We may actually have reached the nadir of the Palin patois. As the events of last Saturday consumed the attention of most Americans she and her defenders were focused on how best to spin them so as to avoid having to accept any responsibility for the ugly rhetoric that has so distorted out national dialogue. One needn’t assign blame for what occurred in the Palin camp or castigate her and her supporters for creating an atmosphere of gun-leveraged hatred meant to swing elections and votes in the Tea Party direction.
Neither are accusations on the right that the liberal news media are using the shootings in Tucson to advance their views and wrest guns from the cold, dead hands of gun advocates. Liberals didn’t need to make the case that “words have consequences.” Gabby Giffords had spoken about the hate-filled rhetoric and threats to her person and offices during the run-up to the election.
Palin’s gun-sight map was a disgrace to everyone who believes in the free expression of ideas without the intimidation that accompanies overtly violent visuals. Her attempt to dismiss critics’ observations as over-reactions to what she has tried to call assessor’s symbols is beyond ludicrous. But then so is most of her electioneering bravado even though people on the same wave length bought into it.
Similarly her nonsensical attempt to equate early duels as a way of settling disputes with current violence shows how far from normal thought processes she has drifted. Even at its worst dueling usually involved two men who didn’t venture beyond each other to settle scores nor attack their seconds and other observers. Palin denies being a causal factor in the violence that overtook the gathering in Tucson last Saturday, being far more concerned with her own reputation than the terrible cost others paid for the simple act of attending a political function.
She might better have issued a simple statement that she like most of the country mourned the loss the fallen and wished survivors a speedy recovery. This was not the time for self absolution and a continuation of the Tea Party attack-mode or the furtherance of her political ambitions. “Vigorous debate” as she prefers to call the ugly violence-laced rhetoric in which she and her supporters engage is the false premise she parades before the public, a Kabuki dance that sweeps her audiences into a celebration of fantasy - - colorful and bombastic but without any sense of how to govern a complex, diverse population.
Lower taxes and a smug form of Christianity might have carried the day for a while, but no matter how the likes of Glenn Beck and other conservative pundits may protest, the abject stupidity of a Sarah Palin and her minions should by now have begun to wean some of her supporters into a place where self respect and a modicum of intellectual validity remain attributes. One doesn’t have to blame Palin for the descent into the abyss our politics has taken, but every time she opens her mouth she proves how devoid of leadership skills she is.
The latest proof that hers is a world of ignorance and irrelevance was her recent reference to what she calls a “blood libel” because of the criticism she has received for the violent images she evokes with her campaigning style - - a terrible and telling disconnect from the tragic events of the past weekend. How different the president’s message was, perhaps because he isn’t trying to prove anything other than that he means to lead us in the paths of righteousness as it were. His most profound and moving moments came when he focused on nine-year-old Christina Greene who was shot and killed in Tucson. “I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.”
If only our adult imaginations were as fertile and full of hope as the dreams of childhood. And if only the voices of hatred and darkness are stilled in the aftermath of events that elucidate a twisted process that has bent serious policy into unrecognizable political forms having nothing whatever to do with our national wellbeing or common decency.
Tavis Smiley said recently that sometimes “presidents need to be pushed into greatness” - - LBJ by Martin Luther King, Lincoln by Frederick Douglas for example. This may be one of those historical moments, when Barack Obama is pushed to greatness not by men of stature but by political neophytes who have little to offer other than bluster and appeals to the least intellectually sound members of society. If something positive is to be said about the horrific events of last weekend perhaps it could turn out to be that Sarah Palin has at last been exposed for the empty-headed, self-serving political fraud she is.