In the immediate aftermath of the Tuscon shooting, the left was quick to assign blame to conservatives and their allies. Charges were wide ranging and included The New York Times, which implied that the shooting was rooted in conservative hatred of Obama's agenda. It included Giffords' colleague Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) who said that it was a direct result of the "political tone and tenor" of Palin and the TEA Party movement. The media in general latched onto this theme and hammered it through in every news cycle. The only substance to this argument was the fact that Palin's website showed Giffords' district, among others, with a crosshairs superimposed, showing that the Congresswoman was targeted for political defeat. Of course, ignored by the media is the fact that the influential leftist website The Daily Kos had quietly removed (after the shooting) a page showing Democrats deemed not liberal enough as having a "bulls-eye" on them, also targeted for defeat.
Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) blamed the shooting on Fox News. Economist and idiot savant (minus the savant) Paul Krugman similarly blames the McCain-Palin crowd, TEA Party, etc. This is the same Krugman that in December last year, in the heat of the health care debate, said, "A message to progressives: By all means, hang Sen. Joe Lieberman in effigy." This is the same for Chris Matthews and most of the other talking heads, not to mention a wide assortment of Democrats looking to score political points on the back of this tragedy. It is enough to make one wonder why the same people that immediately cry that we can't rush to judgment if the shooter yells "Allahu Akbar!" beforehand, do not seem to offer the same caution when they suspect the shooter is a right-winger. With a bit of delicious irony, the reports coming out over the last few days describe the shooter as a deranged pothead and a radical leftist who was reading Hitler's "Mein Kampf." Oops...
While I agree that the political atmosphere in America today is often inflammatory and even hateful, if we are to have an honest discussion then we need to look at the contributions the left has made to generate this atmosphere. The TEA Party, almost from its inception, has been described as a bunch of angry, white right-wingers "brimming with violence" that just never actually turns into violence. Republicans are described as evil and heartless and as opposing making America better for the poor and downtrodden. Liberals and Democrats, on the other hand, are seen as saintly, and if they occasionally act out badly it is all right because their motives are pure.
Yet let's take a look at some of the heated rhetoric from the left and see just how civil they are with those that oppose their political agenda:
None other than President Obama (referring to battling Republicans in the 2010 campaign) said, "If they bring a knife to a fight, we bring a gun". Is this less inflammatory than Palin "targeting" Democrats for electoral defeat? He has also referred to Republicans as the "enemy," saying "We're gonna punish our enemies and reward our friends." In September 2008 during his campaign, Obama also said, "I want you to go out and talk to your neighbors...I want you to argue with them, get in their faces." Sound conducive to civil debate?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews, the same man currently lamenting this climate of hate, in 2009 fantasized about watching conservative icon Rush Limbaugh's violent death, saying "Somebody's going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he's going to explode like a giant blimp". Similarly, after Limbaugh was taken to the hospital with chest pains last January, liberal talk show host Mike Malloy said on air, "I'm waiting for the day when I pick it up, pick up a newspaper or click on the Internet and find out he's choked to death on his own throat fat or a great big wad of saliva or something, you know, whatever. Go away, Rush, you make me sick!" Malloy also said of liberal nemesis and "pajama media" guru Matt Drudge, famous for exposing liberal lies and corruption, "Aw, Drudge, somebody ought to wrap a strong Republican entrail around his neck and hoist him up about six feet in the air and watch him bounce."
Fellow liberal talker Ed Schultz said the following about former VP Dick Cheney, "He is an enemy of the country. In my opinion, Dick Cheney is, he is an enemy of the country ... Lord, take him to the Promised Land, will you?" Nope, no media bias there!
The left's hatred of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin is especially palpable. Just Google "Bush+Hitler" and you find an amazing variety of vile epithets and threats against Bush. Bush being burned in effigy, posters calling for his assassination, posters of a hand holding a beheaded Bush by the hair, another proclaiming "Bush: the only dope worth shooting." There was even an award-winning indy film that fantasized about Bush's assassination.
Sarah Palin gets her share of liberal wrath as well, with bumper stickers crying, "Abort Palin," and liberals gleefully mocking her handicapped son. Disgustingly sexist and offensive comments about Palin were commonplace, with no feminist groups coming to her defense. Madonna told a concert crowd that "I will kick her [expletive]." Liberal comedienne Sandra Bernhard joked that if Palin ever visited New York she would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers." There is always a particularly hateful level of vitriol reserved for those conservative women and minorities that dare stray from the Democrat Party.
The violent rhetoric from the left often turns into violent action. When SB1070 was signed into law in Arizona last year, pro-amnesty protestors took to the streets and rioted. There have been numerous instances of pro-Obama supporters and labor union members physically attacking TEA Party protestors, including a MoveOn.org thug that bit off an ObamaCare protestor's finger (a 65-year-old man), and another than punched a woman for holding an anti-ObamaCare sign. ACORN members descended in mass on the homes of financial company executives, carrying bullhorns and demanding an end to foreclosures, in the process terrifying young children.
Whether protesting treatment of animals (PETA), environmental issues (Greenpeace, ELF, etc.), opposition to gay marriage, opposition to illegal immigration and amnesty for lawbreakers, reduction in welfare and entitlement benefits, non-union labor, opposition to abortion, opposition to nationalized health care, or any other beloved agenda item of the political left, it seems as if the ends always justifies the means. It's okay for leftists to do bad things to their opponents because their opponents are bad people and therefore deserve what they get. The same people calling for death to Bush, Cheney, Palin, Limbaugh and conservatives in general, are the same ones now demanding there be the utmost respect and civility (and opposition to his policies is considered hateful) for President Obama.
The left would have far more credibility in calling for a calming of the gathering political storms and for civilized debate, if they had not been spending so much time spewing abject, frothing at the mouth, rabid hatred for their political opponents. I heartily welcome a turn towards civility in our public discourse, but to my liberal friends I would politely request...start by cleaning your own house.
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is vice chair of communications of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.