Last year I attended an office colleagues’ farewell luncheon. The conversation at the table turned to politics and I opined that the level of political rhetoric had reached a level of negativity that I had not seen since the 1994-1995 time frame. All the images of the Hitler Obama, Obama the Socialist, Obama the Fascist, the Death Panels, etc. Elected officials, like Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said, railing “against the dangers of health care reform and other Democratic initiatives, warning the proposals ‘have the strength to destroy this country forever.’ “This cannot pass,” the Minnesota Republican told a crowd at a Denver gathering sponsored by the Independence Institute. “What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.”
I have long held a theory that the Conservative Right was complicit in the Oklahoma City bombing. I remember the rhetoric in the 90’s, of “jack booted thugs” of the government trying to take our weapons away from us. Members of Congress, political pundits, seeking an opportunity to hurt President Clinton politically spewed rhetoric at every opportunity to criticize the moves of Ruby Ridge and Waco, depicting a Federal Government out of control. It should have surprised no one that someone, in this case Timothy McVeigh (and others) would strike out at a government that was “going against the people.”
I was reprimanded by another colleague during that luncheon for even considering such a thought. He went on to let me know that liberals are more to blame for eco-terrorism acts than any conservative, or tea partier for that matter, and that I had no idea what I was talking about.
Never mind quotes from such leading conservatives like Anne Coulter:
- They’ve hit us and we’ve got to hit back hard, and I’m not just talking about the terrorists.
- The Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy for no purpose other than giving aid and comfort to the enemy. There is no plausible explanation for the Democrats’ behavior other than that they long to see U.S. troops shot, humiliated, and driven from the field of battle. They fill the airwaves with treason, but when called to vote on withdrawing troops, disavow their own public statements. These people are not only traitors, they are gutless traitors.
- “I don’t really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester. … I am personally opposed to shooting abortionists, but I don’t want to impose my moral values on others.” –on the murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller, FOX News interview, June 22, 2009
Watch Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck on Fox News, listen to Rush Limbaugh on the radio – these people SAY things that are designed to influence weak-minded people into action. Look at Sarah Palin’s Take Back the 20 image. I don’t know what agenda was held by Jared Loughner, or if he was under the influence of people like Sarah Palin, but it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a congressperson on Sarah’s Top 20 “hit list” (don’t know what else to call it when you dot the map with cross hairs) would not end up being targeted by someone less than mentally stable (because obviously mentally sane people don’t act on the insanity spewed by these people). But I can tell you with certainty, there are some in America tonight that are applauding Jared Loughner for having the guts to put Sarah’s plan in to action.
If we are lucky as a nation – maybe Ms. Giffords’ shooting will serve as a wake-up call to the spewers of invective to stop filling the airways with their hate and vile. Maybe, must maybe, we can baseline the political conversation with something along the lines of: “I know my opponent loves America and believes that his or her agenda is on the best interests of the country, but I don’t see it that way…” I can hope anyway…2012 is just around the corner and whatever reprieve from the hate rhetoric will most likely be short-lived.