Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Arizona Massacre, Blogging, Decision '08, Ethics, Government, Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:48 am

Michael Daly writing in the New York Daily News:

Palin would no doubt say that she was only speaking in metaphor, that she only meant her followers should work to unseat Giffords and 19 other Democrats who had roused her ire by voting for health care.

But anyone with any sense at all knows that violent language can incite actual violence, that metaphor can incite murder. At the very least, Palin added to a climate of violence.

Palin should have taken it as a warning of what might happen when a Tea Party hothead dropped a gun while heckling Giffords at an earlier Congress On Your Corner event, more than a year ago.

No doubt Palin is not even bothering to defend her use of metaphors because “figures of speech” are just that; a way to colorfully enhance language to make it more interesting and memorable. If I were to say, “Hang Michael Daly from the highest yardarm!” no one with a rational brain cell in their head would actually believe that I was advocating violence against Mr. Daly - despite the fact that a swift whop to the nose with a rolled up newspaper is in order for his clueless rant about metaphors inciting violence.

Similarly, as Jack Shafer points out, the use of military metaphors in politics is so pervasive as to make any criticism of it both bizarre and hypocritical:

For as long as I’ve been alive, crosshairs and bull’s-eyes have been an accepted part of the graphical lexicon when it comes to political debates. Such “inflammatory” words as targeting, attacking, destroying, blasting, crushing, burying, knee-capping, and others have similarly guided political thought and action. Not once have the use of these images or words tempted me or anybody else I know to kill. I’ve listened to, read—and even written!—vicious attacks on government without reaching for my gun. I’ve even gotten angry, for goodness’ sake, without coming close to assassinating a politician or a judge.

From what I can tell, I’m not an outlier. Only the tiniest handful of people—most of whom are already behind bars, in psychiatric institutions, or on psycho-meds—can be driven to kill by political whispers or shouts. Asking us to forever hold our tongues lest we awake their deeper demons infantilizes and neuters us and makes politicians no safer.

Indeed, at the risk of sounding crass, the only reason this brouhaha erupted was because a nutcase coincidentally got a gun and shot a congresswoman. Otherwise, Sarah Palin’s “bullseye” map had long been forgotten and dropped off the radar of our political conversation.

This begs the question of when Mr. Loughner could have been exposed to the map and why it took him many months to become inspired enough by it to act out his fantasy. Is this a slow motion incitement by metaphor? Why the delayed reaction - even if you accept the preposterous notion that Loughner saw the bullseye map in the first place. Someone on the left might want to explain this to the rest of us before they continue with the “Palin has blood on her hands” meme. Where did Loughner see the bullseye map? When? How could a mind without logic or reason, logically process the bullseye map - as in the suggestion of cause and effect being posited by many liberals - and become inspired to kill?

If you’ve read Loughner’s YouTube blather and incoherent ranting, you wonder if any such logical assumption can be made:

If I teach a mentally capable 8 year old for 20 consecutive minutes to replace an alphabet letter with a new letterand pronunciation then the mentally capable 8 year old writes and pronounces the new letter and pronunciation that’s replacing an alphabet letter in 20 consecutive minutes.

I teach a mentally capable 8 year old for 20 consecutive minutes to replace an alphabet letter with a new letter and pronunciation.

Thus, the mentally capable 8 year old writes and pronounces the new letter and pronunciation that replaces an alphabet letter in 20 consecutive minutes.

Every human who’s mentally capable is always able to be treasurer of their new currency.

If you create one new currency then you’re able to create a second new currency.

If you’re able to create second new currency then you’re able to create third new currency.

You create one new currency.

Thus, you’re able to create a third currency.

You’re a treasurer for a new currency, listener?

You create and distribute your new currency, listener?

There’s more, but if you believe that this tragically broken mind can process information the same way that you or I do then you’re as illogical as Loughner.

Note also that much of the narrative about this incident being caused by conservatives using violent language, threats, and metaphors was formed within a couple of hours of the shooting. In other words, before anything was known about the killer - even his name - the meme had been set, the narrative formed, the smears unleashed despite the fact that motive, state of mind, or even the political affiliation of the killer was published.

This appears to be another case of liberals not letting a crisis go to waste. Already, there has been a move to introduce gun control legislation in Congress. If someone can show me how this tragedy could have been prevented unless guns were banned entirely, I would love to see that fantasy.

And as a sign of the times, Democrats are already using the tragedy to raise money. On the linked page, right next to the letter asking Democrats to send well wishes to Rep. Giffords, is a great, big blue button encouraging people to donate. That link appears in an mass emailing sent by “21st Century Democrats” with this partisan appeal:

We also know that Sarah Palin and Rep. Giffords’ opponent used violent imagery last year urging her opponents to “target” her. Last spring, after she voted to expand health insurance coverage to working families and cut drug costs for senior citizens her office was violently attacked.

Members of 21st Century Democrats helped elect Rep. Giffords in 2006 and re-elect her 2010 because she wasn’t afraid to fight for working people — or listen to them at the neighborhood supermarket. She voted for health care; Wall Street reform, job creation, and much more.

She stood with us — and we need to stand with her in her toughest hours.

Makes you want to pull out your hanky, doesn’t it? Oh, and while you have your hand in your pocket, could you also take out your checkbook and give generously?

You really can’t blame them. They are only following the dictum about not letting a crisis go to waste - perfected by Rahm Emanuel and his boss, the President of the United States, who himself, once used a very colorful metaphor in giving advice to his supporters about how to “debate” the opposition:

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said in Philadelphia last night. “Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.

Politics is not tiddlywinks. It is a full contact sport that oftentimes makes the MMA look like a tea party (metaphor deliberate). Efforts to curb “violent metaphors” - a matter of opinion with which reasonable, rational people recognize as accepted speech - is really about curbing speech by the opposition. Liberals don’t expect anyone to take their violent metaphors seriously when they use them. Only the tragic coincidence of a shooting spree by an individual whose reason has abandoned him has given the left a blatantly political opening of which they have shamelessly and to their great discredit, cynically taken advantage.

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