"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Disgusting People (Updated)

Sarah Palin. I just hit the news reports of the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Gifford as I was going out to hit some errands, and then came home to find this report at Pam's House Blend.

And guess what -- here's a screen cap from Sarah Palin's SarahPAC page:

That one has since disappeared, strangely enough.


That page is still up at SarahPAC -- or up again. (Looking more carefully, I realize that it's up on her Facebook page, from March of last year. She must have missed that one. The comments there are illuminating: it's not Sarah's fault, Loughner's the one who decided to pull the trigger. For those people, she could have bought the gun and driven him to the site, and it would still not be her fault because he decided to start shooting. That's what they think is "taking responsibility" -- nothing that their goddess said or did could possibly have contributed to this event. That's also what happens when belief replaces reality in your head. These people really are children -- this is the emotional level of a five-year-old, the one who you find standing in the middle of the wreckage of a treasured vase who says "It broke."

There's also an interesting story at NYT on the whole phenomenon, which unfortunately doesn't go far enough -- it's more "he said, she said" reporting. Matt Bai has a somewhat more perceptive article.

In fact, much of the message among Republicans last year, as they sought to exploit the Tea Party phenomenon, centered — like the Tea Party moniker itself — on this imagery of armed revolution. Popular spokespeople like Ms. Palin routinely drop words like “tyranny” and “socialism” when describing the president and his allies, as if blind to the idea that Americans legitimately faced with either enemy would almost certainly take up arms.

It’s not that such leaders are necessarily trying to incite violence or hysteria; in fact, they’re not. It’s more that they are so caught up in a culture of hyperbole, so amused with their own verbal flourishes and the ensuing applause, that — like the bloggers and TV hosts to which they cater — they seem to lose their hold on the power of words.

On Saturday, for instance, Michael Steele, the Republican Party chairman, was among the first to issue a statement saying he was “shocked and horrified” by the Arizona shooting, and no doubt he was. But it was Mr. Steele who, last March, said he hoped to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the “firing line.”

Key point: they don't understand that words have consequences. And Bai is absolutely correct in one thing: this is a phenomenon of the right. You don't get that kind of rhetoric from the left.

On that note, here's a similar article from Sandhya Sokmashektar at WaPo, which seems to be more cover for the teabaggers than anything else.

When asked about the Palin target map, Beck said: "I don't know. It's really easy in the context of what happened this morning to look back and say, I don't know if this was such a bright idea. At the same time, there are other politicians from the other side of the political spectrum who have said similar military-style sayings. Do I really believe they are intending harm on people? No."

Isn't it interesting that the right is quick to say "the left does it, too," but can never seem to come up with an example? And on those rare occasions when they do, the example is so far out of scale as to be a joke.

And here's Palin's statement on her Facebook page:

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona.

On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

- Sarah Palin

Offhand, I'd say Palin has assigned her own meaning to the words "peace" and "justice," as she has so many others.

I have something to say to Gov. Palin:

When you publish pictures like that, and chuckle about "targeting" people who don't agree with you, what do you expect to happen? Especially since your natural constituency is the mean-spirited, fearful, and unhinged.

And then you and your ilk prattle on about "morality" when it's obvious to any thinking person that you have no sense of what it's about.

Didn't anyone ever tell you that words have consequences? This is your fault, lady, as much as anyone's. Maybe you should just keep your mouth shut until you can run everything by an adult.

Why don't you just crawl back under your rock?

Update: Found this choice little tidbit at Joe.My.God.:

Progressive websites are already pointing out that Giffords was among the 12 members of the U.S. House targeted for defeat with Sarah Palin's now-infamous "rifle crosshairs" election map. Giffords' Tea Party opponent Jesse Kelly picked up on that and held target practice with his supporters using a "fully automatic M16."

Add Jesse Kelly to the "Disgusting People" list.

And add Sen. John Cornyn -- here's a report from several years ago on Cornyn justifying the assassination of judges.

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