Sunday, January 09, 2011

What Tucson says about tea-bagger courage...


Being a liberal, I am aware that words have consequences.

So, people who call themselves conservatives and who are dear to me (there are many) may be hurt or offended or outraged by what I have to say.  And if those people feel that we must be forever estranged hereafter, I say now that I understand and that I will always hold you in my heart,  no matter what happens.

Yesterday, in Tucson, Arizona, a deranged killer opened fire at a meet-and-greet with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, killing Federal judge John Roll and a 9-year-old girl, as well as 4 other people, and wounding 14 others, including the Congresswoman.

This, by any definition, is a terrorist attack.  Nor is it the first such incident that has occurred since President Obama was elected.

While conservatives up here in Portland were all aglow at the idea of publicly roasting this stupid Somali kid that dialed a cell phone, they have next to nothing to say about these incidents:
  • The incident in Austin, Texas, involving a man who, in an apparent fit of despair, flew his small aircraft into an IRS building, killing himself and an IRS employee (who was also a war veteran).

  • The incident, again in Pima County, Arizona, involving a home invasion by members of a "border enforcement" group, where they killed a father and his young daughter.

  • The incident in Washington, DC, wherein a racist extremist penned an anti-government screed, then killed a black security guard at the Holocaust Museum.

  • The incident in Powell, Tennessee, wherein a deranged killer, who wrote a screed of hate toward liberals and homosexuals and Democrats, then drove to the Unitarian Church, and went nuts with a shotgun, killing two people.

  • The incident in Witchita, Kansas, wherein a deranged killer, convinced that he was acting according to God's will, walked into a church and shot dead a medical doctor.

  • The incident, right here in Woodburn, Oregon, where a father and son, who fantasized about killing President Clinton, bombed a bank and killed two police officers.
Now, while our vaunted FBI is busy entrapping a foolish Muslim kid in Corvallis, guys like this Jared Loughner are publishing videos on Youtube and posting stuff on Facebook, ranting bizarre conspiracy theories.

Feel secure? Do you feel secure, tea-bagger?

Your tea-bag champions (and would-be champions) were all about cracking down on Muslims and "illegals."  Will we now hear you crying out to investigate what's out here on the Internet and in the media?  I've seen people advocate violence all over the place.  Want examples?  No problem.
There is much, much more, but let's leave it there.

You can tap-dance around it all you want. But you’re still going to have to face the music.  Watching the news today, one thing is apparent.  The Republican party is scared out of its wits, now that this thing in Tucson has happened.

This is the end for the tea-baggers. The GOP is going to abandon you now. Watch and see.

It's from the heart, people.
But, here's what I really want to say. 

It may well be that this kid down in Arizona, Jared Loughner, is a deranged nut and nothing more.  Or, it may be that there is a conspiracy.

Regardless, if you do not believe that the rhetoric that comes out of tea-bag mouths is vile and inciting, and has contributed to what happened, I can say it no more plainly than this:

You're a god-damned fool.

But there's another possibility.  Perhaps, tea-bagger, you do agree that the over-heated rhetoric has contributed to what happened in Tucson.  In that case, if you do not repudiate the violent rhetoric that comes from Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and others, one must infer that, in the deepest, darkest recesses of your heart, you approve of what happened in Tucson, where the 9-year-old girl was shot dead.  And, inferring further, that means that Jared Loughner has done what you secretly hoped for, but lacked the courage to do yourself.

And that makes you a coward.

(Believe it or not, I say all of this with love in my heart.)

Any comments that are posted which contain only insults will be deleted.  Any hostile comments that do not address specific points in the post will be deleted.

Please forgive me for the self-indulgent nature of this post. 

6 comments:

PapaK said...

As you know, we don't see eye-to-eye on the FBI/Pioneer Courthouse Square matter, but, IMO, beyond a minor quibble about that, you are spot on in this post. I don't see it as an either/or matter. The FBI, and others, should have been worried about the possibilities for such an incident. In fact, some of us have been flinching at every TeaParty rant, wondering when the next act of violence would occur.

I heard this story on the radio at 11:00 AM yesterday, at a time when the reports were saying Rep. Giffords had past. Yes, my heart did skip a beat, and I got angry. However, I was not surprised, and I knew she was a Democrat, even though I didn't know who she was and I also knew that most House members from AZ are Republican. This is the world of US politics created by the thugs who can't win an argument via evidence and logic.

In a world where misinformation can spread quick, while evidence (and the quality of evidence) is frowned upon, it's no wonder such "movements" can occur, and do seem to be spreading.

PapaK said...

I will add a couple of pieces of support:

Jared Lee Loughner: erratic, disturbed and prone to rightwing rants
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/09/jared-lee-loughner-rightwing-rants

"Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old resident of Tucson identified by police as the gunman in Saturday's rampage, left a series of indications revealing the mentally unstable state of his mind and the extreme rightwing causes he supported in the run up to the tragedy.

Just hours before he embarked on the shooting, he posted a message on his MySpace page saying: "Goodbye friends. Dear friends, please don't be mad at me." He also posted a YouTube video of written slides called My Final Thoughts. In it, he wrote: "Jared Loughner is in need of sleep."

In a series of videos, he gave a rambling account of obsessions and paranoias that appeared to be troubling him with increasing intensity up to the catastrophe. They included references to conscious dreaming, or "conscience dreaming" as he called it, a process of directing one's own dreams that he is thought to have practised. Another was a belief in the gold and silver standard of currency – a favourite topic of the rightwing of American politics that is regularly propounded by the Fox News commentator Glenn Beck.

The tone of Loughner's rantings is almost exclusively conservative and anti-government, with echoes of the populist campaigning of the Tea Party movement. "Don't trust the government listener!" he said in one video, accusing Washington of mind control and brainwashing.

..."


The evidence that the rhetoric played a role in this is indisputable. Yet, in a world where evidence has no meaning to so many, that evidence simply gets ignored...

Mr Kurtz, He Dead Wrong
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/01/mr-kurtz-he-dead-wrong.html

Stranger said...

So, Dade, who calls himself a liberal, and who is dear to me, may be hurt or offended or outraged by what I have to say, etc. But it is this: You and Rush (Beck, Savage, etc.) are only about two degrees separated on the circle of possible approaches to political diatribes. I do not personally know one single conservative (and clumping them as "teabaggers is just a political device intended to smear the innocent; I'm ashamed of you for descending to the level of resorting to it; you know better) who does not condemn all of the actions by demented individuals that you list. But why did you limit yourself to listing actions by demented individuals that happened to fall on the conservative side of the spectrum? I don't see any mention of terrorist actions by members of the Earth Liberation Front or PETA. No one was killed in their actions? Sheer luck. How about the Symbionese Liberation Army, Black Panthers, how about Leo Burt, who was one of four people who bombed the University of Wisconsin. There's your innocent death. Why didn't you mention them? It's a rhetorical question. I know why you didn't mention them. For the same reason Rush, Beck, etc., don't mention conservative miscreants. Because it doesn't fit into your mistaken world view. Here's a fact for you to ponder: Evil is not owned by any political point of view. The mentally ill do not subscribe, en masse, to any particular point of view. The shootings in Arizona only say anything about one single solitary person: the shooter. To suggest otherwise is blind arrogant pandering of the type that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck would be proud. I'm tired of hearing it from them, and I hope you will join me in trying to exorcise it from your own writing and speaking.

In brotherly love,
Peter

J L said...

Righteous anger is understandable, but it's no more helpful than what it reflects.
Yeah, I'm pissed and frustrated with the ongoing war of words and its effects, with so many arguments that didn't even need to happen if people - including long-time friends - weren't subjecting themselves to such influences. So, what do you do? Just claim superiority and deepen the chasm?
Of course you can point to examples of extremism, as anyone can, to make your point. Still, your own friends and family don't quite fit those labels; so why use them on people you actually don't know?
Everyone's a political commentator. Enough already. Take it a step forward. Uplift us. Show us something that isn't so obvious - that might give us all some heart.

Ridwan said...

I'm somewhat confused by the comments here.

Particularly the indignation aimed at Dade for expressing his outrage.

It is as if some would rather Dade honor his family and roots than point out that the right has to take responsibility for the acts committed by this white terrorist.

It confuses me even further to pontificate on the mental state of the killer without having anything more than news reports and social media ramblings to go on.

Would this conversation even be happening if this coward was brown/black and came with an Arabic name (or at least an Arabic sounding name)?

I don't remember anyone here raising questions about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's mental health after he murdered 12 innocents at Ft. Hood.

Rather, I remember debates coming out of the right on whether Muslims should be allowed to serve in the military.

I also remember folks immediately calling him a Jihadist and an extremist, among other Islam specific descriptions.

In these contexts it is perhaps better that those laying into Dade for his rightful anger "step back" and ask themselves why they being so defensive.

As is usual with my appearances here on topics of this nature I expect a barrage of anti-Muslim hatred that will be spewed on my blog ... I will not publish them as usual.

Onward! Dade ... you called it right.

Ridwan

Anonymous said...

It's telling that Stranger reaches back to the 1960's and '70s for examples of left wing radicals and violence. That's a different era and a far reach to justify his/her position. The pendulum has swung far to the right since then. Live in the now.

It's a fallacy to label "sheer luck" to those radical left organizations you name. Wikipedia lists close to 90 separate actions by Earth Liberation Front since 1997. PETA marks it's 31st anniversary this year. The more radical Animal Liberation Front began in 1974. Sheer luck has nothing to do with the fact that these organizations and their members haven't killed any people. They've been consistent and deliberate with their property damage targets. (Know that I do not think their end justifies their means.)

Today's rhetoric of violence comes shrilly from right-wing demagogues. Once again they've shown themselves to be cowards who constantly talk hate and "2nd amendment remedies" yet deny their words after the fact and refuse to own the consequences of their free speech.

Be that as it may, I do not think Loughner's attack was political. I think today's culture of hate and violence, that has so thoroughly permeated our media and too much of society, resonated in an insane mind.

The finger pointing blame of both the left and right misses the larger point. A sick man committed a heinous act of violence against innocents. His actions are a symptom of the sickness within our nation.

The heroes who did their best to stop him in that crisis; those who speak out and rise up against this violence, taking action to heal the damage wrought and working to close rifts that have us so terribly divided; these give me hope that healing is possible.