Friday, January 14, 2011
Well, now that the shooting has once again died down, and those on the sidelines have stopped comparing themselves to Jews and anyone who doesn't agree with them to Hitler (What? You didn't know that "Mein Kampf" is a liberal manifesto?), I guess we can all finally take a sincere look at ourselves and what role our own attitudes might have played in our cocked-up national zeitgeist.
Or not. I mean, who are we kidding here? There will be lots of examination, or the 24-hour news channel equivalent, anyway, but no real change. President Obama, in a speech that was apparently designed to appeal to Arizonans in that it was long on references to the Bible, heaven, heroes, and gumption, and short on self-awareness, asked us to make sure our debate is "worthy of those we have lost."
I think Jon Stewart cut more quickly to the bone when he said that it would be nice if our political speech didn't so closely resemble the ramblings of a crazy person.
But I get why our president is compelled to point out that a high road does indeed exist. I'm just not sure why he feels the need to take it all the time. Especially when the White House is surrounded by idiots with placards exclaiming that "high road = socilism."
Not to mention that the tea-baggers are using the events in Tucson as a fundraiser, and the very gun and clip that the shooter used are selling out in gun stores across the country. Yeah, the right wing is definitely going to be turning up the paranoia on gun control, with one genius even suggesting that members of Congress be allowed to carry guns on the House floor, a position that I must admit seems fairly attractive to me at the moment. In fact, I think the only place in America where Republicans don't want guns is at Republican political conventions. That's right, you have to go through a metal detector and surrender your firearms to get up in that mug. They must not be reading their own literature about how an armed citizenry makes you more safe.
But it seems to me that those who died in that parking lot in Tucson were unlucky enough to have been labeled guilty by association to Representative Giffords, a woman who had apparently become the obsession of a defensive white male with a fondness for guns who had the good fortune of living in a state whose motto is "home of the defensive white male with a fondness for guns."
But the question is not whether Sarah Palin's adenoidal sniveling awakened a sleeping Manchurian Candidate - so far, the shooter seems to have been the only white male in Arizona NOT preoccupied with McCain's vice maverick - but whether our culture eased him along on his path.
I don't know the answer to that question. But I think neither do you. And so in the absence of any definitive blame-laying, which would be summarily ignored by the tea-baggers anyway, I think that a reasonable course of action would be for the Right to stop pretending that President Obama is the anti-Christ and Democrats are his demons sent to plague the Earth, and for the Left to, once the Right has stopped doing that, stop saying that the Right is doing that.
Because here's the thing about that whole "violent rhetoric" argument that nobody seems to be acknowledging: it matters not one whit what that asshole's political leanings are. The point is, that when you insinuate, especially from a position of power, that your political opponents are less than human, that they deserve a "Second Amendment solution" nudge nudge wink wink, YOU LEGITIMIZE THE VIOLENT YEARNINGS OF EVERYONE, LEFT OR RIGHT, CRAZY OR SANE. I mean, John Wilkes Booth didn't kill Lincoln with the expectation that Southerners would regard his actions with horror and shame, now did he?
And secondly, the rhetoric on the Left does not equal that on the Right. It's a nice try, Fox News, but it just ain't so. We don't put rifle sights on their candidates, or if we do, we stop it and apologize, we don't claim that they're fucking "surveyor's marks," or whatever dumb childish shit Palin's camp offered up, I mean surveyor's marks? Really? So did I miss all those tweets wherein Palin urged her mama grizzlies "Don't retreat, re-sight your coordinates for proper bearing to the azimuth!"?
And once more, for the record, not allowing gay people to serve openly in the military, and not allowing gay couples to marry is not the "other side" of the issue, it's the wrong side. It's the side of all that is backward and mean and fucking Evil Empire about us. And letting citizens die because they can't afford medicine is not the conservative view of the health care debate, it's the fucking immoral and wrong view, and I would like to stand up and be counted among those who wouldn't mind if our president just goddamn said so for once.
I just hope that Obama realizes that compromise is not some kind of honorable end in itself, it is a path to what we want - no, make that what we need. It's a path to what everyone in this country needs, whether they're able or willing to admit it or not - let's not forget that. So yeah, Mr. President, take that high road, and speechify about how we all need to respect one another, and then please go back to Washington and drag those motherfucking scared shitless morons with you into the 21st century.