Missing from all of the whining rationalizations of The BFI (Big F-word of your choice Idiot) and The Bitch of the Great White North is an apology from the Teabagger loon who ran against Gabrielle Giffords in 2010: Jesse Kelly.
A more apt slogan for this fool would have been "Send An Idiot To Congress." The voters of Arizona's 8th Congressional District elected Giffords over Kelly by a margin of slightly more than 3,000 votes out a total of 273,053. However, idiocy was not limited to the Dumbo candidate in the Giffords-Kelly race. During the campaign, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told a group of Sierra Vista, AZ business leaders neither he nor fellow Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) could work with the congresswoman [Giffords]. While the gunsight crosshairs used by The Bitch of the Great White North attracted Congresswoman Giffords' attention, the Kelly rhetoric while holding an M16 rifle aloft at a campaign rally was obscene. “Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.” The Bitch from the Great White North whines about a "blood libel" against her. She and her fellow-travelers in violent rhetoric and symbols (The BFI, the disgusting Teabagger Kelly, and the hypocritical Geezer with his phony words of sorrow after the Tucson tragedy) have blood on their hands. If this is a (fair & balanced) condemnation of evil, so be it.
[x New Yorker]
Words And Deeds
By Hendrik Hertzberg
Tag Cloud of the following article
On October 5, 1995, as the Knesset was meeting to ratify the second Oslo agreement, thirty thousand Greater Israel zealots, Likud Party supporters, militant West Bank settlers, and right-wing nationalists rallied in Jerusalem’s Zion Square. For months, certain ultra-Orthodox rabbis and scholars had been suggesting that, because Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was willing to consider territorial concessions in negotiations with the Palestinians, it would be permissible, even obligatory, to kill him. In Zion Square, protesters carried pictures of Rabin, doctored to show him in Nazi uniform or with crosshairs over his face. The crowd chanted “Rabin boged!”—“Rabin is a traitor!”—and, again and again, “Death to Rabin!” From a balcony, prominent opposition politicians, including Benjamin Netanyahu, looked on benevolently and uttered no rebukes. A month later, at another, larger rally, this one for peace, Rabin was assassinated.
In 1995 in Jerusalem, the connection between talk and action was direct and unmistakable. The killer, Yigal Amir, a student of Jewish law, was an activist of the organized religious right. He was neither delusional nor incoherent. “I did this to stop the peace process,” he explained at a court hearing. “We need to be coldhearted.” He acted with a clear political purpose, one that he shared with much of the mainstream religious and secular right. Within six months, Netanyahu was Prime Minister; Rabin’s widow, Leah, and many other Israelis never forgave him for what they saw as his cynical tolerance of the extremist stew that had nurtured the murderer.
In 2011 in Tucson, there was no such close, let alone causal, connection. The madman who fired a bullet through the brain of a vibrant young member of Congress as she was conducting an informal outdoor meeting with constituents—and who kept pulling the trigger until the high-capacity magazine of his semiautomatic pistol was empty and six people (a federal judge, a young aide, three retirees, and a nine-year-old girl) lay dead or mortally wounded—chose a political figure and a political event as the targets of his murderous rage. He has “political” views, but they are incoherent to the point of incomprehensibility. He is not discernibly a member or follower of any sect or movement; he had no discernible political goal or grievance. No one applauded or took satisfaction in what he did. In these and other ways, this was not like Jerusalem (and for that we can be grimly grateful). It was not like Oklahoma City. It was not like the murder of Benazir Bhutto or, two weeks ago, of Salmaan Taseer, the secularist governor of the Punjab province of Pakistan. The crime in Tucson, it appears, had more in common with one of those all too frequent schoolhouse or workplace killing sprees than with a purposeful act of political violence. “The truth,” President Obama said, four days after the shootings, “is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.”
That is indeed the truth. But it is also the truth that, when the news broke of the Tucson shootings, no one’s first thought was that some unhinged leftist was responsible. From the outset, commentators of all persuasions assumed something like the opposite—assumed it openly if their instant impulse was accusatory, implicitly if it was defensive. And no wonder. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (who, miraculously, survived) is a Democrat. Last March, after she voted for the health-care law, someone shattered the plate-glass door of her Tucson office. Her Republican opponent in the November election, whose campaign poster showed him cradling an assault rifle, held a gun-themed fund-raiser. (“Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”) Giffords herself expressed concern about the political use of violent imagery. “For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” she told an interviewer. “But the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.”
These things took place amid a two-year eruption of shocking vituperation and hatred, virtually all of it coming from people who call themselves conservatives—not just from professional radio and television propagandists but also from too many Republican officeholders and candidates for office. The portrayal of the national government as a sinister tyranny and President Obama and his party as equivalent to Communists and Nazis—as alien usurpers bent on destroying the country and the Constitution—spawned a rhetoric of what a Nevada candidate for the Senate approvingly referred to as “Second Amendment remedies.” During the same period, there has been a sharp, sustained rise in death threats against the President and against (mostly Democratic) legislators. And there have been real victims: according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, at least fifteen people had already been killed by practitioners of “insurrectionist” violence since the middle of 2008.
These realities, and not the malevolence of liberal opportunists, were why, in the immediate aftermath of the crime, the “national conversation” focussed on the nation’s poisonous political and rhetorical climate. That conversation, which was worth having before, is not less worth having now because the connection between the crime and the climate is so murky—and it may well turn out to be more productive. If so, much of the credit will be due to Obama’s leadership. His elegy at the huge memorial meeting in Tucson last week was his finest speech as President, and the truest to his essential character. It was so psychologically acute that his rebukes (“We are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do”) were experienced on all sides as unifying and inspirational—as an invitation, in his words, to “use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.” The kernel of his message was this:
I believe that we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved life here—they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us.
The atmosphere smelled cleaner in the days after Obama said what he said. Something had changed. This week, the House will take up the repeal of the health-care law as the new Republican majority’s first order of business. The repeal will not be enacted—the Senate or, if necessary, the President will see to that—but it will be debated. No one can say how long the calm will endure. But if the debate is truly a discussion, if it is truly about health care and not about imagined plots to kill our old people and take away our freedoms and turn our hospitals into gulags, the moment may last a little longer. And when it fades, as it must, perhaps the memory of it will leave us all in a better place than where it found us. Ω
[Hendrik Hertzberg is a senior editor and staff writer at The New Yorker, where he frequently writes the Comment, in The Talk of the Town. He is the author of Politics: Observations & Arguments (2005), ¡OBÁMANOS!: The Birth of a New Political Era (2009), and One Million (2009). Hertzberg received a B.A. degree from Harvard University and was the managing editor of the Harvard Crimson during his senior year.]
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Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves by Neil Sapper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at sapper.blogspot.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.
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