Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh Arizona.

Tombstone Politics

This is a tragedy that I think anyone with a reasonable bone in his or her body saw coming in some form or another, and as such I've been really at loathe to add my voice to the chorus of voices condemning the radical (and mainstream) right wing for their perceived role, but in the end there are too many implications around all the things I complain about with modern day dumb American politics to NOT comment.

Part of my hesitation to comment is sorting out my feelings around the idea of free speech, and where it crosses the line into incitement of violence. What would seem like clear ignorant nut jobs like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin encouraging others to be ignorant nut jobs is one negative consequence of the right to free speech. So do we "compromise liberty for security and then deserve neither" and all that jazz? I'm somewhat reminded of the criticism of gangsta rap and the Tipper Gore PMRC hysteria years, and the attempt to link music to gun violence and suicide.

But music is entertainment, not real life. Yeah, I always say certain bands and songs shaped who I am, but the people who really shape how I am obligated to live my life within the confines of the laws of my country -- as well as those non-politicians with immense political power -- need to hold themselves to a higher standard, and use common sense with their constituencies.

Utilizing gun sights to indicate targeted lawmakers, rhetoric about "reloading" not retreating against lawmakers, and talk from (aforementioned nut job endorsed) candidates about being angry enough to use "Second Amendment remedies" is clear incitement to violence.

Would the sympathizers stand for environmental radicals like the ELF using gun sights as the symbol for targeting lawmakers in an election who had abysmal environmental voting records? Of course not. And nor would they stand for anyone using that same rhetoric to target lawmakers who were anti-health care bill, or anti-DREAM Act, or anti- any other countless thing that would be good for the United States that right-wingers deem "Socialist" or "anti-American."

The nasty "make the rich richer" liars that make up the Republican Party, and the redneck laughingstock that is the Tea Party claim to want less government intrusion in their lives. *snort* Do we need to legislate their common sense? It has to stop.

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Blogger Trevor said...

Excellent post! The question now is how do reasonable moderate people engage in (and promote) civil discourse which allows for dissenting opinion but filters out those who do not wish for discourse, but instead only wish to "win" and create a punitive mono-culture. Civility is a cornerstone of democracy, but so often the civil voices are drowned out by the careless, brash, and loud. Hopefully some good can be derived from this awful event and perhaps the United States can emerge from this tragedy a more cohesive and mature country.

January 10, 2011 at 10:53:00 PM PST  

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