Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Myth That Political Rhetoric Is Harmless

Sarah Palin opines, in her most recent video from an undisclosed location,
There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently.
I like the part about "apparently apolitical," which must have been inserted to give her some wiggle room in case inconvenient facts emerge about what influenced the shooter's actions. Even so, she apparently didn't notice that the gunman specifically targeted a politician who just happened to be a Democratic congresswoman in the middle of performing her congressional duties. Since the accused had purchased his gun over a month ago, and no doubt ran across many other people in the time between November 30, 2010 and January 8, 2011, it's reasonable to assume his first target was carefully chosen precisely because she was political.  Nice try, Sarah.

Mrs. Palin goes on to dissemble,
We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.
Let's face it, nobody I know conflates 'taking up arms' with voting. And if there should be any doubt about the meaning of "Don't retreat, instead RELOAD"—the words she used in her Tweet to point to the now-infamous crosshairs map— may I present this image brought to you by "Second Amendment Task Force:"

I don't think about voting when I see this...

Mrs. Palin's overarching concerns in this incompetently-timed and self-obsessed video are (1) for her own potential culpability in the massacre and then (2) for any dampers that may be placed on her free speech as a result of the tragedy. To mitigate the first concern, she rigorously insists that any fault must lie clearly, and only, on the perpetrator—accountability, personal responsibility, and all that. Unfortunately, she is entirely unpracticed in this herself.

To stave off the second concern, she turns to her oft-used attack mode:

No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.
Who is she talking about here, though, "those who embrace evil and call it good?" Is she calling me evil because I am blogging for cooling down the rhetoric?  Who is so intolerant that they would seek to "muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults?"  The catchphrases and Facebook rants and hostile imagery linked to self-righteous Sarah are real, not imagined. The very language she uses against her perceived opponents here is exceedingly hostile and supercilious.

Can't someone hand her a mirror and make her really see?

That paragraph above is quintessential Sarah Palin. I can think of several occasions where she has shrilly decried imagined insults, and several more where she along with members of her adoring flock have tried to deter others from speaking out about her; they cry foul and assist her in playing the victim.  I can think of only a few people, none of whom are ever mentioned as a candidate for the U.S. presidency, who are as intolerant of those holding a different opinion than the once-upon-a-time-governor-who-quit has proven to be.

Mrs. Palin's very good buddy Glenn Beck is on the record for inciting unhinged people to do violent things. David Brock's "A Message to Sarah Palin" is a superb accounting of Beck's accountability thanks to his hate-filled rhetoric. Daily radio show or not, Mrs. Palin is in the same camp and of the same ilk as Beck.  She still "stands with" him.

It is little wonder that she did her self-serving causes no good with the January 12, 2011 "blood libel" poor-me video. Now, if she would just quietly slink off to a remote desert cabin and stay there for a very, very long time.  She is welcome to shout her inanities at the top of her lungs as long as only lizards and cactii can hear it.
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