Notes From the Revolution: Politics, current events, failures of the mainstream news media and Living in the Age of Stupidity.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
In the wake of Arizona, how two wrongs might kill the right
Conservatives as usual continue to miss the point over the debate on their violent rhetoric as a result of the Arizona shootings.
It's irrelevant that Jared Loughner's shooting rampage in Arizona had no direct connection to any of the violence rhetoric that has been the hallmark of conservative politics for the last two years. It makes no difference ( though we will probably never know) if Sharon Angle's "2nd amendment solution", or Palin's " don't retreat, reload", or the shooting of the offices of Democratic members of congress over healthcare or Palin's cross hairs map in any way influenced or put ideas in Loughner's mind, though it's hard to believe that if he was exposed to it, given his already deranged mind, that it wouldn't have had an influence.We will probably never know.
But what the shooting has done, and which the right has been oblivious to, is it has created an increased national revulsion to their customary rhetoric, imagery and tactics. At the same time it has created an opportunity to bring the right wing's penchant for violent brownshirt rhetoric disguised as patriotism to the forefront and possibly bring it to and end. But instead the right, from Palin to Limbaugh have been ready to fight to defend it. The rhetoric and imagery was their first wrong. But what might actually kill them ( does anyone have a problem with that metaphor) is their second wrong -- their attempts now at trying to defending it.
For 15 months, specifically over, of all things, healthcare, the right wing has employed violent rhetoric, violent imagery and in some cases violent tactics to try and get their way. The violent tactics have been designed to do one thing -- intimidate those who disagree with them. That is fascim in its rawest form.
They showed up at town hall meetings and Tea party rallies with signs comparing Democrats who supported the public option to Nazis. And they showed up with guns strapped to their hips. Sarah Palin, now on the defensive, rallied conservatives with the slogan "don't retreat, reload" and put the cross hairs of a telescopic site next to the names of Democrats in congress she wanted to get rid of including Gabriella Giffords. Does it matter if Loughner's actions had nothing directly to do with Palin? No. In fact if they found a trove of writings by Loughner saying he was motivated by Palin he would just seem even crazier than he is now. As is anyone motivated by Palin. But that doesn't get Palin, or Sharon Angle and her "2nd amendment remedy" or Michelle Bachman's lunatic fringe comments or those of Limbaugh, Beck and others off the hook.
The reason people are talking about them and their penchant for ratcheting up violent imagery is because conservative use of intimidation and the threat of force against those who disagree with them is right out of the fascist handbook. The Loughner shooting,while it may not be directly connected to conservative tactics, has become an instant metaphor for them. And that is why its become the big issue that it should have been a year ago.
We can certainly lay some blame on Obama for not using his position as president to stand up to it condemn it, make it an issue, and rally public opinion against it. There is the outside chance that if he had, if the Democrats made that a campaign issue and asked Americans to vote on that issue, there may have been a slightly different outcome in the last election. Certainly it would have motivated a lot of Democrats and liberals who stayed home because of their disgust with Obama and his constant capitulation to the right, to cast their vote for something they believed in and supported.
What the right is gambling on now though is that they can retain the support of a majority by saying they have nothing to apologize for, that their violent imagery and the violent tactics had no connection to the Arizona shooting and therefore is perfectly ok. What they are not realizing is that because of the shooting, their tactics,have come back to haunt them. Their chickens have come home to roost, and in trying to defend themselves they are running the real risk of alienating the vast majority of the American people who will have no patience for those tactics now and in the future. Especially if the Democrats ignore those who will accuse them of "trying to politicize" what is clearly a political issue and continue to attack them and their bizarre attempts at political self defense.