Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Man Up, Sarah Palin

The shootings in Arizona, a tragic event that has brought the nation momentarily to its senses, has also stoked a new fight over who or what is to blame for the senseless act of a madman. There is no doubt that Loughner is a delusional young man in the grips of schizophrenia. The roots of his particular condition are hidden from casual commentators and beyond the scope of a blog post. Many reporters have pointed to the suburban ennui and decay of his Tucson neighborhood, his reclusive parents, his drift into drug use and conspiracy theories, as contributing factors. But the belligerent political rhetoric of the right, using visual images of gun fetishists in its propaganda, inciteful, accusatory and personally vilifying speech and actual gun toting protesters at political rallies, must have certainly added to Loughner's deranged plans of action. Sarah Palin's controversial crosshairs web page targeting Congresswoman Giffords, taken down in the hours after the shootings, are the smoking gun for irresponsible hate-mongering that led us to this moment.
Rhetoric on the right is now wriggling away from accepting responsibility. It is true that there is no direct link between Loughner and political groups, but it would be nice to hear centrists like David Brooks acknowledge the violent and undemocratic underpinnings of recent Republican and Tea Party imagery and speech that led a kook to act out the hate that has us in its grip.
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