The subject of the tragedy in Tucson has perhaps been talked to death on the major networks, but having watched the give and take on both sides of the political spectrum, as well as those who preach moderation, it's my view regarding Sarah Palin and her ilk, that they doth protest too much.
I'll let slide Sarah Palin's use of anti-Semitic terms such as "blood libel" in her desperate attempt to cast aside aspersions to her integrity, because I honestly don't believe she has the intellectual depth to have vetted the phrase from a speech clearly written by one of her staffers. However, I do take issue with feeble offensives by her and Rush Limbaugh, Fox News' Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and other hate spewing commentators on the right in their bid to retaliate in a "You talkin' to me?" stance, hoping it will ricochet the charges back to liberal enemies Keith Olbermann on MSNBC and Anderson Cooper on CNN.
Let's face facts. Whether Sarah Palin and her minions really intend for violence to result from their rhetoric is not the issue. There's been enough craziness in our lives over the last few decades -- really since the Kennedy assassination -- that a truly smart and sensitive person who terms him or herself a leader, in government or in the broadcast media, newspaper or magazines, ought to know words are powerful and shouldn't in any way provide suggestions to an unbalanced person to take what they say literally.
When Palin talks about "reloading" and puts rifle cross hairs next to the names of officials like Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whom she wants to defeat, how can she not take responsibility when a nut case thinks she's serious? If she'd used terms like, "Let's get energized" or "Let's defeat those liberal rascals," it would serve the same purpose -- at least what she's now saying was the purpose -- which was to defeat Democrats and elect Republicans of her mindset. But of course she didn't.
When Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck support the NRA and castigate opponents as those who want to kill our democracy by taking guns away from law-abiding Americans, they support a culture in our society that invites the lunatics to become empowered. What good does it serve to put guns so easily in the hands of people? Does an American's right to pretend that with such a weapon citizens are merely defending their homes trump the horrific havoc that continues to be wrought?
With all the terrorism happening in our country and around the world, isn't most of it coming from the right? It seems that way to me, whether it's the Oklahoma City bomber and people in Aryan Nation militia organizations who hate Blacks, Jews and everything not White and Protestant, or extreme Muslims so fixed in their minds about how life should be that they won't tolerate any dissonance, and convince brainwashed young people to perpetrate their madness.
It's the Radical Right who get so enraged about civil liberties or the betterment of our social culture for things like health care and the environment, and filled with anger they rant and rave. It is a politics of negativism, because what are they really for except themselves? On economic levels that would be okay, because it's an issue about which we might disagree. Taxation. How much should our government spend?
But Palin and her group don't intellectualize, they disparage while preaching to the ignorant and have so little to contribute except to incite the mob instinct in those who are hurting through loss of a job, and inflame them and make them fearful of accepting lifestyles of people who are different. People who want to live equally in society, and in the process don't hurt others. What's amazing is how our Entertainment Tonight, Reality TV mentality has allowed someone with so few substantive qualities like Palin to emerge from relative obscurity and become embraced by a large following.
But, as she is on the scene, she should be taken to task for participating in hate/fear-mongering forums, which attract the sort of people like Jared Loughner. People who do heinous things. Palin can't just say, "I didn't mean it to happen." "I was talking metaphorically." Bull. Reload refers to weapons. Cross hairs are where you point the bullets. She may not be legally culpable for what specifically occurred in Tucson, but she is definitely a major part of the problem.
Thank goodness her former constituents in Alaska thought so much of her they ignored her personally endorsed candidate for the U.S. Senate, Joe Miller and went through an unwieldy process to write in Lisa Murkowski's name and secure at least one more Senate seat for a voice of reason.
Michael Russnow's website is ramproductionsinternational.com