Sure is quiet in here sometimes.
Right now it’s quiet because although I’m a pretty liberal guy, I just got through accusing a lot of my fellow liberals of doing exactly what they accuse Republicans of, when they circulated the scathing, vitriolic Wrath of Fools.
Sure, there’s lots of truth in it. No doubt about it. The right wing spin machine is vicious and efficient and cynical, and yes, frequently disturbing. Eliminationist rhetoric is the catch phrase these days, and yes, I’ve seen some disturbing examples of it in the right wing.
I’m wondering why I can’t acknowledge the eliminationist rhetoric, and then still not buy into Pitt’s assertion that the rhetoric eliminated the six people Loughner shot with the weapons in his hands. Anyone?
For all the truth in the article, it just isn’t connected to the killings in Arizona – there’s not even a whisper of a connection. And that’s Pitt’s main point, stated clearly over and over and over – the right wing did this. All of them did this.
And that’s a lie. A partisan lie, and it’s embarassing and sad.
It would be one thing if Loughner had a copy of Going Rogue in his pocket, with key phrases underlined. It would be easier to say, look, he did this because of all these true things. Even then – quite a stretch to blame it on the whole party. People have been shooting each other – and at elected officials – a long time. And an awful lot of people were exposed to the same rhetoric that day, and didn’t kill anyone.
Everyone simply assumed this was a right wing, Fox News gun nut, responding to the rhetoric, and it isn’t true. So yes, plenty of truth in Pitt’s article and plenty of melodramatic namecalling, too, and all of it packed tightly around a central, horrible lie.
It made me sad, because turning into the right wing is exactly why I spoke up. I don’t want to be like them. And spreading such partisan nastiness, dropping a quick sound bite, then putting your fingers in your ears at the sound of rationality – well who does that sound like to you?
An enlightened liberal, or a big fan of Fox News?
Now only a few days later, I found this article by David Corn entitled Worst Things Said This Week: Rush Limbaugh Wins In This Category.
In it, Corn discusses this horrible quote by Limbaugh:
“What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He’s sitting there in jail. He knows what’s going on, he knows that. . . . The Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he’s just a victim. . . . That smiling mug shot — this guy clearly understands he’s getting all the attention and he understands he’s got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure he’s not convicted of murder — but something lesser.”
A huge swath of our party is definitely trying to blame someone besides Loughner. The disgusting lie that Limbaugh has stapled to this truth is the notion that we don’t want to blame Loughner at all. But a lot of liberals are, in fact, engaging in a concerted rhetorical effort to blame the right wing. And because we’re doing it, Limbaugh has that little sliver of reality he needs to wrap around this poison pill like a bit of cheese for his dog.
That’s in a nutshell the other half of my problem with Wrath of Fools. It plays right into their hands. We could have had the conversation about the eliminationist rhetoric without making the clearly invalid logical leap to It Caused Loughner To Do This.
It didn’t, plain and simple. And the rhetoric is still a very bad thing, even in a world where we admit that it didn’t. Instead as always, it’s a world where nobody who needs to change wants to listen to us, because we’re in the middle of flipping them off and calling them murderers.
I’m quite sure Rush Limbaugh appreciates it, though. I’m quite sure I don’t.