As Sarah Palin has become more strident, more vocal, more filled with hate-rhetoric and, yes, quite frankly crazier-sounding, many of us feared her violence-filled rhetoric would only end in tragedy. Today that fear was borne out in the Tucson, Arizona shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, one of the Democrats on a ‘hit list’ Sarah Palin published on her website late last year.
As well as that ‘hit list’, Sarah Palin in subsequent weeks also asked voters to ‘reload and aim’ at Democrats – Gabrielle Giffords being one of them. She even published a graphic of certain districts on a US map, with those districts covered over with a graphic of the crosshairs of a gun. One of those districts was that of Gabrielle Giffords. At the time, several prominent Democrats accused Palin of ‘inciting violence’.
Now, with Palin connected to hate-filled rhetoric that could be partially responsible for today’s shooting of Giffords, the death of a federal judge and a nine year old girl, as well as the deaths of four others, is Sarah Palin’s political career over? Right-thinking individuals would hope so, but don’t underestimate extreme right-wingers themselves, the Tea Party and its supporters in America today.
Unfortunately, in modern America, hate speech and hate rhetoric has gained a foothold in the media and has become somewhat ‘acceptable’. Unlike in many other developed countries, where this type of speech is not protected under “free speech” and thus not allowed, in America it is.
Fanned by the Tea Party, by ‘personalities’ like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, and by wanna-be political candidates like Sarah Palin, in recent months this hate speech has gone completely out of control. Many, like Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, now believe hate speech, a la Sarah Palin, on the radio and television is connected to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.
But, while those of us to the left of the political spectrum not only think the hate speech of people like Palin is outrageous and cannot understand why a supposedly civilized country would allow it, let alone seriously consider someone like this for the Presidency of the United States, many to the right are still saying this type of speech should be protected. Which is why, although Palin is currently being criticized for her connection to Gabrielle Giffords and possibly to her shooting, her political career may not be over. In fact it could still resurrect itself.
The hate-filled rhetoric of so many US political candidates recently is why I’ve come to believe the America I first knew when I moved there from England 30 years ago is unfortunately not the America of today. A country that allows someone like Sarah Palin, who spews hate-filled rhetoric, to still be seriously considered a candidate for political office is a country that will continue to have these types of violent acts perpetrated against its citizens and public officials, and a country that will reap what it sows.
On the eve of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, the murder of Federal Judge John Roll, the murder of a nine year old girl, the murder of four other innocent Americans and the shooting of twelve others, every right-thinking American should consider this – if what happened today in Tucson, Arizona is not an event you want repeated in a country where your children and grandchildren will grow up – then stand up, denounce hate-filled speech in the political arena and, most importantly, denounce people like Sarah Palin.
If not and the political career of Sarah Palin and those like her prove not to be over, whatever happens in the future, you only have yourselves to blame.
Sarah Palin criticized over Gabrielle Giffords Presence on “Target List” – CBS News