Written by John Aravosis for Americablog.com
Fascinating notion that “both sides do it.” Did our vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, take down a bullseye he had drawn on the districts of GOP members of Congress? Where is the Vice President’s bullseye, like GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s bullseye, if both sides do it?
What Ailes means is that the leadership of the GOP, and their propaganda organ, do “it” all the time – “it” meaning “cross the line of decency” – whereas the occasional person on the left, usually an anonymous commenter on a blog, are the ones who do “it” on the Democratic side. On our side it tends to be an aberration. On their side, the aberration is elevated to the leadership of the party, given its own show on FOX News, or both.
The Republican party, and American conservatives, have a fetish for violent imagery in words and pictures. It’s why Republicans think it funny that their supporters bring guns to Obama rallies. It’s why Glenn Beck can claim on FOX News that President Obama plans to eliminate 10% of the US population in some kind of genocide, and Beck still keeps his job. It’s why Sarah Palin (the woman who coined the phrase “death panels” – suggesting that Democrats, and our president at the lead, had a plot to kill millions of elderly Americans for sport – a ridiculous, and incendiary, notion that was embraced by the leadership of the Republican party and its propaganda organ, FOX News) can put bullseyes on the districts of Democratic members of Congress, and even tell her followers to “lock and reload,” and all the Republicans laugh at how funny the violent imagery and words are.
We on the left have been complaining for years about the right’s embrace of violence, and how its rhetoric feeds America’s already out of control violent culture. There is nothing opportunistic about continuing to express that concern when a congresswoman is almost assassinated (and a federal judge and a 9 year old girl are assassinated) after Sarah Palin put a bullseye on the woman’s district – and refuses to remove the bullseye after the congresswoman expresses the concern that someone may take it as an exhortation to violence.
Has the right been constantly bemoaning a left-wing leadership embrace of violence, and somehow we all missed it?
Anyone who has visited Europe, Western Europe in particular, and especially those of us who have lived there, know all too well how unique America’s culture of violence is. In European capitals you generally don’t worry about walking home alone at 1, even 3, in the morning through deserted neighborhoods. Try that in Washington, DC. And if you do get robbed in Europe, odds are you won’t be hurt. In Washington, odds are you’ll be shot, knifed, or hit in the head – or in my case, they’ll simply try to strangle you to death on a busy street, in a nice neighborhood, at 8 o’clock in the evening.
Yes, we live in a great country. And it has a serious problem with violence. Rather than acknowledging the problem, and steering clear of tempting the metaphorical drunk, as it were, our conservative friends try to tap into the violence, in the hopes it will propel them to victory at the ballot box.
There is no left-wing NRA. There is no vice presidential candidate on the Democratic side who puts bullseyes on the districts of members of Congress he doesn’t like. And there is no Republican presidential nominee who has seen a spike in death threats in part because of the ramblings of the other team’s noise machine and its elected officials.
When you tell people that Democrats in Congress, and the White House, are planning to institute death panels to kill their grandmother, how do you expect them to respond – with roses?
There aren’t two sides to the Republicans’ embrace of guns, violence, and angry mobs. It’s all theirs. And it’s time the media stopped pretending otherwise.
For 40 years — from Dirty Harry onward — the American public has been inundated by the myth that courts and ‘liberal’ judges don’t work, violent criminals constantly walk free on technicalities, and only a mean cop with a hunch and a big gun willing to buck the system can catch the real criminal. That none of this is true — the release of a violent criminal on a technicality is very rare and the hunches of mean cops with big guns are often wrong — is something you’d never know from watching our TV shows and movies. The public has also been conned into thinking, mainly by Republicans and privatized prison firms as well as the popular media, that long sentences and harsh punishment work to ‘solve’ the problem of violent crime, when the truth is the exact opposite. Long sentences and harsh punishment only serve to build better criminals. And, of course, since Nixon, the GOP has exploited the code words of ‘law and order’ to mean keep the minorities in their place and out of white neighborhoods. Yet, in those states with the highest number of lethal executions, worse jails and longest sentences, we see the highest violent crime rates. This culture of myth is the underpinning for what Aravosis is talking about and, as he points out, it has consistently been employed by the GOP to win elections and the right-wing media to implant fear, which then helps the GOP to win elections. Violence, as it says in that book so revered by the alleged Christians of the right, begets violence and, as it also says, you reap what you sow, and that’s what we’re seeing now. They might also take notice of one of the Biblical Commandments they want posted in public buildings across the land: “Thou shalt not kill.”
During the reign of Junior Bush, plenty of lefties wanted him impeached, but I don’t recall any calling for his death, even indirectly, as Fox and Rush do with Obama by calling him all manner of things unAmerican and a Muslim, Commie or socialist tyrant. I also don’t remember any ‘Second Amendment remedies’ talk coming from the progressive side of the debate. This attempt to ‘equalize’ the two sides is as ludicrous as Palin claiming she didn’t intend any reference to guns or violence when she said repeatedly, “Don’t retreat — reload,” or that ‘taking up arms’ just meant using your vote to change the government.