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January 9, 2011

29

in the cross-hairs

by Andrea O'Connell

When the vitriolic rhetoric of some Americans in politics, in radio, or in television, graphically targets others, using cross-hairs on a hate map, we are in trouble.

When horrific hate-talk threatens the very essence of sensibility and civility, the rights that we cherish are in danger.  Political hate-talk, if left unchecked, threatens what Thomas Jefferson called our rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

We constantly hear angry mouthpieces like Sarah Palin who cry, “Don’t retreat, reload.” And Bill O’Reily, Rush, Joyce Kaufman, and their ilk, who sensationalize hate and killing and guns using maps and websites that brazenly depict political districts as if they were war-zones.  What does this say about us as a country?

Why do we allow our government servants to target one another by virtue of a political bent?

What can we do when politicians or talking heads say things like: “if ballots don’t work bullets will?”

I don’t have an answer.  But, I would ask the people who are the mouthpieces in this country to realize that people listen to them, and take seriously their hate talk. People who are not quite all there mentally, who can buy a gun as easily as I buy chewing gum, to settle imagined or delusional scores, do listen to you. Words ARE weapons.

I feel helpless in this fight.  I stand by and watch this hate and ignorance spread and feel hopeless because there seem to be so few answers.  And, those in government who do have answers, aren’t talking.

I hope and pray that, as a result of yesterday’s tragedy in Tuscon, Arizona, we will let dialogue, not diatribe, stretch and reach out across the land, silencing the hatred that political animosity has created – is creating.

We need to take some deep, deep breaths in this country. Let’s regain our civility as a people, as a nation of human beings with empathy for the common good. Of course, good for one does not translate into good for all, but we can start with civility.

Let’s hope that our 112th Congress, as they take this coming week off to regroup after the tragic events in Tuscon, will put aside their political brains and use their human brains to realize that hate speech engenders more hate, and more hate, and more hate and more hate until we become a nation of gun-toting, trigger-haired, lunatics.

Listen to Keith Olberman.

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sherry
    Jan 9 2011

    Ok. I can agree for the most part with Keith Olberman. But! It seems to me this an opportunity to attack conservatives’ speech. Yes, these conservatives need to tone down their rhetoric and use less “hateful” words when expressing their opinions but so do the likes of Farakhan and Obama’s former pastor!

    We need to see that hateful speech is not just an exclusive activity by the conservatives! Let’s demand the same from the Jesse Jacksons and NPR talking heads of the political world, too.

    Here is an article written by a columnist for the Boston Globe who has put in many years of reporting the liberals’ double standard:

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2003/12/28/hate_speech_of_the_left/

    Let’s hope this tragedy will open the eyes of all political fronts to watch what they say. Our right to free speech means it is to be responsible speech, not just anything we want to say no matter who it hurts though we gain much by it. Thumbs up, Andrea, for this post!

    Reply
    • Jan 9 2011

      Hi Sherry! I think the hate speech has been across both sides of the aisle, but the most viscous being with the ultra right wing. I am like you, hoping that this tragedy will open all eyes to the reality that words to have consequences and we must be mindful of it – well, political mouthpieces must be mindful. Thanks for the link to the article, too…my only concern with it, however, is the date it was written: 2003…. BUT, after just reading it, I must say it is still relevant. So much has changed since then, not for the better however. But, we must continue to have hope. But, this tragedy in Tuscon is so desperately sad… The lovely little girl, the Chief Judge, and all the others… We can only hope that their families know they’re in our prayers.

      Reply
      • Sherry
        Jan 9 2011

        Oh my, I believe the worst is with the ultra left wingers! 😯

        This gunman/assasin was anti-government and anti semetic and, quite honestly, I don’t believe he was influenced by any talkinghead of today since I know of none with those ideals on either side of the fence. It seems he was upset about governmental grammar control, whatever that is, and so I suppose he could have flipped over the censorship of Mark Twain’s novel (Huck Finn, or was it Tom Sawyer?). He was a loose cannon and any excuse would do to carry out his evil plans. .

        I just think its interesting how the liberals jumped on the chance to exploit this tragedy to lecture conservatives and show them in a bad light when they damn sure need to look in their own backyard first. I’m no Palin fan but her target on that (hate?) map was to target an area of concern but leave it to liberal talkingheads to use it in a twisted form to degrade her and conservatives. If Oberlin was sincere and truly agendaless in his spiel then he would have noted liberals who have done the same. That’s OK, I’m sure that Limbaugh and Beck and O’Reilly will shoot back, too. And so it goes, on and on…

      • weezie
        Jan 9 2011

        Sherry; You are right about the talking heads. They never shut up. The war is on and incited by its’ very own culprits. It’s, who is the top banana of the political satirist? I’m starting think cartoons might have more message than the t.v. gods.

      • Sherry
        Jan 9 2011

        ITA, Weezie. Its mudslinging in politics and talk shows, lol~

  2. weezie
    Jan 9 2011

    I think because the shocking reality of such a crime happened in broad daylight, to a congresswoman, holding a town rally, set the whole networks ablaze. It was like lightening hit the whole country and the talking heads were so dumbfounded, they were saying things emotionally without regard for the effects it would have on such abnormal people, with gun fixations and an anti political charge. Wc an’t stop free speech, but we should expect more of our news journalists and political employees. First of all it’s a total tragedy that freedom once again is being challenged by an insane youth. There are copycats out there and that is the real danger. No matter what side of the argument you join, the fact is, U.S. is becoming more dangerous with the everyday use of handguns. Is it so trite to think that abolishment wouldn’t assist in such dangers? I live in Canada. There is a gun registry and it continues to be a bane of discussion, but so far it’s still in place. Doing something is better than doing nothing because we fear the rights of our citizens. What about the right to walk freely without a sniper waiting in the bushes or behind a slab of concrete, taking aim at the very freedoms for which this country is built upon? If someone or if people don’t stand up to this new development, it will only linger and smoulder and get bigger. JMO

    Reply
    • Jan 9 2011

      I happen to agree with you, Weezie. I believe the Second Amendment to our US Constitution, “The right to bear arms” needs to be changed to fit the times. Unfortunately, we have the NRA (National Rifle Assoc.) who are so powerful, and have so much money, attempts to stop the spread of guns in this country have been fruitless. I agree that it will get bigger – it’s too big now. People need to feel free to walk about and meet with their political representatives, and US Representatives have to be out in the public, addressing their constituents face to face. That’s the job of the Representatives – to listen to the people, represent them, fight for them….
      It’s just so sad, so desperately sad…. I’ve been heart sick since yesterday over this…..

      Reply
      • weezie
        Jan 9 2011

        Andrea; I’m so sorry you are having a hard time. It’s so scary when you think your freedoms are melting away. There’s one silver lining if I can call it that. Palin’s out, no matter how attractive she might appear to the Conservative rights. Her bull’s eye fiasco is about as dumb as Lindsay Lohan and her f.u on her fingernails (IN COURT!) Since when did gun toting become a popular sport in politics, let alone psychotic activist’s.

        I’m making you a cake (double layer chocolate). Oh it’s in the mail. lol

      • Jan 13 2011

        You’re so sweet to bake me a cake, Weezie! Yum yum yum!

  3. weezie
    Jan 9 2011

    I just finished listening to Keith Olberman. Wow. Very very right on.

    Reply
  4. Sunny
    Jan 11 2011

    Oberman did admit to saying something about then Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and he apologized and said he should have never said it. Did you listen to the whole clip Sherry?

    That was a great article Andrea and thanks for the video.

    Reply
    • Sherry
      Jan 11 2011

      Yes, I did. It was still an exploitation of a tragedy for the sake of dissing Palin and conservatives. Shameful.

      Reply
    • weezie
      Jan 11 2011

      Sunny; It’s about time someone apologized to good ole Hils. Don’t you think she’s earned her stripes by now? She’s the hardest working politician as far as I can see, and all they do is slam her. It’s a pity but I’m glad he was man enough to admit his mistakes.

      Reply
    • Jan 11 2011

      Hi Sunny! I do like what Olberman has to say. Although, I don’t entirely believe that some of the right extremists are to blame for this, (I think there is plenty of blame to go around), they are lately the ones engaging in the vile hate talk on the airwaves. The Democrats are not angels, truly, but I do honestly think that the extremists use fear and hate to rile up their base. And I just think, aside from it being cheap, is utterly wrong and shameful.

      As horrid as this tragedy is, if it stops some of the violent talk out there, maybe, just maybe, some good will come of the tragedy.

      Reply
  5. Sherry
    Jan 11 2011

    Here is a CBS poll that shows that the majority of Americans do not believe this tragedy had anything to do with overboard political rhetoric:

    http://www.mrc.org/biasalert/2011/20110111123235.aspx

    Two things that should be considered, imo, more than political rhetoric by conservatives-1) Giffords is Jewish/the gunman is anti semetic, and 2) the Westboro Baptist Church wants to protest the little girl’s funeral. To me, both of these are more disgusting than a hate(?) map by Palin that liberals have twisted to make into an evil assassination provoking map (which is far from the truth).

    Reply
    • Jan 11 2011

      I agree with you there, Sherry. I don’t think that it was one single thing, like the Palin map, that is to blame for the shooting. I think if that were the case, it would be too simple an excuse. But, I do think it is true that the violent and horrid diatribe that some of the extremists spout is just purely hateful, and contributes to a culture of violence in this country. It needs to stop!

      Reply
      • Sherry
        Jan 11 2011

        ITA! Its been going on throughout American history where politics is concerned. Its just reaching a very dangerous crescendo in this day and age.

  6. weezie
    Jan 11 2011

    Sherry; Thank you for pointing out those facts. I wasn’t aware of anything about the gunman. As far as I know he hasn’t said a word. He is the scariest looking demon I have ever seen. He makes John Wayne Gacey look angelic, if that’s at all understandable. Why is Westboro Baptist church protesting the funeral of a little girl? I don’t understand????

    Reply
    • Sherry
      Jan 11 2011

      Hi, Weezie! The WBC says that God sent the gunman because our nation supports the gay agenda. Here is a video clip of it:

      http://tucsoncitizen.com/three-sonorans/tag/westboro/

      They are demented, imho~

      Reply
      • Jan 13 2011

        Hey Sherry…
        I just watched a little bit of this video. I couldn’t stomach but a few minutes of it. I have heard of this crazy man, of course, but I guess I forgot that he’s still out there spewing this terrible, terrible stuff, all in the name of his Church, too. I don’t really have words for this…. you are right, Sherry, totally demented. But, what’s so horrible is the realization that there are followers of this guy who spread his hate. I wonder what it was in this man’s life that caused him to be so hateful?

  7. weezie
    Jan 11 2011

    Sherry; As if the shooting wasn’t tragedy enough for the American people. This is when I think freedom of speech needs a little fine tuning, if you know what I mean. Thank god I only listened for about 30 seconds, or I might have thrown something at my screen. So where are the satirist’s when we need them? Beck, Limbaugh, Anne (what’s her name with the blonde scargly hair)? I suppose their silence means they agree. I hope you can find some oppositional remarks. Thanks, you always amaze me.

    Reply
  8. Sunny
    Jan 11 2011

    Hi Andrea and All

    While I don’t disagree that Oberman may have been using the tragedy to put the spotlight on certain consevatives he disagrees with, I just don’t see it as a negative. Palin is an idiot IMO and she can have all the guns she wants as long as she doesn’t propagate using them on humans. The message is that we ALL need to watch what we are saying because we never know who (crazy, bullied etc.) may be listening.

    Sherry, my point in asking if you had watched the whole clip was to point out that maybe you were doing the same as you were accusing Oberman of doing. Taking a tragedy and using it as an excuse to “get one up on the liberals”. I may be off base but that is how I took your comment. I usually just read blogs but sometimes certain comments jump out at me.

    Also, the shooter didn’t just shoot a Jew, he shot a nine year old catholic and God knows what faith the other people were. Not only that but he didn’t shoot them at a Jewish gathering, it was a political one with a lot of her supporters and people who worked for her. How is that related to religion?

    We all need to stop judging others period. I don’t begin to know why people kill people, but they do. We will never know why he did it but there are people dead and if Oberman thinks some of the rhetoric coming from conservatives is causing people to hate, then that is his opinion, just like this is mine. I prefer Colbert myself, I would rather laugh then cry….

    And yes, Weezie, Hillary has gotten a bad rap, being a woman in this time is so much easier than it was 50 years ago, but we are still not there. Men better beware, we may have to take over the world to straighten this mess out. 🙂

    Reply
    • Jan 12 2011

      Hey Sunny… Good post! Thank you. I wanted to point out something that I’d forgotten…. When Sharron Angle was running against Harry Reid for the senate last year, she said:
      “I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.”

      What was she suggesting by that? To me it is clear. She was suggesting that if she didn’t win, someone ought to assassinate Harry Reid.

      And today, Palin comes out with her “Blood Libel” speech. She makes me nauseous.

      Reply
  9. weezie
    Jan 12 2011

    Did anyone see the news last night? Of course you did, how silly of me. Tomorrow is going to put another slant and make history once again. I saw the female leader of the group posing as Angels, wearing wings, protesting the anti gay, baptist followers protests, at the little girl’s funeral. (whew what a mouthful, sorry). They propose to stand together in silence, while the gun toting anti gay bikers, come blasting down the street. If I were a betting man/woman in Vegas, I would say this going to get downright ugly, with violence that will shake our very souls. I sure hope the FBI, army, marines etc. are prepared. This has nothing to do with the loss of this little girl, but given the 1st amendmant(? or 4th), another platform for debate. If this family has to endure this, I pray very hard for their aching hearts.

    Reply
  10. Sunny
    Jan 13 2011

    Hey Andrea! I remember something about the threat against Harry Reid and I always cringe when I hear a politician using word play in their speeches because not everyone watching those rallys or attending takes it the way it was intended (pffft). They take it litterally. To cite the second amendment and then say take someone out is a call to arms so to speak, IMO. I don’t want this to turn into a “hate Palin” debate but the woman really is the definition of reality TV. Every thing that comes out of her mouth leaves me saying “WTF”. Srsly. Words are powerful, they can change peoples lives.

    Weezie, I watched a little of it, I saw the lady you are referencing. It made me sick so I turned it off. The “God Hates Gays” or “Fags”, not sure exactly the term used but it made me so sad. How could someone use “God” to support hate is beyond me. It wasn’t in any of the Bibles I read growing up. And the one holding the “Hate” sign was wearing an American Flag!!!!! Shades of Casey Anthony. People are so ignorant, and they are happy to be ignorant. To me nothing says UnAmerican more than desecrating our Flag while using God to hate on Gays.

    I’m glad I took the time to make a comment on your blog Andrea. I have been reading blogs since the fall of 08. Caylee was the reason I finally got high speed internet. I have commented on a few blogs and I occasionally comment at The Hinky Meter. I work crazy hours and I feel bad when I’ve made a comment and don’t get a chance to check for a response and whoever I have commented to has been left hanging. I know, how narcissistic of me. lol It took me awhile to get that it is the internet and no one cares who I am or that I shouldn’t care who others are. My husband had me so scared after I posted something personal that I just dropped off the web for a few months. I do get busy though but I have followed Caylee since the beginning and I appreciate smart, caring people and you seem like one of them to me. I look forward to reading all 365 posts this year. (wink)

    Reply
    • Jan 13 2011

      Hey Sunny. I am so happy that you visit and lend your insightful and intelligent opinions and thoughts here! I work crazy hours, too – gets in the way of blogging! I really like the Hinky Meter, too. The writer, Val Hall is incredibly smart, and boy does she do her research!
      I agree with you, I do not like to bash Palin, but I don’t mind calling out her bad behavior, or her lack of sensitivity.
      Don’t worry about your security here, or being bashed, or anything. I don’t tolerate personal attacks against the folks who visit here… You’re in good company here, Sunny!

      Reply
  11. Sunny
    Jan 13 2011

    While I’m here I wanted to comment on the topic of The Second Amendment to our Constitution. I don’t believe the Right To Bear Arms has anything to do with some asshole shooting a bunch of innocent people. I am a God fearing woman and know very little of the underworld but I bet you I could get ahold of a gun if I really wanted one. For a lot less than you would pay at a gun show or Wally World. People are gonna kill, I firmly believe if you go through the proper training and keep up with practice, then by all means, get a gun, but a can of Raid and a Louisville slugger works just as well. Not to mention a big dog. That is just my opinion. My husband has shotguns for hunting dove and thats it. No hand guns. If there were an intruder, he better have a gun or he wouldn’t be leaving on his own two feet. But then again, what do I know? I wish I had a crystal ball…

    I won’t even comment on The Westboro Babtist Church, they don’t deserve any consideration. Everyone should just pretend like they don’t exist.

    Reply
  12. weezie
    Jan 13 2011

    Sunny; It’s nice to hear you are going to be around a lot more, shining your inciteful words our way. I know what you mean about the blogs and returning. I am pretty much a two person watcher at WP. Dave and Andrea. There’s so much happening with their information, if I wandered, I would never be able to make dinner. lol.

    I guess we will see what transpires today – if the Baptist misister managed to get these angry people to back away. Atleast I heard something to the nature that he had changed his mind about using the funeral as his oratatroial platform. I hope so. I’ll still be watching, like the rest of the country, praying this was his wishful thinking only, that the his followers, are just that.

    Reply
  13. Sunny
    Jan 13 2011

    Wow weezie, I had not heard that about the Babtist minister! I hope that is true and he will turn this around. I have it on while I’m cleaning. I just stopped in to say Hey! Thanks for the welcome.

    Reply

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