Sunday, January 09, 2011

Responsibility: Taking and Avoiding It


I am deeply disturbed that liberal bloggers were so quick to appropriate and exploit for political purposes this past weekend's shooting in Tucson of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a judge, and several other innocents (including a 9 year old girl), but here's the thing you'll find they're reluctant to talk about, and for good reason: I suspect they know, in their heart of hearts, that the toxic political atmosphere hasn't been helped in recent years by rhetoric from many on the Left, and Democrats...more specifically, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Leadership Committee.

For example, I submit to you Exhibit A - courtesy of the Democratic Leadership Committee (DLC).

Well, actually, perhaps I should call it Exhibit B, given the image at the top of this post, originally seen on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn way back in '00, when Dubya won the GOP presidential nomination.

For more info, go here: (post dates from late March 2010), but I'll quote you from the link:

"Granted these are bulls-eyes instead of gun-sights, and the targets are states not individual congressmen. But we’re really splitting hairs at this point. This map and the language it uses (Behind enemy lines!) are, if anything, more militant than what Palin used in her Facebook posting."

Really, look at some of the images on there. Sure, there's the one Dem map from earlier in the decade...but there's also map with bulls-eyes on them - targeting Republicans - that dates from within the past two years...prior to the Palin map in question. Below are links that take you directly to images that, suffice it to say, show that liberals' claim to a moral high is tenuous at best, outrageous (and then some) at worst.

What are those? Bulls-eyes?!

Mein Gott! A "targeted Republican"?!

Ah, OK...this makes everything better. No, doesn't.

Still not convinced that liberals have stuff to answer for? Still sure that only or primarily the Right is to blame for the highly-charged atmosphere in American political discourse today? Well, I'm sure Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos - hardly a staple of the Right - didn't actually mean he wanted certain politicians literally taken out when he said they should be targeted in 2008, but even so...there's this:

"Who to primary? Well, I'd argue that we can narrow the target list by looking at those Democrats who sold out the Constitution last week. I've bolded members of the Blue Dogs for added emphasis."

Note, there's a reference to a "target list" (I bolded it for ya) and you'll see Rep. Giffords' name is in bold on the page itself. For emphasis, according to the Kos-man himself). And mind you, that's from mid-2008. By a liberal blogger. Years before PalinPAC, etc.


From an anti-war rally, March 2008


Then, for good measure, I urge you to read these excellent observations from the UK's Telegraph:


And finally, with the following link you're able to see how some liberals made calling for Bush's death into an art form; I didn't see too much self-restraint (or remorse, in the years since) regarding this stuff. If you have the time, scroll down a fair bit, look at all the photos, and then with a straight face come to me and tell me that responsibility for nurturing the climate of hatred belongs to the Tea Party, the Right, and so on and so forth:

You can avoid looking at the above links and the images they lead to (I've included a few throughout this post), but that would be the equivalent of burying your head in the sand (and making the problem worse). Yes, all sides have a share of the blame...but you don't see liberals really taking any responsibility for their share, and when they do, it's often with qualifications.

We can play the blame game indefinitely - letting the problem fester - or we can just tackle the issue head-on, honestly.

Don't just put some of it out there...we need to put all of it out there (or as much of it as we can), however uncomfortable it makes people...whether they're on the Right or the Left, whether they identify as conservative, liberal, independent, moderate, libertarian, Republican, Democrat, etc. We need to clean the air, not just temporarily fan the smell away...know what I mean?

If this means conservatives entrenching themselves and liberals doing the same, so be it. That might actually be the best course of action: Two clearly-defined teams duking it out - civilly - rather than a mess of people making a muddle of discourse and, in the end, leaving things more or less where they started.

Mind you, what happened to Gabby Giffords probably wasn't directly caused by all the unfortunate rhetoric and imagery being spread around - after all, a loner, lunatic gunman probably doesn't have many direct influences aside from the voices in his head. But still...this tragedy - and the reminder of human frailty it stands for - presents an opportunity for us, as a Nation, to look at ourselves in the mirror...and clean up. We probably won't - but we should at least try.