When Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona spoke to the “liberal” MSNBC in March 2010 about her concerns over rhetoric about her assassination, the MSNBC co-hosts couldn’t minimize her concerns quickly enough and asserted (without any examples or proof) that the left wing is just as guilty of wrongdoing as is the right wing as they sang their praises to the god of bipartisanship and centrism. I wonder how the smug co-hosts feel now.
There are a lot of factors that came together and resulted in Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Tucson taking a bullet to the brain on Saturday; not only are there too many factors for me to list here, but there are too many factors for us to even be able to identify. Plenty of people, of course, would love to lay the blame solely and squarely at the feet of Giffords’ would-be assassin, but that not only is factually inaccurate, but to do so only guarantees even more assassination attempts.
Undoubtedly, Jared Lee Loughner, Giffords’ accused attempted assassin, is a troubled young man. Friends have described Loughner as “confrontational, nonlinear and obsessed with how words create reality.” For all of his obsession with words, grammar and (il)literacy, however, his own skills with the English language are lacking, as his online screeds demonstrate. He also has been obsessed with the concept and practice of currency, strongly believing that U.S. currency should exist only in gold and silver — which is, to my recollection, a right-wing and libertarian obsession, but we’ll leave it at that.
This Associated Press article details Loughner’s gradual mental unraveling, but tells of no significant efforts to actually help the obviously mentally ill young man. This is not a surprise, given his environment of the red state of Arizona, where all that matter are profits, not people, and where, therefore, social services are virtually nil.
(I know: I spent the first three decades of my life in that God-forsaken state, which appropriately has been dubbed “Tombstone” or the [new] Wild West, or at least, as the sheriff of the county where Giffords was shot put it, “the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” [And it is that, which is one of the reasons that I haven’t set foot in that state since I left it 12 years ago, even though the majority of my relatives still live there.])
Loughner also grew up in a nation dominated by baby boomers, who as a group (and as parents, teachers, employers, et. al.) never have made responsibly raising our nation’s young people a priority. It always has been, and it always will be, as long as they still live to be able to be thorns in our asses, all about the boomers, and therefore, way too many of our young people, like Loughner, end up on their own, falling through the cracks and finding themselves at the ends of their ropes.
And then there are the media.
If you watch just one video clip regarding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ ordeal, you should watch her interview on MSNBC in March 2010, when several Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Giffords, had just had their offices vandalized and had received threats after they voted to pass the health-care reform bill.
In the clip, MSNBC’s God-awful Chuck Todd, whom I despise because he acts as though he knows everything when, in fact, he’s a fucking retard, casually blows off Giffords’ stated concern about the fact that Repugnican Tea Party queen Sarah Palin-Quayle recently had put Giffords on her hit list of 20 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives who should be taken out because they live in conservative-leaning congressional districts but voted for the health-care reform bill.
Giffords specifically states in her interview that Palin-Quayle’s use of a graphic on the Internet including “the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district” concerns her, adding, perhaps presciently, “When people do that, they’ve got to realize there [are] consequences to that action.”
Todd immediately shoots Giffords down (pun intended), cannot minimize her just-stated concern quickly enough, fucktardedly countering her, “In fairness, campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangeable for years.”
Except that this wasn’t “war rhetoric” — this was assassination rhetoric. Big fucking difference, Chucky.
Never before was it ever acceptable for a former vice presidential candidate to advise her followers not to “retreat” but to “RELOAD!” and to indicate, on the Internet, her political targets’ congressional districts on a map of the United States with graphics of gun-sight crosshairs.
Never before was it ever acceptable for a candidate for the U.S. Senate to talk about “Second-Amendment remedies” to deal with her and her supporters’ political foes.
Again, this isn’t the rhetoric of battle or war — this is the rhetoric of assassination.
Chuck Todd’s co-host, a bubble-headed woman whose name I don’t know, in an incredibly stupid attempt to be a centrist on crack, stupidly suggests to Giffords that perhaps Democrats are just using these attacks on Democratic lawmakers for political gain!
Wow. So I suppose that the attacks by wingnuts on the Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives for their votes on a piece of legislation should not have been reported at all — you know, to avoid politicizing the issue! Must! Be! Fair! And! Balanced!
The minimizing-fest continues, however, as even Giffords herself talks about “extremes on both sides, frankly, not just on the Republican side” — apparently so as not to piss off even further those on the right, even though neither Giffords nor her two co-hosts list one act of violence or intimidation against an elected official by a Democrat or by anyone else on the left.
And then Chuck Fucking Todd, not to be outdone by his centrist-on-crack co-host, ends the interview by practically jizzing in his pants as he reflects that Giffords’ congressional district is “probably one of the most perfectly balanced swing districts in the country.” Utopia!
And less than a year after the smug MSNBC talking heads incredibly stupidly and irresponsibly blew off Giffords’ concerns and bizarrely turned the discussion about the dangerous rhetoric of assassination into a bipartisan kumbaya moment, Giffords took a bullet to the brain.
Chuck Todd and his bubble-headed co-host pretty much threw Gabrielle Giffords, as a human sacrifice, to the god of centrism that they slavishly worship.
And MSNBC is supposedly a member of the “liberal” media.
But don’t blame them!
These things just happen!
In a vacuum!
Within no social context whatsofuckingever!
The irresponsibility in the media, the gross journalistic malpractice, continues even after Giffords took a bullet to the brain on Saturday.
The Daily Beast immediately concluded that we can’t blame Sarah Palin-Quayle for Giffords’ shooting! — even though Palin-Quayle had put out there the idea, the concept, of assassinating Giffords and 19 other Democratic lawmakers. The Daily Beast’s centrist-on-crack columnist Howard Kurtz concluded that “This isn’t about a nearly year-old Sarah Palin map [yes, indeed, less than 10 full months is a very long time here in the United States of Amnesia!]; it’s about a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life,” and also noted:
Liberals were quick to denounce Palin at the time of the map posting. And after Giffords’ Tucson office was vandalized that same month, the Democratic congresswoman told MSNBC, “We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is, the way she has it depicted it has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. And when people do that, they’ve got to realize there are consequences to that action.”
Giffords had every right to ask Palin and others to tone it down. But is it now fair for the rest of us to tie Palin to the accused gunman, Jared Lee Loughner?
Let’s be honest: Journalists often use military terminology in describing campaigns. We talk about the air war, the bombshells, targeting politicians, knocking them off, candidates returning fire or being out of ammunition. So we shouldn’t act shocked when politicians do the same thing. Obviously, Palin should have used dots or asterisks on her map. But does anyone seriously believe she was trying to incite violence?
Yes, actually, I do. Or, minimally, I believe, her frame of mind was that it wouldn’t much have troubled her conscience if someone actually did take out someone she’d listed on her hit list. Nor do I believe that she’s really that sorry about what happened to Giffords. Palin-Quayle is a sociopath, and sociopaths by definition have no empathy for others; they care only about their own ego-filled agendas. Palin-Quayle for political purposes would offer her condolences, of course, but does she feel it? I don’t think so. I don’t think that that woman feels much of anything — except for her own lust for power.
To assert that Giffords’ attempted assassination was caused solely by “a lone nutjob who doesn’t value human life,” as The Daily Beast’s Kurtz did, is beyond bullshit. It wholly ignores the social context in which Loughner grew up and in which he has lived, an environment itself in which human life is not valued, an environment in which our young people are seen only as opportunities for profit-making (as overcharged consumers and as wage slaves), as cogs in the wheels of capitalitism, and as cannon fodder. It blames Loughner, a victim of this environment, for all of the evils of this environment, while society, the system, as usual, gets off scot-fucking-free, and we can all go back to our mindless consumption now!
We spiritually dead Americans sure love our scapegoats!
The “argument” that we’re seeing now is that Palin-Quayle didn’t specifically publicly proclaim that “Someone should shoot Gabrielle Giffords in the head!” — and therefore, Palin-Quayle is blameless! (Even though she took down her hit list with the map with the gun-sight crosshairs on it after Giffords was shot in the head on Saturday!)
Fact is, when a former vice presidential candidate uses the rhetoric of assassination and links this rhetoric to an actual list of actual elected officials, this is not the “harmless,” commonly used, wholly acceptable “military” or “war” rhetoric used in politics that Howard Kurtz and Chuck Todd claim it is. Are the two of them fucking liars or are they actually that fucking stupid?
And when asswipes assert that Democrats and those of us on the left are just as guilty as are Repugnican Tea Partiers and those on the right of the use of assassination rhetoric and in actual acts of violence and intimidation, they need to fucking cite actual examples of Democratic or left-wing sins. It’s not fucking good enough to vaguely assert that “both sides are equally guilty” when, in fact, this is demonstrably fucking false.
For now, Jared Lee Loughner isn’t talking. We don’t know if he was inspired by Sarah Palin-Quayle’s assassination rhetoric or not, but if he never saw her hit-list map with the gun-sight crosshairs and never received her accompanying Tweet to “RELOAD!”, perhaps he did see the advertisement for Gabrielle Giffords’ Repugnican Tea Party opponent’s fundraiser in June that read: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly.”
See, Kelly talked about “removing Gabrielle Giffords from office” and “shooting a fully automatic M15” in the same advertisement, but what a streeeeeeeeetch! it is to assert that one could interpret the ad as advocating gun violence against Gabrielle Giffords! No! This is perfectly acceptable political rhetoric! You see it all the time!
I have yet to see a single Democratic or other left-leaning political candidate use rhetoric like this, but we’re told by the kumbaya corporate media — “in fairness”! — that “both sides are equally guilty!”
One of the questions that Americans are asking themselves now is whether or not Giffords’ shooting will tone down, forever, the political rhetoric of violence.
It’s a stupid question because the answer to the question is obvious: The rhetoric of violence and even of assassination of one’s political opponents will die down for a little while, but here in the United States of Amnesia it won’t be long before that rhetoric is ratcheted up again, and we can, I believe, expect more assassination attempts.
We can expect this because nothing has changed. The corporately owned and controlled media are still singing the praises of centrism and bipartisanship, are still saying, without offering any actual evidence, that both sides, left and right, are equally guilty of violent rhetoric and acts of violence and intimidation, and, most of all and worst of all, we’re still asserting that when someone finally snaps in our environment of our own making in which human life is so fucking cheap and he kills someone, it was all his fault, he was just a bad apple — and our society is just fine!
The only thing that surprises me, frankly, is that in our toxic national environment — for which no one is reponsible except, of course, its victims — it took this long for an assassination attempt to happen.