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January 12, 2011


“there’s consequences to that action”

by Andrea O'Connell

I need to say a few words concerning Sarah Palin’s video release today – a perfect example of what not to say after a tragedy.  But, Sarah Palin has about as much sensitivity as a Mack truck.

In her video today she says:

..journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.  That is reprehensible.

“Blood libel.”  Using such a word to blame the media for “manufacturing a blood libel” is at best counterproductive, at its worst, ignorant.

Or is it?

Michael Shear, a political writer for the New York Times, points out:

The term blood libel is generally used to mean the false accusation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, in particular the baking of matzos for passover. That false claim was circulated for centuries to incite anti-Semitism and justify violent pogroms against Jews. Ms. Palin’s use of the phrase in her video, which helped make it rapidly go viral, is itself attracting criticism, not least because Ms. Giffords, who remains in critical condition in a Tucson hospital, is Jewish.

However, I would like to point out that others have used this phrase in discussion of the aftermath of the tragedy in Tuscon.  Whether Sarah Palin’s speech writers used this term knowingly, is anyone’s guess.  Regardless, to say it reeks of poor taste is an understatement.

In a recent New York Times editorial, Paul Krugman pointed out this important fact when discussing the growing concern over the rhetoric of some right-wing extremists:

The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April of 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.

Although the Tuscon shooter was obviously a troubled young man, he was not blind to what was going on in the world of politics.  It’s been reported the FBI found other written threats against Gabrielle Giffords authored by the shooter.

The facts are these: A violent extremist culture has been brewing in this country for a long time.  Yes, it’s all just words, words, words, but the hate that surrounds us on TV and the radio, does have consequences when something is stirred in the psyche of madmen.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sunny
    Jan 13 2011

    That old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” isn’t really the truth. The truth is that words hurt, they kill, they poison. I’m really disturbed that yet again, someone does something like this and everyone says that they were acting strange, out of the ordinary. It’s scary. I missed the Presidents remarks, I’m sure he did a good job. I laugh when he talks now after watching SNL so many times. Those political ones from the election are priceless! I’m sure I can find it on Youtube. Thanks for the post. It’s freaky how the Congresswoman made a comment on Palins map. What goes through someones mind when they approve something like that? I wonder if she really believes what she says or she sits in her cave and cackles while rubbing her paws together?? I know it’s not her fault and that she (hopefully) doesn’t support violence in any shape or form. I hope its a play on her prowess as a “hunter”. At least I hope so. She certainly turned out to be a terrible politician. God help us…

    • Jan 13 2011

      Hey Sunny – She is really a terrible politician. To be honest, she’s scary. Her ignorance and her twisted logic is revolting. The video she posted was all about her – not about the tragedy itself. She needed to acknowledge that the rhetoric does indeed create a culture of hate, but she doesn’t see it that way – to her, the rhetoric is natural and its all she knows – she’s a fighter, a scrapping bully who prefers to use muscles to make her point, not introspection or an appreciation of history (i.e. the “blood libel” quote). It’s like when W. talked about the “Crusades” without realizing the horror that choice of words conveys.

  2. weezie
    Jan 13 2011

    Well; I’m glad her show is over and not returning, even though I never saw 1 minute of it. I haven’t see any of Jersey Shore either. That’s not saying much about me, but, why is it we have these women politicians, acting like the Lyndsay Lohan’s and Brittney Spears of this great and wonderful Hollywood land? I can guess. PUBLICITY!!! Could it be the country is missing the gawfaws of George W.? UTUBE has created an underground of morale behaviour that is acceptable, laughable, debateable, viral and downright a mockery to any serious Political idea.
    IF this is what the constitution meant about freedom of speech, it left out one very important message. MORALE CONDUCT . It is now free to pose nude, have sex with whoever you choose (wait for the animals), and actually get rewarded by counting the number of hits it has received. Now we have Oprah bullying her way into the homeless man and exploiting his good 0r bad fortunes to come. It makes me sick and tired. Do I really need to be on the internet. Can I block out certain cites? I guess I can and maybe I should think about blocking stupid emails that I get from time to time from my friends? hmmmmmm . I need to sit on the john with a good book.

    • Jan 13 2011

      LOL Weezie! It’s a terribly difficult task to think of morals and politics in the same category, especially when discussing the narcissistic Palin. I don’t think all politicians are jaded, but I do find myself looking at them with a tad more cynicism since “W” was our President. The First Amendment sure does create conundrums, doesn’t it? We have to tolerate expressions of hate as well as expressions of wisdom and healing in virtually the same moment of time. The trouble as I see it, you cannot regulate morality or good sense. Speech that is desperately troubling to most people – like the disturbing & upsetting metaphors about guns and warfare – unfortunately is something worth celebrating to others.
      There sure aren’t easy answers to any of it, which is why I agree that sometimes we have to tune out and read a good book!

  3. cali patti
    Jan 13 2011

    Andrea …There is many related subjects you mention in this post.
    Sarah, Sarah, oh my. I so wanted to like her when she came into national politics. I like women in place’s of power and influence, however the women must be able to and intelligent enough to handle the positions. Sarah’s party and positions are not “all” mine but I was prepared to like her.
    Sarah talks to much and to often. She lacks intelligent curiosity and simply does not know when to be quiet.
    When blood libel was brought up I was shocked at her stupidity. Was it wrong, maybe not. It was absolutely inappropriate.
    Blood Libel as a comparison for me was way over the line.
    The only good that came from her remark was that as a nation we will only have ourselves to blame if she ever gets elected to anything.
    I do not want to think of the international damage she would do if elected.

    • Jan 13 2011

      Hi Cali patti! I know what you mean. When she first came on the scene, I was hoping she’d be someone worthy of the Vice Presidency. But, then I heard her speak. Rumors have it that McCain never really spoke to her, didn’t really know her – she was picked out of desperation to help his failing run for the Presidency. She did bring a lot of attention to the McCain ticket, but as we know, so much of that attention was negative. We can all forgive stupidity, I think, but not ignorance. She continues to display such ignorance of the bigger picture. Her video was all about her and i found that revolting. But, she’s showing her true colors, and god help us if she gets elected to anything.

      • cali patti
        Jan 13 2011

        Andrea, thank you fror saying what I was thinking.
        What first scared me about Sarah was that she admires Regan. From the little I have read Ronald Regan was the first President to begin the deregulation of our financial institutions that has led to the mess we are in now. R. Regan did not make the mess but he took the steps to start it.
        Sarah admires his fiscal programs. I can not even think of an smart remark to this. OMG help us all.

  4. Lona1
    Jan 13 2011

    Here is a response to Sarah Palin from ‘Media Matters”. It’s pretty chilling, esp. around the 5.00 mark. Why did she have to be so grass?

    • Jan 13 2011

      Hey Lona1, Thanks so much for this link! It is quite chilling, and very intelligent, too. I agree with much of it, especially this: “Governor Palin, at this time of national mourning, you owe the American people a more honest explanation of your words and actions than the one you issued today.”

      Palin is now in the cross-hairs she used against others – poetic justice if there ever was.

      However, to be clear, I abhor her politics, not her.

  5. Sunny
    Jan 13 2011

    I finally watched Sarah’s video. I wasn’t impressed, at least not in the way she wants us to be impressed.

    Thanks for the link Lona, I got stuck at CBS reading comments on Palins speech. There are some good ones.

  6. Sunny
    Jan 13 2011

    I read the script instead of watching the video, I’ll watch it later. Bravo!!!!

  7. Lona1
    Jan 13 2011
    • Jan 13 2011

      OMG, Lona. This is just awful – sick. However, it is extremely eye opening and sure says a lot about the culture of violence in our society. It’s disgusting. Politicians and people with the megaphone, however, need to realize that their actions and words do provoke and spark this kind of mindless hate. It’s one thing to dislike the politics, another thing altogether to join in this type of hateful talk….


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