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BACK DOOR BOY IN A FRONT DOOR WORLD
OUTSIDE OF SOCIETY - THAT'S WHERE I WANT TO BE
Thoughts On Building Political Fires & Crying Foul When Someone Gets Burned 
9th-Jan-2011 12:43 pm
Liberal 3 (Stupid)
In light of the murders and attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-Arizona) in Tucson yesterday (shootings of political figures are by definition "political" - that's how the target came to public notice; it is why we say "assassination" rather than plain murder) there is a lot of conversation happening all over about the shooter and his motivations for carrying out his actions. Much is being made of it (as well it should be) and even more disingenuous discussion occurring as a means of justifying and legitimizing. That's to be expected. I'm going to try and level the field here by pointing out what I see as the larger, more cogent points of the various arguments taking place.

The first point I would like to make is that Jared Lee Loughner is responsible for his actions and himself alone. I want to make this clear before I get into the looming issue of those public figures who have contributed to the climate that likely enabled yesterday's events - because those of us paying attention have been saying for years now that this was going to happen - and we have had countless examples, reasons, and a multitude of evidence to back our claims. So while I will not lay the responsibility for yesterday's events at the feet of Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Tom Tancredo, Louis Gomert, Sharron Angle, etc. (the list is long but you get the idea), we absolutely MUST engage in discussions about how relevant fear-mongering is as a means of attempting to get your point across. The issue here is NOT free speech as anyone who knows me knows that I do not believe in or support censorship - it is responsibility for what you say. If I were to suggest to someone that they should take someone out and that person then murders said someone, I am obviously not a murderer - I may not even fairly be described as an accessory to murder - but at the very least, I'm guilty of some pretty duplicitous behavior and that should be held to some standard of accountability. To quote my friend Peter:
"The US Federal court convicted Omar Abdul- Rahman, the blind sheik for inspiring the first World Trade Center bombing.

Omar Abdul- Rahman did not plan, pay for, recruit or carry out the first Worldtrade Center Bombing. He wrote violent, extreme rhetoric that inspired the crime. For his violent and extreme writings that inspired the first World Trade Center bombing Omar Abdul- Rahman was convicted and sent to Federal Supermax prison.

If Omar Abdul- Rahman can go to Federal supermax prison for inspiring the first World Trade Center bombing, then Sarah Palin should go to the same place for inspiring these crimes today."
While I don't believe she should actually be sent to a federal supermax prison, at the very least she should be held to the same standard - as should anyone who engages in such duplicitous rhetoric. My reason is simple: WORDS MEAN THINGS, THEREFORE THEY MATTER.

The second point I want to make is that I, as well as many others, am fed up with these public figures on the right who are consistently and regularly making dangerous, disingenuous, and incendiary statements and are not ever being held accountable for them, but are also being enabled (and sometimes paid millions by networks) to continue doing so. This does not mean being word police up or to the point of telling someone what they CANNOT say, as has been a favorite excuse of those who would voluntarily make irresponsible and/or dangerous statements and then, once called out on this, claim that you're attempting to suppress their First Amendment Rights. I'm not suggesting you cannot say X, Y, or Z - just that perhaps you shouldn't - or better yet, if you do, take responsibility for the consequences that may result as fallout from your rhetoric.

The third point I would like to make is that this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone - there have been several warnings all of which are based on the evidence that something on this scale was looming. Congresswoman Giffords herself has even said as much, after her office was vandalized and she herself threatened after the health care reform list - even pointing out Sarah Palin's propaganda poster listing her as a target in cross hairs. See that interview for yourself here. Let's also consider the town hall meeting she had where a loaded weapon was dropped on the floor.

The fourth and final point I want to make is more difficult to frame, but perhaps what is getting under my skin the most - that is the notion that there is an equal amount of this between both ideologies of left and right, or more to the point the supposition that liberals are as equitable in the blame for inciting dangerous rhetoric as conservatives. BULL-MOTHERFUCKING-SHIT on that, and let me tell you why. Yes, there are extremists on both sides, but those on the left simply DO NOT use the kinds of overt violence inspiring metaphors as is seen on the extremist right. I was told by an acquaintance on Facebook that even President Obama is guilty of using 'violent rhetoric' in the form of 'colorful statements' like the following:
“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”

“argue with [people], get in their faces”

“I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry. I’m angry.”

“I know they are gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this: so am I.”

“If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.”
My personal opinion is that it's an unbelievably big stretch to equate these statements as being on par with those aligned with the extremist conservatism elements of the right and the tea party fringe. Quite frankly, it's lame to even draw a comparison in the name of framing the examples as equal to the following examples in the remainder of this post, and disingenuous to draw comparisons in the first place without acknowledging the validity of claims like the ones I and many others are making and have made all along.

Borrowing from my friend Joe, here's a list of famous right-wingers assassinated by American leftists:
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...


Here's a list of prominent Democrats who have deployed "Second Amendment Solutions" rhetoric against their political adversaries:
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...


Here's a list of mainstream journalists/commentators whose hate speech inspired American leftists to murder someone on the right:
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...


Here's a list of liberals and Democrats who told their supporters "Don't retreat, reload":
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...


Here's a list of liberals and Democrats who use cross hairs graphics as targets in political propaganda posters to make a point:
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...


Here's a list of liberals and Democrats who billed an event by stating "Help remove my opponent from office - Shoot a fully automatic M16 with me":
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...


That last example was one belonging to Tea Party-backed candidate Jesse Kelly, who used his opponent as the example in his plug in the most recent election for Congress - that opponent was Gabby Giffords, who today is fighting for her life after being shot through the head yesterday.

There are no "both sides" in the continually ruthless ginning up of fear mongering and insinuations for calls to violence. It is owned by the extremist ideology of those who cannot win an argument, let alone an election, on merit alone - and that extremism is an exclusive faction of the right wing fanaticism that has gutted the Republican party in this country and even cause those who truly are common sense conservatives to change the way they view their own party affiliation. Leftist extremism is a wholly different animal, and you would be hard pressed to draw fair comparisons.

Until more is known about Jared Lee Loughner it is mere speculation to insist that he is part of the right-wing fringe. I've said this since I started making postings on Facebook while following the news all day yesterday. Should it turn out that his motivations were not aligned with any bent towards right-wing ideology, it wouldn't change the fact that yesterday he was responsible for murdering six innocent people - one of whom was a 9 year old girl born on September 11th, 2001 and part of a book about 9/11 babies and hope for the future, and the would-be assassin of a United States Congresswoman who has spoken out consistently against and previously been victim of extremist right-wing rhetoric and violent action. So once again, while I will not lay his actions at the feet of anyone who didn't pull yesterday's trigger, the separate issue of creating a climate which enables such things to occur MUST be confronted and addressed or we will have learned nothing from tragedy of yesterday. If those who spin the fear and hysteria have nothing to answer for, then their words and actions would stand and there would never be any reason for them to scrub their websites and Twitter feeds and Facebook notes along with comment threads - so when you see that, it's not only fair to call it out - it's necessary. If you're going to go to the trouble of gathering all the wood and stacking it, pouring on copious amounts of fuel, and then dance around striking matches, what you end up with is something called fire. Take some responsibility for the fires you build and don't complain when you get burnt the fuck up, because if you didn't want that to be a potential consequence of building a fire, you should have built something else - but since you went on ahead and built this fire, how about you deal with that shit. You don't get to have it both ways anymore. O-kaaaay?
Comments 
9th-Jan-2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
talk_politics went into melt-down mode over this yesterday after I made a post there.
9th-Jan-2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
I'll bet, and I'll assume that the threads are all chock full of fodder for the same worn out narrative.
9th-Jan-2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
http://community.livejournal.com/talk_politics/850170.html

The poster is a right winger/political conservative who claims he's a libertarian.
9th-Jan-2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
Don't get me started...
9th-Jan-2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
He will whip out two posters from the 2004 election where Democrats had targets on maps for Republicans they wanted to unseat.

To me? They aren't gunsights, they look more like dartboards honestly, and the issues Democrats and Progressives get hot-to-trot about aren't nearly the same. It's a false equivalence.
9th-Jan-2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
Possibly the best written account of the situation. Hope you don't mind, but I'm posting a reference to this blog post on STFUGOP
9th-Jan-2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
Link to your heart's desire.
9th-Jan-2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
I'll be posting later today about this, and if you don't mind, I'd love to link to your post.
9th-Jan-2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
You can always link to me.
(Deleted comment)
9th-Jan-2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
Well said.
10th-Jan-2011 08:45 am (UTC)
Brad I'm just listening to our 'Today' news programme on BBC Radio 4 (which is probably one of the best news programmes we have here in England) and they are agreeing with everything you've said almost word for word, especially the parts about Sarah Palin and the cross-hairs. (That was a 'surveyors' symbol .. yeah, right! I 'surveyed' the sherriff ..') Very good post, considered and thoughtful and articulate as always. Thank you on behalf of rational thinking people.
10th-Jan-2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
But she did not survey the deputy?

And yeah, they're trying to say they're surveying symbols now, but at the time they were definitely intended to be targets. "Remember months ago "bullseye" icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin' incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate;T'aint bad)"

Guess she needs to delete more of her statuses than she thought!
11th-Jan-2011 11:58 am (UTC)
Thank you.
12th-Jan-2011 03:11 am (UTC)
*agree* As I've been summarizing the self-forgiveness for months already:

"I didn't tell them to kill. I just gave them a framework to justify killing. They came to their own conclusions."
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