Thursday, March 25, 2010

Examples abound

Earlier today I said “…responsible people in the Republican Party and among the teabaggers must denounce violence unequivocally.” That still hasn’t happened.

Yesterday, former half-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin posted on her Twitter account, "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - 'RELOAD!' Pls see my Facebook page." RELOAD? Whatever could she mean?

On her Facebook page, she wrote (well, someone wrote for her): “We’re going to reclaim the power of the people from those who disregarded the will of the people.” She goes on to say that her political fundraising campaign is going after 20 Democrats who voted yes on healthcare reform, US Representatives from Districts that Palin/McCain carried in the 2008 election. She then adds: “We’ll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo…” Aim? Salvo?

The graphic they posted (above) used riflescope graphics to show who they’re targeting—literally, apparently. That doesn’t dampen down the violent rhetoric: It inflames it.

What about real Republican leaders, ones who haven’t quit their elective offices? Mostly absolute silence, but US House Minority Leader John Boehner had a fluffy interview on Fox “news”, the perfect opportunity to denounce violence unequivocally. Instead, he told Fox entertainer Megyn Kelly:

"…there are a lot of angry Americans and they are angry over this health care bill. They’re angry about the fact that the Democrats here in Washington aren’t listening to them. But I’ve got to tell you that violence and threats are unacceptable." [emphasis added]

Boehner’s soundbite is exactly the sort of thing Republicans have been playing: Pretending to denounce violence while simultaneously verbally attacking Democrats. It’s pure dog whistle politics: He’s pretending to denounce violence while actually inflaming it, he can claim to mainstream Americans that he denounced violence, while telling his base on the far right that Democrats deserve whatever they get. Then, if or when violence happens, he thinks he can claim he denounced violence.

Denouncing violence only with equivocation is no denunciation at all. Fanning the flames of violence, as the former half-term governor did, is absolutely irresponsible. If these people don’t step up to this challenge, then we’ll all know that there are no rational, responsible people left in the right wing.

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