Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where We Are

I think this quote from a reader of Andrew Sullivan's sums up best where America is politically right now.
I am standing in the aisle at Costco when I found out my Congresswomen, Gabrielle Giffords, has been shot dead up on the north side.

While I'm scrambling with my phone, two couples in front of me are talking about it and suddenly I hear one of the women say, "Well, that’s to be expected when you're so liberal."

And the other woman says, "Ohh, so we get to appoint a Republican?"
There is a fairly substantial segment of the American population out there — and yes, they vote Republican — who really just want to destroy the liberals by any means necessary. How their minds are helped to that point is too long a subject for this post, but suffice it to say when important people use their bully pulpits to incite fear and anger, there are not just the gullible and weak minded people who will be pursuaded by this fear and anger, but additionally mentally ill people whose minds will be completely overwhelmed by this fear and anger — most likely added on top of other fears and angers that already plague their minds — and are compelled to take action. Bill O'Reilly mentioned the abortion provider Dr. Tiller over and over again and then... surprise! Somebody murdered him. Sarah Palin (with her gun imagery being an integral part of her persona) encouraged people to "reload" and on her website placed a gun target over this Arizona Congresswoman's district. And then...

Surprised?

I will say, based on what I've heard so far, this guy was not some right-wing lunatic as some people are trying to portray; I'm not sure he was really a left-wing lunatic either. I think he was just a lunatic. (I'll also give Palin half a break by saying that I don't think the guy was out to shoot a Democrat or this Democrat: I think he just knew where a Congressperson would be and went there to kill.) I think the guy was an unbalanced, paranoid, and mentally ill person who looked at the world around him and listened to the world around him, and used that as fuel to justify a homocidal urge that he felt.

This guy was already burning inside... and the people who have turned up the heat in this country are the ones who put the finishing touches on frying this guy's mind.

UPDATE:

Sullivan has put up some good links psychoanalyzing the shooter that are worth reading:

1. Psychologist says: Youtube videos show evidence of delusions of persecution... less than coherent language suggests formal thought disorder... significant indications in the videos that he suffers from a psychotic disorder... paranoid schizophrenia.

2. Another: His favorite book list... deal with the topic of reality perception being controlled by higher powers. The Communist Manifesto deals with the topic of organized revolution more than it does with imposing a state-controlled economy. A picture more or less emerges of a troubled adolescent, who reads stuff that’s maybe a few levels too complex for him. But these are exactly the people that you shouldn’t expose to the sort of militant, violent political rhetoric that since Obama’s presidency has been employed by the Tea Party and the Republican right.

3. Another: Very incoherent, hard to classify beliefs, clearly paranoid and conspiratorial.

7 comments:

tasij said...

How about the liberal's side of the story?, don't the liberal get some blame also?, here some examples REMEMBER WHEN? Obama said "They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun, Mark Penn did say on Chris Matthews show that Obama needed an Oklahoma City bombing.Obama Says "Argue With Neighbors, Get In Their Face" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCMDur9CDZ4
how about this beauty from Chris Matthews on his tv show hardball
'I have to tell ya, Rush Limbaugh is beginning to look more and more like Mr. Big. And at some point, somebody's gonna jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he's gonna explode like a giant blimp. That day may come, not yet, but we'll be there to watch." and this one was on the daily kos just a couple of days ago, ( don't bother looking it has been scrubbed) BoyBlue's Jan 06, 2011 blog on Daily Kos titled: "My CongressWOMAN voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now DEAD to me!"
(From the screenshot of the blog) "I am from the Tucson area and live in Congresswoman, Gabriel Giffords' district. . .
believed me there are lots more even from reporters saying stuff like caught in the crosshairs, President obama need to kick some a##--keith olberman and if you want to do some real digging, look up some early politico speech from the 1800's so this really nothing new

Jungle Jil said...

Simple question Tasij:

Which do you think sticks in the minds, affects the minds, and alters the minds more, creates more antipathy, anxiety, and extreme feelings: Some unknown person on Daily Kos saying that her Congressman is "dead to her", or some Congressman standing up, in Congress, and shouting at the President of the United States in the middle of a speech to Congress, "You lie!"

Which sticks in public memory more: Some talking head news pundit making a passing comment on how he hopes some other news pundit dies? Or a Vice Presidential Candidate saying that a Presidential Candidate "Pals around with terrorists" over and over and over again.

Which affects unbalanced people and gives them ideas: The President saying he needs to "get in people's faces"? Or the sight of gun nuts bringing automatic weapons to political rallies?

Death panels. Mushroom clouds. Terrorists winning. Illegal aliens. Socialists. Fascists. It's all the Republicans talk about... from Boehner all the way down the line: A constant diet of things to scare you, things to unsettle you.

Your sense of equivalence is awfully skewed, Tasij. Get some perspective on who is saying what and causing what.

Sullivan also has a great post up on such false comparisons:

It would be a kind of relief if Loughner operated not out of any coherent political context but just his own fevered brain.

But even so, the tragedy wouldn't change this basic fact: for the past two years, many conservative leaders, activists, and media figures have made a habit of trying to delegitimize their political opponents. Not just arguing against their opponents, but doing everything possible to turn them into enemies of the country and cast them out beyond the pale. Instead of “soft on defense,” one routinely hears the words “treason” and “traitor.” The President isn't a big-government liberal—he's a socialist who wants to impose tyranny. He's also, according to a minority of Republicans, including elected officials, an impostor.


The Palin forces, who have fomented this dynamic more viciously and recklessly than any other group, are reacting today with incandescent rage that they could even be mentioned in the same breath as this act of political terrorism. That's called denial. When you put a politician in literal cross-hairs, when you call her a target, when you celebrate how many targets you have hit, when you go on national television and shoot guns, when you use the language of "lock and load" to describe disagreements over healthcare provision ... you are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Making people feel insecure is a very effective right wing tool."hey get that guy,he is a terrorist.."it works,sadly.'see something,say something.'The people of the USA are being terrorized,but by whom?
The guy who is psycho analyzing the "lone gunmen"(where have I heard that before?) after seeing one video of the kid is hardly enough to draw any type of psychiatric assessment of this kid.
America has sold out its citizens and more importantly its youngest citizens.It used to be "Go to school, study hard and there will be a good job waiting for you".Not so anymore.With hamburgers being the only thing produced in the USA,the economy has become unsustainable and the biggest victims are the youth of the USA.
This sort of thing isn't exactly what should be expected from the youths' of the USA today,but who wouldn't be pissed when the best job you can get is being a cop(and it is true!)and many have to join the army just to get a paycheck? as kids today continue to be screwed out of what should have been a birthright(a good job for getting a good education)do not be surprised if this isn't the last we see of sad events like this.

tasij said...

I guess a president "who says if they bring a knife we bring a gun" doesn't bother you as much? and have you ever visit this web site http://www.democraticunderground.com/ or this one http://www.dailykos.com/ and you tell me the tea party is worse? Get real

Jungle Jil said...

If the best you can do to counter an entire half of the political establishment's longstanding use of fear, anger, over-the-top accusatory rhetoric, character assassination, accusations of traitorous behavior, howls about country-ending, society-destroying government programs, the use of xenophobia, race-baiting, homophobia, and Christian supremacy... is a single quote from a single Democratic presidential candidate at a single campaign stop, plus links to 2 (only 2?) partisan websites, I'd say you've definitely lost the argument that "liberals are just as bad as conservatives." Get real?

That seems to be your whole approach Tasij: You struggle to find examples to prove your point, and then claim victory when you manage to uncover 1 or 2 examples to reinforce what you were thinking when there are thousands of examples that prove you wrong. It was the same approach when you tried to show that Palin had lots of endorsements from major political figures, and only came up with Erin Brockovich and Jeb Bush.

The entire right wing of American political thought is steeped in anger, violent hyperbole, fear mongering, half-truths, rumor spreading, and regressive moral priorities masquerading as "traditional values"... and you figure you can balance out that entire sorry worldview with a single quote? Get real.

tasij said...

you want more I got more, but the point is that it is not only the tea party who comes up with this stuff but if more is what you want then here it goes, let start with a map from the DCCC facebook page that targets(yes uses that word) republicains
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=64386376881
here one from the DLC http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=253055&kaid=127&subid=171
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
now for the libs turn
On October 23, The Scranton Times reported that Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., said this about Florida’s new Republican Governor Rick Scott:
“That Scott down there that’s running for governor of Florida,” Mr. Kanjorski said. “Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. what do you think worse than sarah or not? is he right wing? no a lefty, but wait here is the best michelle malkin has taken the time to put together a primer with left wing hate speech with links and everything, http://michellemalkin.com/ this hate thing is a two way steet. and I dare you to put together something like this for the tea party and sarah palin

Jungle Jil said...

Again Tasij, you are sticking to your basic old approach: Now, instead of 2 partisan sites, you have 3 against thousands. You actually found that Democrats use "target icons" just like Republicans (which, as I stated here has never been the problem), and now, instead of 1 Democratic quote against thousands, you actually have 2 quotes against thousands (though I will admit that you actually managed to find a single democrate (against 1000 Republicans) who uses the imagery of gun violence: congratulations there). But again: Though you may think that this somehow settles the issue completely; that proving that Democrats are responsible for 0.01% of the angry gun-violence imagery, calls of treason, and calls of tyranny and shouts for revolution... that somehow 0.01% = 50%... you haven't really proven anything.