Monday, January 10, 2011

I Link to Things I Like

Following up on my previous post:

John Cole at Balloon-Juice:

The point we have been trying to make for the last couple of years is that Republicans need to stop whipping up crazy people with violent political rhetoric. This is really not a hard concept to follow. There are crazy people out there. Stop egging them on.

I followed a thread to a place called Driftglass:

In other words, no mention of the fact that Right's interlocking political/media/religious keiretsu has been a massive paint-shaker for Crazy for as long as anyone can remember: when they need a few more votes or a few more dollars, they notch it up; when someone takes them up on their elimination rhetoric and blows up a federal building or flies a plane into an IRS office or murders a doctor, they dial it back a little and pretend they have no idea where anyone could have gotten such ideas...  What Mr. Sullivan and his expatriate tribe have never come to terms with is that this problem didn't just precipitate out of the pellucid ether two years ago with the arrival of "The Palin forces". It was right there, in plain sight, during all the many, many years he was cheer-leading for the Right because Palinism is nothing more or less than the latest, mutant manifestation of the violent, paranoid and often-racist rot that has always been at the very heart of Mr. Sullivan's beloved Movement.  There was no Palin when McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma to stop the Evil Government whose imaginary treachery had been dinned into his ears for years, or when militias armed themselves against the coming of the Black Helicopters and the U.N. New World Order, or when the Clintons were being gutted in the press every day as a murderers, assassins, depraved monsters and drug dealers...  Palin is merely an emergent property of all that preceded her: just the latest inheritor of Conservatism's long and obscene legacy who is using that inheritance exactly as she was taught to use it by her Conservative forebears.


There are certainly left wing people who spew incendiary and violent rhetoric. But they are few and far between compared to the drumbeat of hatred and consequential acts of violence we've seen over the past two years and none who make the kind of profit at it that the right wing noise machine does. There is no comparison, it's ridiculous to frame it that way. And it ends up distorting the truth, which is that we have a violent right wing political movement developing in this country with the help and acquiescence of a major political party which refuses to police its own... 

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

...As appalled as I've been over the past couple of years by ads like this, veiled allusions to insurrection, and the otherizing of the president, I've found arguments drawing connections between a "climate of hate" and Loughner unpersuasive. Simply put, the case that far-right rhetoric contributed or caused this killing spree strikes me as squishy, and, at the moment, unprovable. In The Times and Post this morning, there are some of the calling-cards of the conspiratorial right. But more relevant, there are hallmarks of severe mental problems, and a troubled home-life...


A survey of the bloggy scene suggests a rigid, uniform, passionate position that this assassination has nothing whatsoever to do with violent rhetoric and political polarization. It is as if some loony had just randomly shot some schoolkids or ran into a mall killing strangers. If you are looking for reflectiveness, you won't find it, in what strikes me as an ominous sign of a right-wing movement more willing to see its opponents gunned down than ever engage in introspection... I don't disagree with the sentiment that we should not refrain from robust or colorful or exuberant rhetoric. But constant resort to violent imagery directed at specific and named human targets is not a sign of a lively discourse but of thuggishness... There is the obvious third option that has occurred to almost anyone not ideologically primed to defend anything Republican. That option - voiced even by Palin apologist Howie Kurtz - is that Palin's words were "highly unfortunate" and certainly regrettable. Does Glenn Reynolds believe otherwise? Does he endorse the gun-sights imagery? Does he see nothing wrong with it in retrospect? Would he have attended the Jesse Kelly "Fire an M-16" to show you want to defeat Gabby Giffords? We know the answer...

At Moderate Voice, Joe Gandelman

...In the short term, politicos of both parties are now talking about how perhaps it’s important to adjust the tone of American politics. And that would certainly be a nice, lofty goal: almost day by day, American politics on so many fronts is increasingly personal and toxic, where the operative goal seems to be to paint the other side as evil as possible. You see and hear it in Congress, on the radio, on TV, on the web and (most assuredly) in comments sections on web-logs of all political persuasions.  But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. You’ll turn blue.  Most likely, there will be a period where politicos, talk show hosts, bloggers, talking heads, newspaper columnists and partisan activists from both parties rein in some of the vitriol. But then place money in Vegas that it’ll be business as usual. There is now too much of an institutional and cultural vested interest in American politics in keeping the tone and pundit flow as it now exists: partisans and ideologues on both sides find that pushing “hot buttons” is a way to rally sympathizers to your side and talk radio and cable ideological shows and websites make money throwing red meat to an audience that shows up because they already agree with an opinionated host or info-outlet...


Cole's comment nails it.  Stop egging the crazies on.  That's the one thing we need to take away from this tragic killing spree...  Pity is, Sullivan and Gandelman are most likely right that this isn't going to tone down... it's going to get worse...

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