If this is the 100th piece you’ve read in regards to the horrible tragedy that occurred in Tucson, Arizona, last weekend, I offer a sincere apology of understanding. After reading a number of columns myself, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s very unlikely we’ll see an admittance of any guilt or culpability by the right wing of this country, or any half-hearted attempt at an apology from conservative radio and tv personalities on behalf of conservative media.
The truth is, the most rational among us neither need nor expect an apology from right wing political forces. News that the infamous and overly discussed Sarah Palin toned down her website after the shooting in Arizona is assurance that she at least gets it, although she’ll never publicly admit it. Palin recently posted on Facebook, which of course is being reported on a myriad of websites, that violent metaphors are nothing more than violent metaphors. “When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Am I reaching to say that she and her political council intentionally chose the branch of her political rhetoric that presented her in the defensive, rather than the offensive and aggressive “Don’t retreat, RELOAD?”
Despite my criticisms of Sarah Palin, I don’t blame her for the tragedy. Her response does, however, further expose the hollowness of her commitment to American liberty. The usage of crosshairs as a way to target political districts is the Palin brand’s transparent attempt at targeting the appeals of gun toting, second amendment crazies that spend too much time defending the right to carry superfluous firearms, and too little time reading the rest of the Constitution. Americans with guns on the brain do not seem the least bit interested in reinstating habeas corpus or ending the use of torture for the end result of bad information and dubious confessions. Americans with brown skin terrorists on their mind and who have simultaneously gotten this deep into my piece are now screaming “Terrorists don’t deserve the same rights!” and “Julian Assange is a terrorist and he should be executed!” Do they ever wonder why we continue to torture and continue to utilize bad information from guilty-before-proven-innocent “terrorists?” Could it be that the practice fuels our wars?
The right wing is shameless and pathetic. Sean Hannity prefaces a response of appall and surprise with expressions of sadness and sorrow over the tragic shooting to a screened-caller who rips him in an unfortunately near-illiterate manner. Hannity then mechanically follows the indignant call with a full-court press on why the left in this country has every reason to be on the defensive. A streamlined catalog of audio clips plays such “nasty” remarks from Ed Schultz, “We’re going to kick some ass!” and Ray Nagin, “New Orleans will be a chocolate city!” But wait a minute, Sean. In the spirit of Sarah Palin, “look, when we talk about a ‘chocolate city,’ what we mean is that the rivers and lakes that run through the city will be made of milk chocolate, and little fat boys from Germany will eagerly scoop it up in the palm of their hands, only to fall in and be shot up a conduit tube.”
It should be noted that the Sean Hannity radio show had continuously exposed a disturbing form of chauvinism during show interludes before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was relegated to House Minority Leader. Her purported fallibility and weakness as Speaker was simulated and accented by female shrieks, tantamount to a woman being mugged or chased by a rapist in a dark alley.
Last but not the least bit surprising was the conspicuous censoring on Fox News of a man at a candelight vigil in Tucson, Arizona. Fox went to commercial immediately after “Sarah Palin” spilled out of the man’s mouth. He was clearly on the road to criticizing her.
In the end, maybe the “emotional consistency” (as Chris Hedges calls it) that Fox News transmits to the most gullible Americans will transcend into a silent retreat. The organ of the Republican Party and conservative values–manufactured as they may be–will never admit it had any role in last weekend’s events, nor will it ever correlate the Arizona shooter, Jared Loughner, with conservative values and/or portray his actions as a response to conservative rhetoric. But let us hope that the “gratuitous,” widespread criticism that the right of this country is experiencing right now, compels it to change its style, tone and format.