The tragedy on Saturday effected me in a way that seems to be fundamentally different then it's effected my friends on the other side of the isle. I've gone from 911 shocked, to confused and angry, and finally settled on depressed and hopeless. I've gotten all pissed off and emotional because I've read the same classic deflective talking points to just discussing the vitriolic dialog so casually used these days.
There has been the same dismissal of rational thought and factual evidence with this tragedy as there is for any political debate (as if this qualified) with one difference. People are actually being physically assaulted and assassinated. The fact that the violence is overwhelmingly being perpetrated onto one side, seems to be treated as irrelevant. But, somehow Palin (and i guess her followers) do believe that pointing out the existence of a political toxic atmosphere itself causes violence.
How can you argue that words don't lead to violence and then argue in the next breath but, actually, "yours" might.
When we first heard of the tragic events on Saturday, I (and other liberal wonks) considered this an attack on OUR system. That politics had gotten so bad (as many of us have been worrying/warning about) that people are just starting to shoot, like in the 60s. Even though I never worked with Gifford or her staff I have colleagues who have and professional politico's go to these kinds of events all the time. This was a shocking moment that even though we had all been warning about it and intellectually knew it might happen it still shocked the senses. I have many friends in the military and I've not had one of them even get wounded in the wars these past 10 years. This immediately made me think of every event I've been to as a terrorist target and kind of freaked me out.
But the initial irrational fear and senseless tragedy is no longer the worst part. The worst part about all this for me, is that I fear our national discourse has just gone past the point of no return. We have picked our sides and their is no turning back. I have not spoken to ONE conservative who felt the same disconnected fear and helplessness many of us felt. I fundamentally didn't understand until I had a really cynical thought. That they know (maybe just subconsciously) the increased violence does not really threaten them. Sadly that might be the only thing the "left' and the "right" can seem to agree on.
I may use insults and hyperbolic rhetoric but, I don't threaten or insinuate political violence and I don't own the means to follow through on such 2nd amendment threats if I did. Secondly, my political philosophy is not based on thwarting others from "creating a tyrannical dictatorship that is eventually going to destroy everything i hold dear." When every issue boils down to that (be it, Global warming, Education, gun control, tax policy, health care, etc. etc... ) what is the next logical step?
Violent revolution against tyranny is not a Hypothetical scenario. This is not a movie, it is real life. When people do the things they CLAIM we are trying to do. Like kill Grand'ma, steal the hard working earnings of struggling families, force conservatives into concentration camps, pointless Baby killings, brainwashing children, the black panthers are stealing your elections etc etc... Then something should be done!!!! What kind of hypocritical cowards would you have to be to NOT try and take action to stop "them"?
Maybe its unfair to think that "liberals" who occasionally use war terminology to advocate extending life saving treatments to people is less terrorizing then a self described "movement" constantly using war rhetoric to defend their right to forcefully confront a democratic government they happen to disagree with. You might think it is equatable, but i just don't.
After these past few days, I've come to the conclusion that the problem really isn't the "rhetoric" it's the LIES that are perpetuated and exaggerated to the point where the "hyperbolic rhetoric and symbolism" seems like reasonable responses. Now am I claiming that every conservative believes ALL this stuff to the point where all (or even a large chunk) are going to rise up in revolt? Of course not, the vast majority of human beings can believe (or not believe, wouldn't dare to claim I actually understand how others think) there is huge injustice all around them and continue to go about their day. Again... it happens all the time all over the planet.
But a few people (not normal people) think themselves and their 4 friends on the internet are special and are going to start a movement. Or just make a stand!
And of course, predicting ALL of this was the DHS memo pointing to all the rhetoric before all these other attacks happened in 2008! But DHS (that bastion of liberal thinking) was just making it up to piss off right wingers?...
THIS IS JUST INSANITY... that was just a quick list of examples i came up with, off the top of my head.
It's like conservatives have just convinced themselves that there were similar instances (and in the same abundance) during the Bush admin.
Hell I remember a story about 2 Bush protesters getting ARRESTED!! for having a shirt with a circle and cross over bush's NAME!!!
Seriously try this little test, Just google.
"bush protesters get arrested"
"obama protesters get arrested"
Randomly read some of the articles and tell me if you think their is NO difference between the cases.
Basically, I have a few calm reasonable questions that have not been answered sense this went from national tragedy to liberal plot to destroy America.
Explain to me how this position makes any sense?
"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them,... journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."
Why is symbolic rhetoric an evil meaningful warning when its against "THEM" but it's ridiculous pointing fingers when the situation is reversed.
Is it really NOT "HYPOCRISY" for Glen Beck to use symbolic BS (NASA muslim symbol, NEA projects, NAZI health care signs) as "evidence" of "our" evil determination to destroy this country. Yet deny OUT OF HAND (without even a discussion of the possibility) the violence in the past 2 years could be CONSIDERED incited by their outright "2nd amendment" THREATS AND idiotic interpretations of what you CLAIM IS evil muslim/NAZI/COMMIE symbology!?? - really its not? seriously.. i'd like someone... anyone to explain that to me.
But like I said in the beginning this is just depressing. I'm sure I will not receive an actual cohesive answer to my questions and when this happens again we will all have to pretend we are shocked and confused, just like we have to act shocked when every year gas prices rise, and every year the weather gets more extreme, and every year our school systems fail more children etc. etc. simply to live in peace with our neighbors.
I know there is a word for Violence and threats of it, that support political goals, but in my terrorized state it just wont come to me.