With the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the right-wing apologists are out en masse, attempting to excuse the violent-rhetoric that always seems to flood our public discourse whenever America has a Democratic President.
As they are apt to do when Republican foot-in-mouth disease bites them in the ass, Republicans are positioning themselves as victims of the “lame stream media” rather that using this moment as an opportunity to take a long, hard, look at themselves and the consequences of their behavior.
It’s sad that “the Party of Personal Responsibility” only sticks to that motto when trying to deny children a school lunch program. When it comes to taking “Personal Responsibility” for stoking fear and inciting unbalanced people to commit acts of violence…. FORGET IT!
How are we ever going to face and rectify this problem, which is a threat to our system of government itself, if we put trying not to offend Sarah Palin and her ilk over confronting the toxic environment their violent discourse fosters by excusing their incessant use of militaristic metaphors that act as a dog-whistle call to action for unhinged elements already teetering on the edge.
The truth is what happened to Gabrielle Giffords is the consequence of the inflammatory hate-speech against Democrats conveniently seems to happen when we have a Democratic President.
In an interview with the New York Times Bill Clinton warned of the affect that angry political rhetoric might have on anti-government radicals like Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, pointing to Rep. Michele Bachmann calling the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress “the gangster government” when speaking to a Teabagger rally.
“They are not gangsters,” Clinton told the newspaper. “They were elected. They are not doing anything they were not elected to do.”
Sarah Palin’s “Take ‘em out” … “don’t retreat, reload”… Gifford’s Republican opponent Jesse Kelly advertising a fundraising event that read “get on target” and invited supporters to “help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office” by shooting an M16 with him.
The recent history doesn’t lie. There’s James W. von Brunn, who murdered a security guard at the Holocaust Museum. Joseph Stack, who became a hero in the so-called “patriot movement” after flying an airplane into an IRS building in Austin. And recently, the Ohio militia members who were caught trying to get their hands on bomb-making materials, so they could murder police officers and start a war against the government.
Sharron Angle called for Second Amendment remedies – clearly an incitement to the David Koch funded Teabaggers who, like Timothy McVeigh, branded themselves as strict Constitutionalists despite the fact that they sat silently glued for Fox News for the eight years Bush used our founding documents to wipe his ass.
Ann Coulter once said, “My only regret about Timothy McVeigh is that he didn’t blow up the New York Times Building”… and for years Bill O’Reilly encouraged the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, describing the doctor as “Tiller the Baby Killer” and “a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida.” O’Reilly said, “This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union.”
On June 12, 2007, he said, “Yes, I think we all know what this is. And if the state of Kansas doesn’t stop this man, then anybody who prevents that from happening has blood on their hands as the governor does right now, Governor Sebelius.” True to course, when someone actually murdered Dr. Tiller, O’Reilly and the rest of Rightwingdom went into strict denial mode.
Giffords herself was worried about being put in Palin’s “crosshairs”, saying “We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district, and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action.”
Of course, the “lame stream media” immediately leapt to Palin’s defense. Chuck Todd of MSNBC responded, “In fairness, campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangeable for years… I understand that in the comment it may look bad, but do you really think that’s what she intended?”
Unfortunately for Giffords, she was right and Todd was wrong. Here’s the video… Giffords’ remarks about the hit list are at 2:20:
Then there’s the apologist meme that insists when it comes to political hate-speech and violence, there’s enough blame to go around on both the left and the right. A convenient deflection, but in no way grounded in truth.
Eugene Robinson wrote in the Washington Times: “… for the most part, far-left violence in this country has gone the way of the leisure suit and the AMC Gremlin. An anti-globalization movement, including a few window-smashing anarchists, was gaining traction at one point, but it quickly diminished after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. An environmental group and an animal-rights group have been linked with incidents of arson. Beyond those particulars, it is hard to identify any kind of leftist threat.
By contrast, there has been explosive growth among far-right, militia-type groups that identify themselves as white supremacists, “constitutionalists,” tax protesters and religious soldiers determined to kill people to uphold “Christian” values. Most of the groups that posed a real danger, as the Hutaree allegedly did, have been infiltrated and dismantled by authorities before they could do any damage. But we should never forget that the worst act of domestic terrorism ever committed in this country was authored by a member of the government-hating right wing: Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.
It is dishonest for right-wing commentators to insist on an equivalence that does not exist. The danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one direction—the right, not the left. The vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day—and, quite regularly, at tea party rallies—is calibrated not to inform but to incite.” Read the rest of that article here.
What do right wing demagogues expect when they scream that people’s freedom is in jeopardy and they need to “take their country back” from an “illegitimate” government filled with “traitors” who hate and are “destroying” America?
Still, the pattern is cyclical – right-wingers foment terror that unsurprisingly leads to violence and then the right-wingers step back and deny any connection.
The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, death of Judge John Roll, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, 4 others and the 15 others seriously wounded by Jared Lee Loughner should leave no doubt right wing hate speech has consequences.
Thanks to MediaMatters, here’s a list of other recent incidences of right wing violence:
• Byron Williams set out to kill people at Tides Foundation and ACLU
• MoveOn worker attacked at Rand Paul rally
• White powder and swastikas mailed to Rep. Grijalva
• AZ federal judge threatened, Grijalva office fired on after ruling on AZ immigration law
• Phoenix man indicted for alleged murder threats against U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva and his aides
• Man arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Sen. Patty Murray
• Members of right-wing militia group arrested for allegedly plotting overthrow of the U.S. government
• Man arrested for allegedly making threatening phone calls to Pelosi
• Threats made against Rep. Betsy Markey
• Gas line outside the house of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello was cut
• Threats made against Rep. Stupak after he voted for final version of health care bill
• Picture of a noose faxed to Rep. James Clyburn
• Brick thrown at Democratic county headquarters in Rochester, NY
• Rep. Slaughter threatened with brick and “snipers”
• Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office window shattered
• White powder mailed to Rep. Weiner with “drop dead” message
• Rep. Driehaus threatened and right-wing blogger publishes his home address
• Brick thrown through window of Witchita County Democrats’ offices
• Mike Vanderboegh of Pinson, Ala., former leader of the Alabama Constitutional Militia, put out a call on Friday for modern “Sons of Liberty” to break the windows of Democratic Party offices nationwide
Read more detailed description of each event here.
If there is a comparable list of violent lefties carrying out violence against Republicans, I would like to see it.
Meanwhile, if there are any normal Republicans left mature enough to take responsibility for the violence caused by today’s off-the-rails GOP, it’s time to your party back.
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