Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spineless Dishonesty

by Dick Mac

OK, so it's mental illness.

For argument's sake, we will say that the Tucson massacre has absolutely no connection to the violent imagery and language of the Tea Party. We'll say that a registered Republican in Arizona who owns guns has heard nothing in the past year about using gun violence and Second Amendment remedies to change the political make-up of the United States Congress.

That is, we will say that this person lived in a protective bubble of his own mental illness. I say this is quite possible. Mental illness, whether organic or induced by substance abuse, is a real and serious problem.

This is one of the lines being proffered by the Tea Party and their promoters/apologists. It's sad, though, to watch the extreme right-wing acknowledge mental illness as a problem when it suits their needs, but are wholly dismissive of it as an actual problem in our nation. But that's a different story, isn't it!

From Jon Stewart to Bill O'Reilly, talking heads are telling us that it is both sides that are responsible for the violent rhetoric; and I beg to differ. Although we can certainly find isolated incidents of Democrats and/or liberals using gun terms as descriptors, it is folly (bordering on insane) to compare those incidents to the constant, perpetual gun and gun violence imagery used by the Tea Party from signs at rallies to advertisements to actual interviews.

Sure, let's come to an agreement that we will all stop using the language of guns and gun violence in our political discourse; but let's not pretend that both sides of the political divide have been equally responsible for it. That is irresponsible.

One of the most irritating dynamics of all this is the spinelessness of the Tea Party, their supporters and apologists. They have used this tough guy language to set themselves apart from the rest of us; to make themselves seem tougher: tougher on crime, tougher on reform, tougher on budgeting; tougher on protecting our children; tougher on protecting the sanctity of marriage. The Tea Party and those who are exploiting the fervor whipped-up by the Tea Party, have used this rhetoric very effectively. Now that this tough-guy attitude is thrust into the limelight, correctly or incorrectly, the Tea Party and their followers suddenly distance themselves from it.

Oh, we didn't mean that kind of taking-out; we didn't mean that kind of Second Amendment remedy; we didn't mean reload a gun, we meant the other kind of "taking-out" and "Second Amendment remedies"!

One of Palin's minions, a woman named Rebecca Mansour, has actually insisted that the cross-hairs Palin's team placed over twenty Congressional districts during the last election were not actually gun sight cross-hairs, they were surveyor's marks.

WHAT?!?!?! You spineless teabagger! That's your explanation? We are supposed to believe that?

The Tea Party is so tough on crime and so serious about protecting the Second Amendment that they will take a surveyor's level and . . . do what? Measure the height of the terrain on which they plan to build a statue of Glenn Beck? What is the Tea Party going to do with the data collected when using a surveyor's level to measure Arizona's 8th District?

This is typical conservative behavior. They do no have the courage of their convictions. Instead of saying: "My God, we had no idea it would come to this, let's make some changes," they have circled the wagons and started lying (which is what they do best) in an attempt to deflect negative publicity.

The Tea Party apologists would have us believe that mental illness is the reason why the lone nihilistic gunman decided to massacre a group of people, that the violent rhetoric and violent culture promoted by the Tea Party in the past year has had no cultural impact on us, and that a leader of the Tea Party is using surveyor's marks to highlight her point about promoting political change in our nation.

Have a spine! Have the courage of your convictions. I'm not saying that this incident is your fault, per se; but don't insult me by saying that your promotion of gun violence and use of gun imagery is all a big misunderstanding. Don't pretend that you have had no role in raising the level of violent rhetoric in our political discourse. Hold your ground! Have some fortitude. Be strong. Don't slither away like snakes under a rock until the problems go away.

Or do. The true colors of Tea Party Leaders is showing. In Alaska, the ice is yellow. A spineless, dishonest leader is hiding from her own success.


In Aftermath of Shooting: Calls for Security, Civility, at The Wall Street Journal

Palin, Amid Criticism, Stays in Electronic Comfort Zone, at The New York Times

What a Crooked Cross Sarah Palin Bears, at Esquire Magazine

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