Sunday, January 09, 2011
Right Does Not Equal Left
It's been fascinating to watch the aftermath of yesterday's attempted assassination of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Quitter, right-wing idiot and inspiration for the shooting Sarah Palin has of course offered up her prayers and condemnations, as has Arizona's bigot-in-chief Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona. Charged shooter Jared Loughner left behind a legacy of confused video rants leading him to be dismissed as a mentally disturbed "extremist." Ever fearful of calling out the right wing and therefore alienating an audience who might pay its advertisers, the media seems to have settled on a convenient trope of denouncing some imaginary meeting point on the other side of the circle where crazed left- and right-wing extremism converge. Uncivility is the issue! Both left and right extremes are guilty of fanning the flames!
The shooting in Arizona which gravely wounded Giffords and took the lives of six people is the fruit of two years of right-wing propaganda about "reloading" and "watering the roots of the tree of liberty with blood." Ludicrously Sarah Palin's organization has taken to denying that the crosshairs on her now-infamous poster had anything to do with guns or violence, but anybody with half an eye can see this is a blatant lie. And Giffords' recently defeated right-wing Republican opponent in her congressional race? His campaign images showed him in combat fatigues with an assault rifle at crotch level. The right-wingers full well knew what they were doing, and now that they were caught with the fruit of their advocacy, they're dissembling as fast as possible.
The left had nothing to do with this. There's no reason to bring it -- us -- into this. This is full on the result of the right-wing's gun worship, its crass patriotic bravado, its little Chuck Norris B-movie fantasy about taking the country "back" from the ni**ers who are ruining the place. The shooter's crazed ideology is part and parcel of the bad thinking rampant on the right where liars and fantasists like Glenn Beck try to whip up convoluted nonsense theories to cover for the blatant racist revanchism at the core of their reason for being.
This shooting was not the result of a dialogue between sides run amok. Just try to find equivalents on the left of all the ridiculous violence-courting rhetoric amongst the teabaggers. It doesn't exist, it's not there. And the real left, the one that values peace, justice, equality and civil rights, it doesn't fantasize about grabbing guns and shooting people. That's your sickness, American rightwingers, own up to it. Leave us out of it.
Decent people will be doing some simple math, looking at Sarah Palin's crosshairs poster targeting Congresswoman Giffords and her rhetoric about reloading and seeing a bunch of people filled with bullets including a little girl born on 9/11, and their correct response will be to shun this political monster and all she stands for. Americans who find themselves unconvinced need to pay attention to who doesn't take that basic step of human decency. It won't be those of us on the left.