Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Even More Tragic"

In my previous post on the Arizona shootings, I quoted a comment I had received, but didn't really discuss how thoroughly it shocked and horrified me, leaving readers to find my problem for themselves. After considering this over the last day, I think that it is central to the issue of how mainstream the hateful, eliminationist rhetoric has become, and I want to revisit it. So here's the comment:
"It is a very tragic event. Even more tragic is to blame Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. I do not believe for one second that they endorse democrats being murdered. How stupid to think so. I do not like democratic ideas but I do not want one single democrat to ever be murdered!!!!"
Now think about that. Six people are dead. A congressional representative faces an uncertain future- the damage to her brain was much worse than I imagined a person might survive. The bullet traveled from the back to the front of her left lobe; this was not just a skull-grazing injury. One of the dead was a nine-year-old girl, pictured above, Christina Taylor Green, whose birthday was September 11, 2001. She had been featured in a book named "Faces of Hope," which contained portraits of 50 children, one from each state, born on that fateful day. She was interested in politics as a solution to human and social problems, and was taken to meet Giffords by a neighbor who thought she would enjoy the experience. Ironically, the levels of paranoia and fear whipped up by a certain side of the US political spectrum in the aftermath of her birth date have, without any real doubt, played some role- potentially small, possibly large, we simply don't know yet- in ending this child's life. And that of five others.

So, responding to my comment linking this paranoia, hateful rhetoric, Sarah Palin, the teabaggers, and my own anger and despair at yesterday's events, the commenter acknowledges that it was indeed a tragedy. Then proceeds to say, "
Even more tragic is to blame Sarah Palin and the Tea Party." "Even MORE tragic?" Seriously?

MORE tragic that an absolute nobody blogger/facebooker/twitterer makes the exactly same connections as thousands of others who write and go public on the web? MORE tragic that Palin and the teabaggers are asked to take SOME degree of responsibility for an atmosphere of terror, blind rage and bloodlust? MORE tragic that within minutes of the news, Palin and others were pulling down images and comments that people have been warning for the last couple of years would lead to exactly this kind of massacre? Are you fucking serious?

These things are "even MORE tragic" than the simple fact of Christina Taylor Green's cold, dead body? Not to mention the 18 other injuries and deaths? MORE fucking tragic?

And this is exactly the point. I'm sure the commenter didn't even think about what she was saying. She was on autopilot. She has been conditioned by Palin, O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck, Boehner, Brewer, and on, and on and on, to believe that merely impugning the wonderfulness of "people like them" is more tragic, a greater crime, a worse humanitarian crisis, than hundreds of thousands of people dying annually from lack of health care, than millions of children who are mal- or undernourished every day, than tens of thousands of homeless veterans for whom it's well worth shelling out for showy car magnets, but not worth a nickel to actually get them shelter. I'm sure she is quite right that neither she nor her party's leaders "endorse" democrats or other undesirables being murdered outright. However, she has been well trained to understand that when, God forbid, such a thing happens, the appropriate response is to defend the righteous, stay calm, put it out of your mind, and walk cheerfully forward into the the world that is being re-shaped for the right people. The ones like them. The ones who believe the right things, in the right God. The ones who understand that democracy is all about being the ones ballsy and macho enough to kill and take power from anyone with the temerity to stand in the way of the blessed. The ones who understand that civility is for the weak. The ultra-rich and those who are happy to service them and their whims. The ones who understand that "thinking for oneself" is a trick of Satan. Because to react in any other way would even more tragic still.


TomG said...

The last sentence of that comment begins...
"I do not like democratic ideas..."
Would the sound of jackboots be preferable??

Professor Chaos said...

Absolutely unbelievable. More tragic than 6 deaths is Sarah Palin's reputation being sullied. Stunningly awful.