Monday, January 10, 2011

Can liberals recognize when people want to kill them?

Most can, I'm very sure. But you have to wonder about some of them when I see these two pieces from Salon: Laura Miller, The real message of Loughner's book list 01/09/2011; Steve Kornacki, Let's not make this something it isn't 01/09/2011.

In Mississippi in the 1950s and 1960s, anyone who favored racial integration would have been a damned fool not to know who was being targeted by hate propaganda from the White Citizens Council, the John Birch Society, the Ku Klux Klan and its various imitators, the dishonest and hysterical press outlets in the state, and the hardline segregationist politicians like Ross Barnett. And unless they were particularly clueless, they were very much aware that being targeted by such rhetoric could also mean being targeted economically and physically.

So, liberals/progressives/leftists whatever you want to call yourselves, don't stick your heads in the sand or other dark places on this stuff. You don't have to tremble like scared children when some rightwinger slings sleaze at you. But you also don't have live up to the stereotype of liberals that they're so opened-minded that they won't even take their own sides in an argument. When people are calling you traitors and vermin and America-haters and baby-killers and the like, saying, "Gee, let's not jump to conclusions about their intentions" may not be the best advice. Oh, and if you receive actual death threats, make a habit of reporting them to the law.

Here's a couple of more sensible takes on the weekend assassination attack in Tucson.

From Dave Neiwert (Yes, Jared Loughner was 'crazy'. That doesn't exculpate the milieu that unhinged him C&L 01/09/2011):

They're all going to say Jared Loughner is crazy -- especially the right-wing hate talkers and Sarah Palin defenders who everybody's looking at right now. And you know what? They're right. But that doesn't mean they're blameless, either.
Mark Potok, Who is Jared Lee Loughner? Hatewatch 01/09/2011):

At this early stage, I think Loughner is probably best described as a mentally ill or unstable person who was influenced by the rhetoric and demonizing propaganda around him. Ideology may not explain why he allegedly killed, but it could help explain how he selected his target. [my emphasis]
It's not surprising that a rightwing favorite like Bernie Goldberg would take the nothing-to-see-here, move-right-along position (The Rush to Blame the Right for Giffords' Shooting AOL News 01/09/2011). But it's not Bernie Goldberg that is being blasted with hateful and often plainly dishonest attacks daily by FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and their less prosperous imitators.

The Republicans are well on the way in their effort to turn the whole country into something closely resembling the Deep South circa 1960, except with the Republicans being the segregationist party in control. How many terrorist attacks and assassinations aimed at liberals and Democratic officials is it going to take for people like Sen. Dick Durbin to stop blowing smoke about the extreme rhetoric on "both sides"?

At this point, for John McCain or any Republican official to condemn violence and individual acts without specifically calling out rightwing hatemongers like Limbaugh and Beck is just hot air. Worse than hot air, it's covering for today's main purveyors of hatred, fear and violence.

And just a reminder: whether he was a nut or not, the shooter in Tucson didn't go after some local dentist he thought was planting radio transmitters in his teeth or the community college employees with whom he had a beef. He gunned down a Democratic Congresswoman who had been prominently attacked by Sarah Palin and Tea Party fanatics and a federal judge, who along with Congresswoman Giffords had been opposed to the racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant movement being promoted by the Republican Party and their various propaganda outlets today. People he perceived as political liberals, in other words.

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