The consequences of language

Sarah Palin didn’t shoot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head.

Michelle Bachmann didn’t kill Giffords’ outreach director, the newly engaged Gabe Zimmerman.

Rush Limbaugh didn’t kill U.S. District Court Judge John Roll.

Glenn Beck didn’t kill 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, born on 9/11/2001.

Not a single Tea Partier, including Giffords’ November opponent Jesse Kelly, had anything to do with the deaths of six people and the wounding of 12 others Saturday outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona.

None of them are guilty of the crimes perpetrated that morning, but none of them are innocent either. Each and every one of them made what happened there possible.

From Bachmann’s call for her constituents to be “armed and dangerous” to Palin’s rifle crosshairs over Giffords’ district on a map to Limbaugh’s daily bigoted and anti-anything that isn’t him rhetoric to Beck’s utter insanity to the Tea Party’s much-vaunted “second amendment remedies” and Kelly’s “join me to target Giffords and shoot a fully automatic rifle” campaign event, they’re all as responsible for what happened Saturday as Jared Loughner is.

More so, because unlike Loughner, they’re all in adult positions of responsibility and should know better. Loughner, obviously a little light in the loafers, may not even have heard any of the Ridiculous Right’s outrageous rhetoric. But because they said it, and because my colleagues let them say it without challenging them and pretended “both sides” were doing the same thing, well, are you really surprised by what happened Saturday? Not if you have half a brain.

And what I found most amusing was that all the usual suspects, from Palin and Bachmann to Mitch McConnell and Eric “Somebody shot a bullet somewhere and it accidentally fell into a window where some consultants of mine have an office so I’ve been threatened too” Cantor, all came rushing out to condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms, as if their own mouths hadn’t been encouraging it for the past two years.

What a joke.

Clearly, Jared Loughner’s lights are on but nobody’s home. His video ramblings make no sense. His attempts at logic are laughably embarrassing. He champions grammar and calls the citizens of Giffords’ district “illiterate” but has quite a few problems structuring sentences himself.  He’s hopelessly caught up in the libertarian boondoggle of the gold and silver standard — a Beck specialty, by the way. He’s no great intellect — although he appears to imagine himself one — and his political meanderings are so incomprehensible that it’s quite impossible to put a solid political label on him.

That doesn’t stop my colleagues though. And in a sense, it’s perfect for them, since they’re all besides themselves, as usual, with their frantic efforts to convince us all, in their morally lecturing tones, that “both sides” need to tone down the bullshit, as if progressives are out there saying that if elections don’t go our way, if Congress doesn’t do what we want, well, then, we’ll have no choice but to exercise our 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms and do something about our grievances.

No, that kind of rhetoric is found only on the right, and here’s why: That kind of rhetoric only comes out when people believe they are cornered, trapped with no where to go but to fight. Doesn’t have to be true. They just have to believe it is.

And here’s what we have: A Ridiculous Right that absolutely refuses to move forward with the rest of society.

They’re not cornered at all. They’re being left behind. The mouths are just paper tigers, ladies and gentlemen. They wouldn’t have the guts to actually do anything violent if their lives depended on it.

But they don’t have to, because there will always be Jared Loughners and Jim David Atkissons and James Von Brunns and Byron Williamses and Richard Poplawskis and Greg Giustis and Charles Wilsons, simpletons with no real ability to think for themselves and plenty of capacity to seek vengeance for any perceived wrong at all — and in the most violent way possible.

And all the little right wing websites are even now circling their wagons to proclaim that there’s not a shred of evidence that Loughner was influenced by any of their maniacal leaders. That’s so beside the point.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik  has already accused by the right of trying to exploit the shootings for political gain because he said this:

Today, I hope all Americans are as saddened as shocked as we are. I hope some of them are as angry as I am. I think it’s time as a country that we need to do a little soul searching. The vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out by people in the radio business and some in the TV business, this has not become the nice United States of America that we grew up in, and I think its time we do the soul-searching.

and this:

When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.

It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included. And that’s the sad thing of what’s going on in America. Pretty soon, we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people who are willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.

and this:

Let me just say one thing, because people tend to poo-poo this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech. But it’s not without consequences.

Of course they did, because they do not believe in consequences. I’ve already talked about the ridiculousness of not “believing in” things that are facts. The truth here is that they do not accept the consequences are are in denial about them.

So this is just the natural consequence of the garbage these people have been spewing. Again — doesn’t matter if Jared Loughner ever even heard them. Doesn’t matter what his real political persuasion is (although I must point out that he was attempting to assassinate a Democratic congresswoman). What matters is the atmosphere these people who like to say they’re the adults in the room create.

Here’s a hint: It’s poison. The very air we breathe has been contaminated by violent rhetoric.

And here’s what I hope. I hope that this incident opens the eyes of enough people that we can really put an end to this insanity. No, I know it’s not gonna be Bachmann, Palin, etc. Hell, Palin’s spokeswoman is one of those who condemned what Dupnik said. I guess so, after the crosshairs thing. But there are people who’ve had blinders on, pretending none of this really that bad. And I hope to god they see this for what it is — the consequences of language.

If they don’t, the next one’s gonna be even worse.