It’s time to stop the politics of fear and loathing

Putting out fire with gasoline. (Copyright Gunnar Gunnarsson, all rights reserved, used with permission)

Andy Carling writing for New Europe

As medics battled to save the Congresswoman’s life, carry away the dead and tend to the wounded, Sarah Palin and [Gifford’s opponent in the 2010 campaign Jesse] Kelly leaped into action… by shutting down their websites and feverishly sanitising their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

However, as thousands of comments were deleted from Palin’s Facebook, one seemed to survive the cull. “”It’s ok. Christina Taylor Green was probably going to end up a left wing bleeding heart liberal anyway. Hey, as ‘they’ say, what would you do if you had the chance to kill Hitler as a kid? Exactly.”

Since Obama’s election, there has been increasing anger from the Tea Party over health care reforms and…immigration. Looking at the protesters signs at their rallies, there are countless examples of threats and the promise of violence. In this atmosphere, is it surprising that such incidents have not occurred before.

As angry and hostile as the right-wing attacks are, I do not think Sarah Palin was responsible for the Tucson shootings anymore than Rahm Emmanuel actually wanted his politicial enemies murdered when he recited their names, smashed a fist into a hand, and yelled “dead.” But the marginally sane are often drawn to fringe groups where they can absorb ideas without actually being part of the group (and can be easily manipulated too.)

It would also greatly help if Democrats, especially those in Congress and the White House, would call the extreme hard right out on their violent rhetoric and oppose it, rather than being the timid little church mice they too often are, saying nothing. But this should not be done in a hostile, threatening way as that will just add to the growing tension. I came of age in the 1960’s and was politically active. It was a violent time with assassinations, cities burning, “Kill The Pigs” protest signs, Weather Underground bombings, the deranged Manson Family murders, and backdropped by a lunatic war. It got crazy then and it’s getting crazy now. Do we really want the country to fracture? Because it could, especially if the rhetoric continues to escalate.

There should be no complacency on this side of the Atlantic. There are many, including some in the European Parliament, who are as bad, when it comes to expressing hatred of immigrants and Muslims.

The US debate is just beginning. Perhaps it is a debate that Europe should also consider.


  • gmknobl

    It may get as crazy or crazier than the 60s. Back then, progressives, people of good will made positive strides and pretty much won the day. Now the reverse is true. And it is true partly because of violent rhetoric by Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, Boehner, Fox News and you name it on the fascist conservative side that dominates the Republican Party and the Tea Party. They benefited from this rhetoric and don’t truly care what happens because of it, only that they get money and power because of it.

    It may be that the only way to separate the wheat from the chaff is to have a forced schism in our body politic the way the Civil War started. It may indeed be very bloody but you must remember, it’s not progressives that played for this, only what use to be thought of as nut balls and laughed out of politics like the horror that was Joseph McCarthy eventually was.

    Progressives and liberals need to constantly shout from every venue that it is these so-called-conservatives – fascists truly – that are the root cause for this. Palin didn’t directly do it but she encouraged it as surely as she drew that target on the representatives location.

    Sorry, but she and all those like her are guilty of inciting violence and should be removed from politics for this. The only problem is, those like her are in power now so it’s up to use to raise a calamitous ruckus that the conservative media cannot avoid.

    • A civil war would be ghastly. Why even hope for one? There has to be better ways.

      Besides, um, you have noticed that conservatives have way more guns than progressives, right?

      • In general… not as many guns as this Pissed Off Pistol Packing Progressive.

        And I’m not afraid to use them.

        Sure, Sarah Palin didn’t pull the trigger. But neither did Charlie Manson. Or Hitler.

        • Well Hell, Ten Bears, I already knew you were armed to the teeth!

          • Actually… I have more guns than teeth!

          • You and DJ should compare collections…

  • Byron DeLear

    Yes. The addiction and pandemic of fear-mongering will get the better of us.

    Take this comment after a recent piece on the shooting:

    “All liberals have ties with a racist group. They are called democrats.”

    There are more on the link.

    After recently taking another course on nonviolent communication, this doctrine of transforming the way we communicate should be req. for anyone in media, gov or corp leadership, if only to make them aware.

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