Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Arizona, and language....and a quote of the day

George Packer, in the New Yorker:
Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.

And yet plenty of people who ought to know better are making just that argument, with a heat that suggests they protest too much....

My post stated at the top that no one but the shooter is responsible for the massacre. But other people, far from the Tucson Safeway, are responsible for pushing language, thought, and feeling to an extreme where political violence begins to seem legitimate.....

As David Frum wrote yesterday: “This talk did not cause this crime. But this crime should summon us to some reflection on this talk. Better: This crime should summon us to a quiet collective resolution to cease this kind of talk and to cease to indulge those who engage in it.” That was the point of my post, and it’s remarkable that Frum seems to be the only conservative who’s had the courage to say anything like it (other than one Republican senator, who, not so courageously, requested anonymity).
I think the anonymous conservative senator is one of the scariest things I've heard. A US Senator is AFRAID to state an opinion that "reflection is necessary". As Steve Benen notes
We've reached the point at which a GOP senator wants to say that "tone matters," but can't quite bring himself/herself to say so on the record.

That, it seems to me, is about as significant as the sentiment itself.
Presumably Senator Anonymous is concerned that other Republicans will attack HIM, like a pack of hyenas, if he actually behaves as a statesman rather than a gutter fighter.

Meanwhile it continues. Rush Limbaugh says,
They're shutting down any opposition and criminalizing it. They've had a plan filed away in a drawer to take away as many of our political freedoms as they can. The Democrats just lost an election, and now the only other thing they can try to do is silence the opposition."
and GLen Beck thinks someone will try to assassinate Sarah Palin, telling her an "attempt on you could bring the Republic down."

That sound is my head spinning.


JCF said...

I join you mid-spin (i.e., we're being spun!)

dr.primrose said...

It must be awful for Rush to realize that people want to take away his supposed political freedom to assasinate congressional representatives.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The intellectual and emotional Climate of any Society needs to be cared for by all - or else...