Inspection- No High Ground, No Pedestal
An open letter to some, not all, on the right.
Immediately after I heard about the shooting at the Republican ball game I checked what various news sources were saying about him, then I went to the Facebook page he was a member of: Terminate the Republican Party. Much has been made of the name, and I must admit: at best a bad choice. But no better than Hillary Clinton is the anti-christ, better than Killing Obama, miles better than Okk/Obama Killing Klub and positively saintly compared to I want to fucking kill cooked Hillary Clinton.
While these groups are small, want to bet that these pages, or other pages just as bad, were quite active when Obama took office and when the 16 campaign started?
Let’s not start with the number of death threats, Put the White Back in the White House signs, and lynchings via hung effigies.
Yes, I agree: the national discourse has reached a nasty fever pitch. What I think many people miss is for every nasty right wing comment nasty left wing comments follow. For every cruel left wing meme many far more cruel right wing memes follow. And it should go without saying that discourse of any kind that might inspire violence is no exclusive property of any one side. But if you want to know who might be more prone to the kind of violence that turned that day into a nightmare you merely have to look at who is more gun oriented, more pro-open carry followed by more pro laws that say all you have to do isclaim you felt threatened to think you have the right to legally murder someone.
It’s a mindset, folks. And that day only proves it can cross ideological divides like any plague.
Links to this column, appearing mostly on more leftward pages, have been on pages where Donald Trump is shown blowing his own brains out and far worse. But that doesn’t mean I support every idiot who posts, anymore than any of the others tens of thousands of members of Terminate support what James T. Hodgkinson did. But criticism of that type rhetoric is fair, and talking about the horrors it inspires. So shall we review?
Rush Limbaugh and “Feminazis” and anti-women rhetoric… how many men have felt enabled by his hatred for women who dare to stand up for their rights?
Remember Bill O’Reilly and “Tiller the Baby Killer?”
How about the mass murderers at the UU Church in Knoxville or The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal in Charleston? They admitted to being inspired by extreme right wing rhetoric of national hosts like O’Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh, as well as on the net.
Want more recent? How about Jeremy Joseph Christian who stabbed two men after screaming anti-Muslim insults at passengers just last week in Portland, Oregon?
What Facebook groups was he a member of? Any hate speech there, or potential hate speech? Is every member of these pages responsible? Are righties all to blame, does it show how violent they “all” are?
You see how absurd this is? But you already knew that. Every time some right wing creep commits one of these acts you revert to your, “But what about individual responsibility?” war cry, and point out the absurdity of blaming everyone in the group. And often that is “absurd,” but apparently this “standard” only applies to those you agree with, the “oh, so superior to everyone else” you.
Problem is: you’re both wrong and right. Just like in the baseball game in shootings the individual should be held responsible. But those who spew the nasty rhetoric have some responsibility too: from “pinheads,” to celebrating the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords by giving away the kind of gun that shot her; shot by mass murder Jared Lee Loughner, who also had mental problems derived from hate the government rhetoric, to Eric Trump saying Democrats aren’t even people. (What are they, cattle for the slaughter, game to be shot?)
Here is my one and only message here for every pretend Christian, fake conservative, phony patriot yet anti-government zealot. I hope you are scared. I hope you realize the many years of violent rhetoric, and actions, on the right might just bring about even more terrible blowback and maybe backing off makes sense. But I don’t expect that. I expect, like I saw when I looked at posters invading the Terminate the Republican Party page, self righteous nastiness that skips over all the years of violent right wing rhetoric. And even worse rhetoric to spew forth from the already rabid foam coated lips on all sides. You see that is what this kind rhetoric, dehumanizing of the other side, refusal to compromise brings about. This war mentality when it comes to politics only inspires people like Loughner and Hodgkinson. And it has become a plague that may exterminate the very freedoms we claim to treasure.
Understand this: you have no moral high ground from which to lecture the left from, no saintly pedestal from which to preach. You may claim righteousness but this kind of self righteousness: from either side, is turning this nation into a prison filled with more and more psychopaths egging each other on.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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