Update 2: I found a video on youtube so I replaced the old one. Let's see how long it lasts.
After the shooting in Arizona by Jared Loughner that killed six people and wounded 14 others, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, people from both political parties have come out of the woodwork to talk about how the other party is to blame. While most people would ultimately blame Loughner for the tragedy, it is not surprising for some people to think that vitriolic political rhetoric and an obsession with violent revolutionary imagery has contributed to a hostile atmosphere in which "second amendment remedies" seem like reasonable solutions.
The one person who has been singled out for inciting violence particularly is Sarah Palin. This is no surprise considering Palin's media popularity and the target list of Democratic districts featuring gun-related imagery. As Alex Pareene said, "When she's not talking about God, Sarah Palin's talking about guns. Practically all her rhetoric is blood-soaked, and proficiency with firearms is a key element of her persona."
In response to these accusations, Palin released an eight minute long video where she bemoans the media as usual and claims they're manufacturing a "blood libel." Yes, an actual blood libel.
Even though Palin's use of the term "blood libel" is incredibly insensitive and ridiculous, especially considering the fact Giffords is Jewish, I'm actually more bothered by her statement that Loughner is some kind of evil monster that has nothing to do with the rest of us: "Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle." Not only is Palin attempting to dehumanize Loughner by making it seem like there's no purpose in trying to understand his actions, but she also attempts to minimize the way we've all collectively fueled the violent rhetoric flames. Whether it be by continuing to vote for politicians who use violent rhetoric or watching news programs that fetishize the American Revolutionary War, this isn't a time to distance ourselves from this newest tragedy so that we can forget all about it until it happens once again.
Palin is right that she isn't personally to blame, but it's silly for to say so in the same breath that she claims the media has the power to incite violence. And as much as Sarah Palin wants us to believe she's not part of the media machine, she is. She's just as much of a part of the media as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Keith Olbermann summed it up perfectly by tweeting, "the 'my words have no consequences but words ABOUT my words can incite violence' claim is laugh out loud funny."
said she felt threatened by Palin's cross-hairs map and we shrugged it off, and the high cost of allowing violent language to become part of everyday politics has turned into another way Palin can play the victim. The best post I've read about Palin's persecution-complex is by Anthea Butler (the post is amazing so I'd definitely recommend reading the whole thing):
It matters not whether the shooter was a tea partier, a libertarian, a Democrat or a Republican. It is clear that he is a troubled young man. What matters is that people like Palin, Beck and others can't take time to figure out that this time is not about them, but about those who have lost loved ones, and their incredible hubris in not owning up to their own sideshow of hate. Palin and Beck tout their faith as a badge of honor, but it is in moments like these that their shallowness belies the God they claim to believe in.If you read Alex Pareene's post, Watering the tree of liberty, you can see example after example of the violent language politicians are using without a second thought. I also think this can be a good time to talk about the different ways the media handles these types of crime based on race. In the end though, this conversation shouldn't be about Palin specifically or her imagined hurts. In fact, that's the last thing this conversation should be about.