This post was scheduled to appear here a few days ago, but fortunately for all of us I realized what a scattered mess it was and pulled it back for more thought.
I think I’ve finally gotten around to understanding that I was trying to make too many points fit into a cohesive narrative, and instead what I ended up with was a circular and jumbled bit of incomprehensible ideas, barely held together by a few words like “incendiary” and “unhinged” and “inflammatory” and “batshit insane.”
Those words are likely to resurface in this revamped post, but they’ll likely make more sense, or at least be in better context.
Except, of course, to those whose thought processes never deviate from the straight and narrow. Seriously, these folks exist. I’ve known horses wearing blinders that saw more.
But here goes. Consider this a bit of stream of consciousness.
The rabid right is so determined to go into a hissy fit over everything any Democrat, particularly Barack Obama, says, that they’ve been in a tizzy since Wednesday over his “partisan” speech at the Tucson memorial. The latest of course is their determination that the closed captioning on the McKale Center’s jumbotron was a cue for people to applaud. Morons. Deaf people can’t hear applause either, so, yes, idiots, they do put (applause) in the closed captioning just like they put every other sound in the closed captioning, not just words. Also not unusual to put closed captioning on the big screens at events, because not everybody can be close enough to see an interpreter. But the right gotta bitch. Kinda like they’ve been freaking out over a t-shirt, given out by the University of Arizona (which organized the thing) that says “Together We Thrive — Tucson and America” (It was, by the way, the name of the event). I can’t for the life of me understand what’s partisan about any of that. Terrance Heath pointed out one line from Obama’s speech — “I believe we can be better.” Guess that’s kinda hard to take for a conserverati that thinks it can do no wrong already. I don’t understand that. I always thought it was a good thing to strive to be better, and that if I ever thought there was no room for improvement, I need to be sharply reminded that I ain’t all that.
Sarah Palin. Bless her heart. All she had to do was say, “Y’know, maybe that crosshairs thing was a little over the top, but I certainly never intended for it to be taken literally by anyone on either side of the partisan divide. And I regret that it was.” Instead, she deleted the crosshairs map from her website under cover of darkness, sent some underling out to say it wasn’t crosshairs, it was a “surveyor’s symbol” (and I guess all here tweet about it — “target,” “don’t retreat, reload” etc. are just surveyor talk too) and then, on the day of the Tucson memorial, put out a video in which she uses a highly inflammatory phrase in pursuit of portraying herself as the poor little victim of all this. I am reminded of something Dorothy Gale said to The Scarecrow: “What would you do with a brain if you had one?” Seriously, though, I’m surprised she hasn’t fired her speech writer and claimed s/he was a liberal infiltrator out to make her look bad. And to the conserverati who think Palin scares progressives: Please. She does make me wince, as in, OMG, did she really say that? And watching her poll numbers sink among those who aren’t batshit insane makes me feel a little better every day about the American people, although I still don’t trust them all that much. And should the half-term, quitter governor actually become president, well, then, it will prove I was right to begin with. The American people are in complete moral decay, and they’re getting what they deserve. Kinda like when they elected GW Bush. Twice.
Jared Loughner. Appears to me he’s a lunatic of the Glenn Beck variety, what with all the conspiracy crap and the gold standard bullshit that I think he’s talking about in those pieces of shit “videos” (if, by “video,” you actually mean rambling nonsense text in white on a black background with some pot-induced music behind it). Do I think the Palins et al caused this guy to go try to assassinate a congresswoman? No. Never said I did. But the incendiary rhetoric that passes for political discourse these days does create an atmosphere where such things are much more likely than they would be without it. Terrance Heath says the bullshit that spews out of the mouths of these irresponsible assholes is just a “spark” that needs “kindling” — kindling like an economic crisis that Republicans refuse to acknowledge exists because, well, because it doesn’t exist for them and nobody else matters. But the real fuel is the fear and paranoia the conserverati preach when they’re not urging their parishioners to be “armed and dangerous.” The Mexicans are taking our jobs! The Muslims are trying to kill us! Liberals are trying to destroy America! Obama is a socialist! Obama is a Kenyan! Obama is a fascist! Obama is black!
I am amused. The defensiveness on the right when someone suggests that their crazy talk might not be helping things makes me laugh, at least for a little while, until I realize how serious this all is. Oh, the left does it too! they say, and then provide a list of anonymous bloggers, t-shirt designers and just plain crazy people who have done and said outrageous and offensive things. What they don’t come up with is nationally known media folk (and if you think Keith Olbermann’s “worst person in the world” is remotely equivalent to things Limbaugh, Levin, Savage, Hannity, O’Reilly etc say, you should be forced to listen to Olbermann over and over again for at least a year. He’s a blowhard, but he doesn’t have the nerve to say anything actually incendiary), former governors, former vice presidential candidates, sitting senators and representatives, state party chairmen, gubernatorial candidates, senate candidates, house candidates, state legislators or legislative candidates, or even mayors and city council members on the left who say comparable things to what’s on the right. It’s not there. I’ve looked. Oh, and you have to look at the context, too, something that seems to be very difficult for the right to do. Instead, they like to do things like edit videos to make it look like someone says the exact opposite of what they actually said.
Another amusing part. The right all in a snit, afeered that somebody on the left is gonna shoot Palin or somebody. Please, again. Project much? They’d love that to happen, y’know, because then we could completely forget about all the crap they’ve been spewing for years and focus entirely on the one single incident that proves both sides do it. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody on the right didn’t decide to do it themselves so they can blame it on the left and get what they want, liars that they are. Y’know, that’s not funny at all. That’s just sick, just like this whole political state we’ve created here in America. It’s sick, diseased. Dying. Maybe euthanasia would be a blessing.
This diseased society we’ve allowed to spring into life here makes shooting a congressman is perfectly OK, because all we have to do is say the shooter is crazy and we won’t have to worry about it. But crazy doesn’t explode in a vacuum. Crazy needs permission to explode. It needs enough unhinged, irresponsible ideas to make it possible for the unstable mind to justify what they do.
And then, of course, we just say it was a “lone wolf” or some such, and then we can be surprised all over again when it happens the next time.
That, my friends, is the real tragedy. Instead of standing up and saying this is enough — and I don’t mean making laws barring these wingnuts from saying their bullshit, because that really would be a violation of the 1st Amendment.
What I mean is standing up and saying Enough. We can be better.
I lived in a neighborhood once that had a section that was a heavy drug area. There was this one house — the proverbial crack house. This happened before I moved in, but fairly recently before I got there, so the tale was told quite often. What happened was that the good neighbors got together. And they stood out in front of that crack house every goddamned night, chanting and shouting. There were 20-30 of them, every night. They shouted at the crackheads — get out of our neighborhood! We don’t want you here! I don’t have to tell you that it didn’t take long for them to pack up and leave that rental house, before they’d completely destroyed it too. Now, of course, they just went to some other neighborhood and started up the same crap, but I like to think that the same thing happened there, and in the next neighborhood and the next and the next until finally they just had to quit.
Probably didn’t happen that way. But this is where sometimes things can get taken care of on a big, national stage more easily than they can on a city-wide stage. How long do you think we’d be talking about “second amendment remedies” and “we came unarmed — this time” if the irresponsible talkers were shunned and soundly condemned for their crap on a daily basis instead of just when something comes up?
Ah, but that would mean the sane people would have to understand that something is dreadfully wrong here and it has nothing to do with Obama gonna take our guns away.
In that respect, maybe the Republican victories in November are a godsend. We got a reprieve. After all, these folks promised that if the ballots don’t work, they’ll come back with bullets. It’s not enough, though. They only got the House.
The rhetoric that the right uses now has a name, and it’s not “incendiary,” “inflammatory” or “violent.”
It’s called eliminationist.
They want us completely subjugated, or, better yet, gone. That’s why they demand “their” country back. We’re usurpers.
Don’t bet on this language stopping, and don’t bet on the rise in violent acts — and violent groups — stopping either.
Not until we come to our collective senses. I’m just hoping that’s before the real war breaks out.