Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tucson Shooting Aftermath

[Originally posted at the Mudflats Forum; more music tomorrow]

I finally figured out one of the things that's made me so angry since the shooting happened in Tucson.

I don't think anyone has said that Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc. are directly responsible for the shootings (and anyone who has said that is wrong).

What really bothers me is that so much of the country seems to have given up on the idea that leaders should set an example.

So the Right talks endlessly about how the shooter was mentally ill and there's no direct connection to right-wing hate speech, since Palin and the others didn't directly tell him to kill.

Have our standards gotten so low that "not directly telling someone to kill" is considered acceptable?

Or admirable?

Or Presidential?

Palin (and Beck and the others) could have said at any point "this isn't right. This isn't how we settle differences in America. We're not savages."

But they don't do that. They stoke the hatred, then step back and deny any responsibility for what happened.

And maybe they're legally right. There's probably nothing that could prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law that Palin (and her ilk) caused the violence.

But "not directly telling someone to kill" is a horrible standard for leadership. It's certainly not good enough for someone who presents herself as a potential president.

John McCain (who's done many things I find reprehensible) at least recognized this fact late in the Presidential campaign when a woman at his event said Obama was an Arab and not an American. To his credit, McCain acted like a leader in that moment -- he intervened. He corrected the crazed woman. He refused to let evil and prejudice stand unchallenged.

Maybe we'll never again see a leader as bold as a Bobby Kennedy. But our standards as a country have to be higher than "not directly telling someone to kill" or else we're doomed.


Anonymous said...


whiteray said...

This is the best thing I've read about this whole sad and sorry episode. Thank you!

Alex said...

Thanks Whiteray & Mr. (Ms.?) Anon.