When a man went on a shooting rampage in Arizona on Saturday, many liberals immediately blamed the tragedy on what they consider to be our "extreme" political environment. But are liberals using this tragedy to reinforce their own extreme notion of "acceptable" politics?
The violence in Tucson that took the lives of six people and injured 12, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was the fault (allegedly) of one man: Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old loner with apparent mental health issues. As for his politics or philosophy, The New York Times reported Saturday that Loughner's former classmate Caitie Parker wrote on her Twitter account that "he was left-wing, quite liberal, and oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy." Elsewhere he was described as being "anti-government." Loughner listed that two of his favorite books were The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Obviously, Loughner's mixed political reading list doesn't exactly scream "Tea Party."
And it's also uncertain if Loughner likes Sarah Palin, and yet this didn't stop liberals from trying to blame the shooting on the former Alaska governor, whose political action group SarahPAC ran television ads during the midterm election with a target over Democrat Rep. Giffords' district, as well as those in other swing districts, the purpose being to show that these politicians were being targeted for defeat in the elections. And repeatedly, we were told that the use of such "violent" imagery or rhetoric encouraged this tragedy.
Markos Moulitsas of the liberal news site the Daily Kos summed up the shooting with this remark: "Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin." Meanwhile, Arizona Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva also blamed the Tea Party movement. He said, "[When] you stoke these flames, and you go to public meetings and you scream at the elected officials, you threaten them. You make us expendable. You make us part of the cannon fodder. For a while, you've been feeding this hatred, this division."
I am a member of the right wing that regularly encourages the Tea Party and others to speak up and get mad about what our federal government is doing. But the notion that I, Palin, Glenn Beck, or any other conservative pundit is somehow responsible for the shooting in Tucson is absurd. It's completely illogical.
"Targeting" politicians for electoral defeat is an innocent and well-established part of the American political lexicon. It has been used by the Right and Left for decades, if not longer. In fact, the Daily Kos once "targeted" Giffords, using imagery and rhetoric not unlike Palin's over the congresswoman's opposition to Obamacare. One Daily Kos blogger even had this to say about Giffords after the moderate Democrat opposed Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Leader: "My Congresswoman voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now dead to me!"
Should the feminist Left, as represented by the Daily Kos, be held accountable for their rhetoric encouraging the Tucson shooting? Of course not. And it would be ridiculous to suggest such a thing, as the Left now does in trying to tie Loughner to Palin and the Tea Party.
But this is how liberals think. This is how their political faith dictates their own facts regardless of the actual issues at hand. To liberals, terms like "states' rights" are never about decentralizing power or the 10th amendment; it's exclusively code used by racists. And phrases like "take our country back" couldn't possibly mean that those who use it want a return to constitutional government. For liberals, it's a phrase used by white supremacists and militia members. And in the wake of this tragedy, to "target" any politician will now be considered a subliminal, call-to-arms for right-wingers to go on a shooting spree.
But consider this statement from then-candidate Barack Obama discussing how he might counter Republican attacks during the 2008 presidential race: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." Was Obama suggesting that Democrats shoot Republicans? Did his "violent" rhetoric stoke actual violence? To both, the answer is no.
There have always been, and always will be, nut jobs who are willing to commit terrorist acts in the name of a cause or no cause at all — Left, Right, or apolitical. Was the infamous Unabomber the fault of the environmentalist Left and Al Gore? When Obama supporter Amy Bishop went on a shooting spree at the University of Alabama last year, was she inspired by Obama's gun rhetoric? And how does Loughner's appreciation for Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler, and 2012 prophecies even remotely relate to the Tea Party?
The real correlation concerning the Tea Party is not an uptick in violence — there hasn't been any — but the shameless depths to which liberals will sink in order to marginalize this conservative grassroot movement. Liberals will continue to pull no punches in attacking the Tea Party every chance they get. And their nonsensical take on the tragedy in Arizona is simply the latest new low.
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