With the recent shooting/assassination attempt a lot of vitriol is being spewed back and forth in the news trying to villify republicans and democrats and blame them for what happened. And what I think is despicable about this is not that we should ignore underlying issues, but rather that it is being done in a partisan way, as if all democrats or all republicans are evil depending on which party the shooter was registered with. It is very important to address the issue of violent and extreme rhetoric which, with the exception of extreme remarks about bush (who to be fair did technically commit war crimes and use war to make money for his friends ie war profiteering, among various other controversial things generally thought of as immoral), there really isn’t a lot of that from the mainstream left, though you can always find nutballs on the internet.
There are many examples of violent rhetoric coming from the right (and many just from the new “tea party” candidates who liken their elections to a violent revolution with extremely high stakes). Here are some highlights:
“I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.”
– Sharon Angle, tea party candidate suggesting someone murder her opponent.
”Our nation was founded on violence. The option is on the table. I don’t think that we should ever remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms.”
– Tea Party candidate Stephen Broden
”I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. … No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out.”
– Glenn Beck, (who went on to have the most popular “news” show in the US) May 17, 2005
”My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”
– Ann Coulter
Normally these people would be peripheral, but they aren’t just in the mainstream of the party, they pretty much are the mainstream of the party. Republicans do something else which is very dangerous and can lead to violence, not actually suggesting violent action but trying very hard to effectively convince people that things are true which, if they were true, would actually justify violence. If a candidate is a bad candidate I’ll vote against them – but if I become convinced that they’re trying to pull the plug on grandma against her will and deny healthcare to kids with down syndrome because they’re not “productive” enough, and make us a communist dictatorship because their political heroes are hitler and stalin and obama isn’t a US citizen and he’s not a legitimate official and he’s dissolving the constitution for kicks, I might conjure some violent solutions even if they don’t point me in that direction, which they often do.
Now I’m not saying republicans are all evil – just most of the ones in washington : P
But seriously, I think it is vile to use this attack in a partisan fashion to villlify people who haven’t said these outrageous things, but I have no problem with it being used to tell the people making these actual statements to tone it the fuck down. And if the next time sarah palin or rush limbaugh want to make some crazy shit up, if it occurs to them for two seconds what some nutball might do if they believe it and it makes them think twice – then good.