Who Will End This Madness?

It has been three days since we all heard the news of the assassination attempt of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the tragic murder of six innocents and injury of fourteen others at the hands of Jared Lee Loughner. I have to admit, upon hearing the news I immediately feared the worst. Being a liberal blogger I know first hand the vitriol that is directed toward the left by right-wing bloggers, talk radio and politicians. Being a student of communications I am also well aware of the effect that language can have on people both seemingly stable and otherwise. It is intentional that there has not been a post here at Comments from Left Field since the initial brief comment made by David on that day. I have had to use all my strength to avoid saying something that I might later regret but silence will not fix the problem.

We have all watched as the dialogue in our country has devolved from petty name calling to a place that is much, much more sinister. And while there are certainly those on both sides who are too ready to throw around poisonous language it is clear that there is only one side who has take this ball and run with it in a way that intentionally dehumanizes their opposition. I echo Kevin Drum’s sentiments in support of George Packer‘s New Yorker piece today.

In fact, there is no balance—none whatsoever. Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.

It is clear that something must change and it must start on the right. My sentiments are best reflected in the words of William Rivers Pitt who, in an Open Letter to the Far Right, hit’s the nail squarely on it’s ugly head.

You false patriots who bring assault rifles to political rallies, you hack politicians and media personalities who lied through your stinking teeth about “death panels” and “Obama is coming for your guns” and “He isn’t a citizen” and “He’s a secret Muslim” and “Sharia Law is coming to America,” you who spread this bastard gospel and you who swallowed it whole, I am talking to you, because this was your doing just as surely as it was the doing of the deranged damned soul who pulled the trigger.  The poison you injected into our culture is deeply culpable for this carnage.

You who worship Jesus at the top of your lungs (in defiance of Christ’s own teachings on the matter of worship, by the way) helped put several churchgoers into their graves and into the hospital. You who shriek about the sanctity of marriage helped cut down a man who was about to be married. You who crow with ceaseless abandon about military service and the nobility of our fighting forces helped to critically wound the wife of a Naval aviator who fought for you in a war. You who hold September 11 as your sword and shield helped put a little girl born on that day into the ground.

You helped. Yes, damn you, you helped.

Who on the right is going to be brave enough to call for an end this madness?

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