Monday, January 10, 2011

Just shut up?

Those of you who follow us on Facebook, know that the traditional first post of the day is "Bob's Morning Edition  pick," which is Bob Leweke's choice as the do-not-miss  feature of the day. Today, Bob's pick was "Shooting Fallout: Political Rhetoric Takes the Heat ."  At, Corey Dade begins his story begins this way:
The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has raised concerns about the effect of inflammatory language that has become a steady undercurrent in the nation's political culture.
No kidding? You think maybe that might be the case?

Later on in the same article, Corey Dade brings up "The Crosshairs Controversy,"
During the midterm elections, Giffords and other Democratic House candidates were featured on the website of Sarah Palin's political action committee with crosshairs over their districts. Giffords, disturbed at the reference, said at the time, "When people do that, they have got to realize there's consequences to that."
In a Sunday interview with talk radio host Tammy Bruce, Rebecca Mansour, who works for Palin's PAC, said the images of crosshairs weren't intended to evoke violence: "We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights," she said.

The controversial image (which SarahPac took down over the weekend) is shown above. As someone who occasionally target shoots, it seems to me both disingenuous and unhelpful to claim those circles with crosses in the middle have nothing to do with targets and shootings. Isn't denying the obvious yesterday tantamount to squirting gasoline on today's rhetorical flames? I mean, truth still exists, right? Surely, the meaningful question about the above image is not what is it, but what are its consequences.

There have been many, many calls for moderation in our political language over the last 24-hours. However, Fox News seems to be complaining today that . . .
. . . many on the American Left said the horror could be traced to the malign influence of American conservatives; members of the Tea Party; right-wing pundits Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin; and Fox News. 
Among the "many" cited by Fox News (4 in all) was Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who wrote yesterday, "We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.  . . . " And Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a Democrat and friend of Gabrielle Giffords, who, according to the article, "argued that the 'vitriol' of the country's harshly polarized political climate was partly to blame, arguing that unbalanced individuals are uniquely 'susceptible' to vitriol."

Which, you know, just might be the truth. And what's wrong with speaking that, I'd like to know?

Gabrielle Gifford on the way to intensive care
The New York Times today writes in its lead editorial that
Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting Ms. Giffords, killing a federal judge and five other people, and wounding 13 others, appears to be mentally ill. His paranoid Internet ravings about government mind control place him well beyond usual ideological categories.
But he is very much a part of a widespread squall of fear, anger and intolerance that has produced violent threats against scores of politicians and infected the political mainstream with violent imagery. With easy and legal access to semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the parking lot, those already teetering on the edge of sanity can turn a threat into a nightmare.
Okay, okay, enough!

The point I'd like to make is who cares anymore whose fault our poisonous partisan state of affairs is? Hasn't who said what, when, and to whom after yesterday become much less than important. Can't we all just shut up, calm down, and start our political conversation over at a much lower pitch..

And another thing. Jared Lougher seems to have been obviously lurching  toward Sunday's violent murder spree. Why didn't we do something? Were we just too busy talking heated and pointless nonsense to realize that the last thing we needed was to allow Jared Lougher's mental illness to  go untreated, while, at the same time allowing him access to a gun?

Your thoughts?

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