The savagery in political rhetoric that's incubated this violence, brought to us by right-wing media's talking heads, politicians, and their Teabagger hordes, has been conveniently dismissed by too many. I can understand the Republicans' desperation to have everyone pay no mind to their elephant rampaging in our room.
But progressives too?? This is just the kind of collective denial all but guaranteeing more of the same savage status quo spawning the kind of violence and oppression that makes the rest of the civilized world roll their eyes at this country.
Writer Patrick Martin bluntly sums up the problem.
All the cop out explanations from the other side, writes Martin, exposes "the political cowardice of the entire Democratic Party and liberal media establishment. They want to avoid any comprehensive exposure of a process that has been under way for more than three decades in American politics: the integration of the Republican Party with elements of an ultra-right and semi-fascist character....and hostility to democratic rights.
These right-wing elements exercise a degree of influence in American political life out of all proportion to their actual support in the population, because it serves the interests of the financial oligarchy to build them up as a means of shifting politics ever more to the right.....the Democratic Party is complicit in this process, even when the latest phase in this process―the media promotion of the Tea Party―culminates in direct violence against a Democratic Party officeholder."
The Huffington Post reported the interference being run by Sarah Palin minion Rebecca Mansour, easily the most absurd of all the fairy tales offered to explain away the ideologue burners they keep cranking up, throwing just enough itch in the trigger fingers of the fringe of their fringe crowd.
""We never, ever intended it to be gun sights" she said in an interview with talk radio host Tammy Bruce Saturday. "It was simply cross hairs like you'd see on maps." Bruce suggested that they could, in fact, be seen as "surveyor's symbols." Mansour added that "it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent" and called any attempts to politicize the Arizona tragedy "repulsive."
No, Rebecca, of course not. How could ANYBODY on earth look at that "SarahPAC" map and possibly mistake that "surveyor's symbol" smack on top of Democrat Gabrielle Giffords's district as a gun sight?? Nonsense. What an utterly repulsive thought indeed and, yes, insulting to the integrity of conceivably the next president of these disunited states!
Of course, it wouldn't be fair to just pick on the Mama Grizzly. No, with as much star power as Palin might have, she needs to share credit where credit is due. So many, many thank yous to dole out. I believe one of the most inspiring of our great media patriots is someone, albeit with a rather savage reputation, that would instantly fire up the kind of smile we see on Assassin Jared "Uncle Fester" Loughner's face.
Yes, there's Limbaugh and there's Beck, and O'Reilly, Hannity, Coulter and so many more. But none could really stoke a lunatic's smoldering heat into flame throwing (and bullets flying) mode quite like the inimitable network-provided voice of The Savage Nation.
Think Loughner ever had a "Michael Savage" bumper sticker on his car? Some people actually do. It's chilling to know that people listen faithfully to such a brutal, hate spewing monster, day after day after day. But this savage is only slightly less refined--like opium is to morphine--than the raving reactionary demagogues offered up on the ratings rich Fox News Network.
Yeah, these "compassionate conservatives" have bounded about like piranha caught in a barrel, chomping away with every damn evasion under the sun. It's just not fair, not the least bit logical, to assume their endless river of hate propaganda would ever nurture today's toxic, murderous political landscape.
Comedian/Commentator Bill Maher provides insight gutting these ridiculous, fishy arguments like few others can.
But even more powerful is a commentary by Truthout.org writer William Rivers Pitt, offering an appropriate measure of outrage at our right-wing riff raff. In this sad week where we'll all watch the funerals of victims that include someone's nine year-old daughter, Pitt's impassioned words fit.
Let them stick to the accountable until the day that they die. Hopefully, it won't be by the hand of a riled up political assassin.
To: Palin-lovers, Fox News" the "mainstream" media, and the Far Right, et al.
From: William Rivers Pitt
Date: Monday 10 January 2011
Re: The blood on your hands
At the time of this writing, Rep. Giffords is lying in a hospital bed in critical condition. The God you Bible-spewing frauds love to flog the rest of us with must have been in that supermarket crowd with her on Saturday, with His hand on her shoulder, because it is nothing short of a full-fledged miracle she survived at all. Doctors are actually cautiously optimistic that she will survive, though the degree to which she will ultimately recover is still sorely in doubt.
She can respond to simple commands, according to her doctors, and is marginally able to communicate. If she survives her wound, it is wretchedly certain her life will never, ever be the same.
I just thought you should know a few things about the people you helped into their graves and hospital beds this weekend.
You false patriots who bring assault rifles to political rallies, you hack politicians and media personalities who lied through your stinking teeth about "death panels" and "Obama is coming for your guns" and "He isn't a citizen" and "He's a secret Muslim" and "Sharia Law is coming to America," you who spread this bastard gospel and you who swallowed it whole, I am talking to you, because this was your doing just as surely as it was the doing of the deranged damned soul who pulled the trigger. The poison you injected into our culture is deeply culpable for this carnage.
You who worship Jesus at the top of your lungs (in defiance of Christ's own teachings on the matter of worship, by the way) helped put several churchgoers into their graves and into the hospital. You who shriek about the sanctity of marriage helped cut down a man who was about to be married. You who crow with ceaseless abandon about military service and the nobility of our fighting forces helped to critically wound the wife of a Naval aviator who fought for you in a war. You who hold September 11 as your sword and shield helped put a little girl born on that day into the ground.
You helped. Yes, damn you, you helped.
The "mainstream" media is already working overtime playing up the "Disturbed loner" angle with all their might. There is no doubt, from the available evidence, of Mr. Loughner's transformation into a disturbed individual. But here's the funny part: all the crazy crap he spewed, about the gold standard (a favorite of Glenn Beck, the master of Fox "News" fearmongering...so he can sell his gold scam to suckers) and government mind control and everything else before going on his rampage, is straight out of the Right-Wing Insanity Handbook. His personal YouTube ramblings were a mishmash of right-wing anti-government nonsense...the kind that attracts sick minds like Loughner, the kind that only reinforces their paranoia, the kind that finally pushes them over the brink and into the frenzy of violence that took place on Saturday.
The kind that the likes of you have been happily spreading by the day. He did not act alone. You were right there with him. You helped.
I'm talking to you, "mainstream" media people, who created this atmosphere of desperate rage and total paranoia out of whole cloth because of your unstoppable adoration for spectacle, and ratings, and because the companies that own your sorry asses agree with the deranged cretins you helped make so famous and powerful. It was sickeningly amusing on Sunday to watch Wolf Blitzer bluster and bluff on CNN about how the media owns no responsibility for this disaster. It was like watching a ten-year-old try to explain how a lamp got broken while he was running through the living room, but no, it wasn't him. It was, in reality, a pathetic display...but that is what you generally get whenever Wolf is on your screen.
"Mainstream" news personalities like David Gergen and John King bent over backwards warning people not to blame Sarah Palin and her ilk for this calamity. It was a sick man who did this, they said. Bollocks to that. I hate to break this to the "mainstream" media know-betters, but words matter. When people like Palin spray the airwaves with calls to violence and incantations of imminent doom, people like Loughner are listening, and prepared to act. The "mainstream" media lets it fly without any questions or rebuttal, because it's good for ratings, and here we are. Words matter. Play Russian Roulette long enough, and someone inevitably winds up dead.
Remember the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and the subsequent occupation? "WMD everywhere, al Qaeda connections to 9/11, plastic sheeting and duct tape because we're all gonna die!" was the central theme of the majority of your broadcast schedule for years...until it was all proven to be a lie. You helped the liars, you were the liars, but you knew that. You also got your spectacle, and the corporations that own you got paid a king's ransom, so everyone was happy, except the dead.
Tell me this is any different, I dare you. For the spectacle, the ratings and the pleasure of your owners, you ran names like "Sarah Palin" across the sky in lights, even after she should have faded into well-deserved obscurity, and helped this blister of right-wing rage fester until it finally burst. This was your show, and in perhaps the most wretched irony of all, I would bet all my worldly possessions that your ratings are through the roof right now. You got what you wanted. I hope you are pleased.
And yes, I'm talking to you, Sarah Palin, you unutterably disgusting fraud. You pulled it off your ridiculous website, but it's out there: you put cross-hairs - literally, cross-hairs - on Rep. Giffords, you blithered about "reloading" instead of "retreating," and you made this country more stupid and violent with every breath you took. Well, congratulations, you failure, you quitter, you inciter of mobs. You put the cross-hairs on her, and someone finally pulled the trigger. Run from it all you like, Lady MacBeth, but this blood will never be washed from your hands.
I'm talking to you, Sharron Angle, you walking punch-line, who talked about "Second Amendment remedies" being necessary if you didn't get your way on health care reform during your failed Senate campaign.
I'm talking to you, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly, and Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, and to every other right-wing tripe-spewing blowhard blogger and Fox News broadcaster.
I'm talking to you, Koch Brothers. Your money to create and spread this disease was well-spent; you now have one less Democrat in the House to worry about, at least for the foreseeable future.
Congratulations, you un-American sacks of filth.
And I'm talking to each and every one of you who listened to these traitors and believed the nonsense they spewed at you for no other reason than to pick your pockets for campaign/organization contributions. I'm talking to you who wore your silly fatigues and carried your badly-spelled fact-deprived signs to protests with pistols on your hips and rifles on your shoulders. You who threw bricks through the windows of politicians you disagreed with. You who shot out the windows of Rep. Giffords' office not even a year ago.
You worked very hard to create exactly this atmosphere in America, and now it has come to be. We have entered the age of the Wrath of Fools, and we now must again exist in an America where the word "assassination" has become all too relevant.
You helped this happen. You.
You know it. I know it. Have the guts to admit it, even if only to yourselves.
I know many Republicans and conservatives, and consider them to be dear friends. The single most influential person in my life (aside from my mother) was a rock-ribbed conservative Republican, and there is no person I respected more than him. I do not count these people, and those like them, among those whom I address here. They are as sickened and repulsed by you as I am.
This is not the end of the story, but is just the beginning. The good people of the United States of America, the true patriots, have finally seen you with your media-painted masks ripped off. They have seen what comes to pass when hate, venom, ignorance and violence goes unchecked and unanswered. You have been exposed, and the fact that it took such an unimaginably horrific act for that exposure to take place only increases the fierceness with which you will be answered. You will be repudiated, not with violence, but with the scorn and rejection you so richly deserve. Spin it as you will, scramble all you like. You are found out, and you have nowhere to hide.
Oh, P.S., if anyone reading this is operating under the delusion that the overheated right-wing rhetoric that went a long way towards almost getting Rep. Giffords killed, and had a strong hand in putting six people in the ground, is some sort of new Obama-era phenomenon, well...
"I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."- Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95
"Get rid of the guy. Impeach him, censure him, assassinate him."- Rep. James Hansen (R-UT), talking about President Clinton
"We're going to keep building the party until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."- Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), Mother Jones, 08-95
"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."- Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02
"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."- Ann Coulter, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, 02-26-02
"Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past - I'm not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble - recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin's penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an 'enemy of the people.' The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, 'clan liability.' In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished 'to the ninth degree': that is, everyone in the offender's own generation would be killed and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed."- John Derbyshire, National Review, 02-15-01
I could go on, and on, and on, and on, but you get the gist.
Most Disrespectfully Yours,
William Rivers Pitt
Christina, Dorothy, John,
Phyllis, Dorwin, and Gabe.
REST IN PEACE