The cover of the current issue of The Stranger of Seattle, via Salon.com.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lies in a hospital bed in Tucson with a bullet having sliced through her brain. The extent of her future recovery is unknown.
But who is the victim in this?
In a propagandistic defensive statement, Palin-Quayle actually claims that for anyone to point out that she had listed Giffords on her mapped hit list of 20 Democratic members of Congress is to “manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”
Tell you what: When Sarah Palin-Quayle takes a bullet to the brain, then I’ll buy that argument.
Palin-Quayle in her defensive statement also rehashes a supposed quote from Ronald Reagan repeating the myth that everytime someone commits a criminal act, it occurs in a vacuum:
President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.
Yes, Jared Lee Loughner is responsible for his actions. No doubt. But he acted within a social context. In gun-loving Arizona, it was way too easy for him to purchase a gun and ammo. We can thank the Repugnican Tea Party, the party of the gun nuts that controls Arizona, for that.
In a written statement before he tried to assassinate her, Loughner referred to Giffords as a “bitch.” He apparently is misogynist. Listen to right-wing talk radio and you’ll discover that misogynistic comments made by stupid, chauvinistic white male commentators (such as Rush Limbaugh’s “femi-Nazi”) abound.
Minimally, Loughner apparently grew up in an environment in which firearms are worshipped and in which women, especially Democratic or left-leaning women, are “bitches.”
So I have to disagree with Ronald Reagan and with Sarah Palin-Quayle (who is no Ronald Reagan): Yes, society can be guilty, too. And it often, if not usually, is.
Palin-Quayle in her bullshit defense mentions “maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle” (emphasis mine). Oh, really? Someone please inform me of a single Democratic or left-leaning candidate for political office who used the equivalent assassination rhetoric and imagery that Sarah Palin-Quayle did. One. Name one.
Again, when someone one the right or in the center asserts that the left is just as guilty, we need to insist that these lying wingnuts show us actual examples.
Sarah Palin-Quayle should have taken responsibility for her poor judgment for having used the imagery and rhetoric of the assassination of public officials. And she should have apologized.
Instead, not only does she insist that she did nothing wrong — indeed, she falsely claims that everybody does it! — but she claims that she is the victim here.
No, she isn’t. Gabrielle Giffords and several other victims of gun violence in a state dominated by a party that worships firearms are the victims here.
We already knew that Sarah Palin-Quayle is utterly unqualified to hold public office. This should be the final nail in her political coffin.
P.S. These are probably the best editorial cartoons I’ve seen on the topic:
Cartoonist Mike Stanfill deserves a much larger audience than he apparently has.