark reminder of what that sort of world can look like.) Not so in America: From the Republican leadership to the Tea Party grass roots, all of Gabrielle Giffords’s political opponents were united in horror at the weekend’s events. There is no faction in American politics that actually wants its opponents dead.
That may seem like a small blessing, amid so much tragedy and loss. But it is a blessing worth remembering nonetheless.
And then there was this from The Australian reader’s comments.
Frank Bellet, Petrie, Qld
IN a nation where political opponents are declared to be Nazis or communists and major political figures are vilified as conspirators in a plot to bring down the US, reasonable political discourse becomes very difficult.
This sort of angry rhetoric is designed to make the motives of anyone with opposing political views suspect, to imply that they are traitors rather than simply people with another idea of the national interest.
“Paranoia is the most political of mental illnesses. Paranoids need enemies and politics is full of enemies,” said Jerrold Post, director of the Political Psychology program at George Washington University and the author of ‘Political Paranoia’.
So the silliness continues and Orwell is on a binge!