I hope you’re happy, you vile malevolent joke of a human being.
I just got a panicked call from my mother asking me if I had heard what happened. I hadn’t checked the news yet today because I’m frantically working on a brief. She said that there had been a shooting. My first thought was “Oh my god, they got him.” So I checked the news and found out that Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, a federal judge, a 9-year-old, a Democratic aide and multiple others were killed. Shot in the fucking head. Killed. Dead. Where did this happen? Tucson, Arizona —
ONE MILE FROM WHERE MY PARENTS LIVE.
A gunman opened fire Saturday onto a crowd at a public event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., killing at least five people and critically injuring the congresswoman.
The dead included U.S. District Judge John Roll and a 9-year-old girl, President Obama said in a brief statement Saturday. Giffords, who was shot in the head, was among at least 13 people injured, according to the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s office.
This is where our country is heading, and this is where certain politicians and pundits want this country to go. When politicians and pundits talk about revolution, and rebellion, and the fucking tree of liberty being refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. Political idealogues convince themselves that what they are doing is right, and just, and patriotic. And when tragedy strikes, those who have actively created an environment where such tragedy is inevitable throw up their hands and say “Aw, what a shame.”
I remember writing about being outraged by Sarah Palin’s cross-hair map. I remember thinking what an absolutely stupid move it was. And now some crazy fuck has put her plan into action, and she has the nerve to say “Wha?! What’d I do?”
That’s what pisses me off the most — the utter hypocrisy of those who wanted this to happen — or at the very least, created an environment where this was bound to happen — now claiming to be sorry and to offer support to the friends and family of the dead.
“My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.”
Ms. Palin is receiving criticism over her past call for supporters to “reload” and “take aim” at Democrats. Ms. Giffords was amongst a group of Democrats “targeted” by Ms. Palin’s SarahPAC.
The Alaska Republican’s Facebook page, at one point, carried a map featuring 20 gun sights, one for each of the Democrats targeted by her political action committee.
Ms. Palin defended the choice of words at the time, “Those are fine. They’re used all the time.”
The former Alaska Governor has repeatedly tweeted to her Twitter followers: “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: ‘Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!’”
No. No. No. You don’t get off that easily. You don’t get to foment racism, hatred, and anger, and then when the shit goes down, sit back and play dumb. You don’t get to say “I didn’t mean it.” You don’t get to say that “people use those words all the time.” You’re a goddamn public persona. You don’t say those things, and if you do, you reap what you sow. It becomes your responsibility. YOURS. It happened when Bill O’Reilly called Dr. Tiller a baby killer over and over and over until finally someone murdered him in cold blood — walked into his church in the middle of service and shot him in the head.
And it has happened again.
This is what Jon Stewart was talking about at the Rally for Sanity about toning down violent rhetoric:
“I can’t control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.
But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.
If we amplify everything we hear nothing. There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate–just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more. The press is our immune system. If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker–and perhaps eczema.
And yet, with that being said, I feel good—strangely, calmly good. Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a fun house mirror, and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.
So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, of course, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!
The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV. But Americans don’t live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundations that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done. Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives. Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—but they do it–impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make.
Look on the screen. This is where we are. This is who we are. (points to the Jumbotron screen which show traffic merging into a tunnel). These cars—that’s a schoolteacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high. He’s going to work. There’s another car-a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now. There’s another car, (referring to the Jumbotron blowing in the wind) swinging, I don’t even know if you can see it—the lady’s in the NRA and she loves Oprah. There’s another car—an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah. Another car’s a Latino carpenter. Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman. Atheist obstetrician. Mormon Jay-Z fan. But this is us. Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.
And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river. Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences. And they do it. Concession by conscession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go. Then I’ll go. You go then I’ll go. Oh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car? Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.
And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst.
Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together. And the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.
If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you, I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me. Your presence was what I wanted.
Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine. Thank you.”
I can’t say that I feel “strangely calmly good.” I feel expectedly pissed off and angry, not only because this tragedy occurred a mile from where my parents live, but also because the sensible among us– the Jon Stewarts among us — are losing. The Palins, O’Reillys, Coulters, Limbaughs and Becks — they are the ones who have a frightening stranglehold on the consciousness of America and they are winning! People are scared, and rather than alleviate those fears, these thugs seek to exploit those fears for their own monetary and political gain. These thugs don’t give a fuck about helping their fellow man; they are crabs in a barrel clawing up to the light and pushing other crabs down in their desperate bid to have the light shine only on them. They want a reality show, or a gig as a Fox News correspondent, or to hold office just long enough so they can launch themselves into a cushy lobbying or Wall Street gig. These people don’t care about America. They say they say they do, but their disdain for Americans and our problems is palpable, and it’s disgusting.
So while you may want to sit around and gripe about who Obama chose for his Chief of Staff, think about what you stand for. Then think about what the other guy or gal stands for. Think about whether you have more in common with your neighbor than you do with the talking head on the teevee. Then pull your head out of your ass and let’s work together to make sure that the O’PalinBeckbaughs don’t drown us all in a whirlpool of hateful rhetoric. Let’s kick these fuckers to the curb because if we don’t, we’ll have only ourselves to blame.
UPDATE: Apparently the following statements were on Jared Lee Loughner’s now deleted Myspace page (From the entirely unreputable source, WND which I’m not going to link because fuck them–they are calling him a left-leaning liberal because of course they are):
On his now deleted MySpace page, Lougher wrote a series of disjointed rants, including:
“If there’s no flag in the Constitution, then the flag in the film is unknown. There’s no flag in the Constitution. Therefore, the flag in the film is unknown. Burn every new and old flag that you see. Burn your flag!”
“I bet you can imagine this in your mind with a faster speed. Watch this protest in reverse! Ask the local police, ‘What’s your illegal activity on duty?'”
“If you protest the government, then there’s a new government from protesting. There’s not a new government from protesting. Thus, you aren’t protesting the government.”
[cross-posted here at Angry Black Lady Chronicles]