I have to take time out from our lesson today to discuss something that has been a pet peeve of mine for a very long time, and that is the “moral equivalency” argument that some right wingers bring. This is a very common argument used by ignorant people on the right, and I’m getting really sick of it. This line of argument can also be accurately referred to as the “they do it, too” argument, and it is ludicrous.
I have been all over various blogs and forums all over the Internet, and I have been bombarded with the “argument” that liberals called for George Bush’s death, and that, somehow, that relieves them of all moral responsibility for the Arizona massacre.
If you right wingers were just trying to get me to acknowledge that there are cranks on the left, well, you got me. Of course there are. Hell; I have at them on this blog on a regular basis. I even told the story in yesterday’s column about a video I posted on YouTube in which I’ve had to delete a number of comments calling for Bush’s death. I even forwarded a few of them to the authorities. It was just wrong, any way you slice it.
And when it comes to protests, I saw a couple of signs containing violent rhetoric against George W. Bush at a couple anti-war protests I attended, and in both cases, the carrier was hounded away and roundly condemned by others. In one case, the sign was taken by a small group of protesters and ripped to shreds. Compare that to the signs we have all seen at Tea party gatherings, which have rarely, if ever, been acknowledged by other teabaggers. (Go to the top right of this page, and you can see a pretty good-sized gallery of images of Tea Party and other right wing protests, none of which have ever been condemned by a right wing leader, even when confronted with them. Here is a link to one of the galleries I saw yesterday)
In other words, if you want to get me to admit there are cranks on both sides of the political chasm, well, hey; you got me. We have nuts, too.
But there’s a big difference here. Our cranks are relegated to the fringes, where they belong, while many of yours control the debate, and even the Republican Party.
There’s a huge chasm of difference between what happens on the left – in which a few insignificant left-wing idiots get a little out of hand and say things they shouldn’t, and are roundly condemned for doing so – and what happens on the right — in which your acknowledged leaders, including candidates the Republican Party nominates and supports financially, say inappropriate things, and NO ONE calls them on it. In fact, they often excuse it.
When we bring up Caribou Barbie (Sarah Palin) imploring her supporters to “re-load” to get rid of Democrats in the last election, and who put up an image on Facebook in which a number of Democrats, including Gabby Giffords, were “targeted” with crosshairs, you don’t get to invoke photos of a few protesters and pretend that it’s equivalent.
In addition to Palin’s violent rhetoric against Giffords and others, I can also point to Jesse Kelly, who was a proud teabagger and the Republican nominee chosen to run against Giffords, and who held a few fundraisers in which he invited donors to shoot an M-16 and “take out” Giffords. That’s a Tea Party and Republican LEADER in that particular district; that’s not comparable to a few self-described liberal individuals with signs that most of us on the left find despicable.
Then there is Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s call for “Second Amendment remedies” to the terrible problem of electing “too many Democrats” through the democratic process.
Need I bring up Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and Michael Savage, to name but a few, who use violent rhetoric and pretty much call for insurrection on a regular basis? Then there are the second-tier cranks out there, Like O’Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh, who are a little better, but who still do their part to stir up hate on a daily basis.
And your politicians not only fail tocondemn the hateful and violent rhetoric; they wallow in it and praise it. They kiss the collective asses of people like Limbaugh and Hannity, and when Ann Coulter calls for the deaths of 9-11 widows, there is a deafening silence.
And that is the real shame in all of this. The leadership of the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement are not only failing to condemn the hate speech and violent rhetoric that may have led to this; they are actively trying to make it someone else’s fault. Look, you childish assholes; the fact that “Bobby did it, too!” didn’t absolve you of responsibility when you were a kid, pleading for mercy from your mother, and it certainly doesn’t work now. The Tea Party, with the quiet acquiescence and even the assistance of the Republican Party, “targeted” Gabrielle Giffords, and someone shot her. It may have been coincidence, but the fact that it’s even plausible should make it difficult for teabaggers to sleep at night. I didn’t say it would, but it should.
Here’s a challenge for all of you righties out there. I want you to comb the archives and come up with any hate speech or violent rhetoric from a prominent liberal that wasn’t condemned by most liberals, and I’ll reply with at least three from the right.
But be careful and remember; Our side has Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Keith Olbermann, while your side has Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum, Michael Savage and Caribou Barbie, among many others…