From the Huffington Post:

Marty Kaplan

The Lock and Load Rhetoric of American Politics Isn’t Just a Metaphor

I’m not saying that putting a bullseye[sic] * on Arizona Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ congressional race – as Sarah Palin did – was an explicit or intentional invitation to violence. Nor am I saying that the “Get on Target for Victory” events held by the guy Giffords beat – “Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly” – was the reason her assassin went after her. This tragedy is still unfolding, and the questions of motive and incitement will be argued about for a long time to come.

But I am saying that the “lock and load”/”take up your arms”rhetoric of American politics isn’t just an overheated metaphor. For years, the language of sports has dominated political journalism, and discourse about hardball and the horserace and the rest of the macho athletic lexicon has been a factor in the trivialization of our public sphere. This has helped dumb down democracy, making a serious national discussion about anything important too wonky for words.

The “second amendment solution,” though, does something worse than make politics a branch of entertainment. It makes it a blood sport. I know politics ain’t beanbag. But words have consequences, rhetoric shapes reality, and much as we like to believe that we are creatures of reason, there is something about our species’ limbic system and lizard brainstems that makes us susceptible to irrational fantasies.

If you’re worried that violent video games may make kids prone to bad behavior; if you think that misogynic and homophobic rap lyrics are dangerous to society; if you believe that a nipple in a Superbowl halftime show is a threat to our moral fabric – then surely you should also fear that the way public and media figures have framed political participation with shooting gallery imagery is just as potentially lethal.

I believe Marty Kaplan just said it all.   You don’t have to go to a national level to feel the sting of exactly what he was talking about.  And it doesn’t all have to do with fire arms metaphors.  The entire bullying tones of politics is felt.  Private citizens are made fun of  just for expressing their opinions.  We all know what I am talking about. 

 I don’t believe any one thing triggered Jarod to go on a rampage.  I will leave that to the experts.  He was obviously psychotic.  However, the vitriolic attacks I have heard for the past 48 hours on Sheriff Dupnik have been shocking.  I have heard major unnamed networks call for his removal and he has been castigated as though he spat on the pearly gates.  What happened to those ideas of Americana like free speech and democratically elected officers?  Dupnik lives in the region and knows a lot more about the pulse and tone of his area than any of us. 

 

*  the graphic on the map targetting Rep. Giffords was a rifle scope, not a bull’s eye.

81 Thoughts to “Lock and Load Rhetoric”

  1. I have never put Slowpoke in moderation. If he disappears, he self-deports. He usually knows when it is time.

    Hello, you learned nothing from your exile. You came here to goad. I will have to find that video by the Beatles. I just haven’t had time to do it today.

    If you wanted to come here and talk to people, you would present yourself in a different way. I just see it as goading. It is my responsibility to deal with it so you don’t annoy others.

  2. Elena

    Joe Scarborough said it best I think, after watching Palin’s face book video.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036789/vp/41036660#41036660

    This is my hope, that people will look inward, we can only change ourselves.

  3. @Elena, I have never heard a more self-serving speech than the one I just heard listening to Palin. I won’t even address ‘blood libel.’ I am not familiar with the term. But she gave a speech. If she truly wanted to address the Tucson Massacre, she would have kept a few brief words to under 2 minutes. Somewhere she might have ….nah…it has been said enough times.

    I am not impressed. She positioned herself against the president. She is a slick one.

    She needed to have come out on Monday and kept it to 2 minutes.

  4. marinm

    I do not see a need for any changes to be made to our current political discourse or any laws regarding access to Congress or access to firearms. We may want to examine how we deal with mental health issues and explore why we spend so much money on drug rehab and less on true crazies.

  5. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moon-howler :
    I have never put Slowpoke in moderation. If he disappears, he self-deports. He usually knows when it is time.

    It would have been funnier if it was more true….oh well, I cracked myself up! Usually, I just get busy….happens to us all!

  6. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Or I realize that if I keep going, I will get myself booted. When I realize that, I just stop because…..well, if it was really that important, I could have my own blog, right?

  7. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    By the way, two of the smartest commentators on all this political back-and-forth the last couple of days have been Bob Beckel and Ed Rendell (who I normally wind up yelling at over the radio). Bob B asked yesterday on Hannity’s radio show “why didn’t the campus police, who had multiple dealings with the shooter, turn him into the mental health authorities” Apparently, it’s pretty easy in AZ. Then, perhaps the incident might have found it’s way to federal databases, and we wouldn’t have passed a background check. I think the laws we have are good, but I’m not so sure the execution of those laws is perfect by any means.

  8. Slowpoke, I don’t ever recall putting you in moderation. You have landed there on auto pilot but I have never put set your ip number, email address or name to send you directly to moderation when you post.

    I might have taken down a comment or 2, but you were never on the dreaded moderation list.

  9. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moon-howler :
    Slowpoke, I don’t ever recall putting you in moderation. You have landed there on auto pilot but I have never put set your ip number, email address or name to send you directly to moderation when you post.
    I might have taken down a comment or 2, but you were never on the dreaded moderation list.

    Correct…no argument.

  10. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Hmm, I just heard Pelosi call Tuscon “a tragic accident”. An accident? Really? Oops!

    1. @Slow, poor choice of words. There has been a lot of that today, hasn’t there.

      Maybe we all need to just stop listening.

  11. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moon-howler :
    @Elena, I have never heard a more self-serving speech than the one I just heard listening to Palin. I won’t even address ‘blood libel.’ I am not familiar with the term. But she gave a speech. If she truly wanted to address the Tucson Massacre, she would have kept a few brief words to under 2 minutes. Somewhere she might have ….nah…it has been said enough times.
    I am not impressed. She positioned herself against the president. She is a slick one.
    She needed to have come out on Monday and kept it to 2 minutes.

    Palin’s speech was right on the money. There was nothing wrong with her use of the “blood libel” phrase. There is only the blind hatred of the left against her. But that’s OK, it only serves to show what Palin-haters are really like.

  12. @slow, I didn’t address ‘blood libel.’ I am not familiar with the term. I did not criticize her over using it.

    However, I did criticize her over the content of her speech and its length. I also feel she should have come out much earlier or said nothing.

    I don’t hate Sarah Palin. I just don’t want her as president.

    She is attractive and full of energy.

    Now I will say one thing about her. This is the very first time I have ever thought that she carried herself well in a speech. She was serious and not relying on sound bites and ‘you betchas.’ For that, I give her credit.

  13. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Wasn’t necessarily referring to you or just you. Olbermann, Schultz, and a million others.

  14. Elena

    Slow,
    As a jew and as a woman of common sense, using the term that is ONLY associated with anti semitism and persecution of jews is outrageous. Palin IS NOT THE VICTIM! The people who lost their lives and are in the hospital are the victims. I do not disagree that the instant reaction to blame her was wrong. However, being that Congresswoman Giffords publicly expressed her concern over the use of violent imagery, I would not accuse of Gabby Giffords of blood libel, since she is the one laying in the hospital bed with a g-d damn bullet hole through her brain.

    ONCE again, the over all message I believe, from many different voices, is that this should use this horrible tragedy as an opportunity to rise above the hate and blame and remember that we should all strive to be our best, we should all “look in the mirror” and wonder how we can better ourselves.

  15. Elena

    As a Catholic history buff, married to a Jewish woman of common sense, I believe that there is no other term available for what the left and the media have attempted to do to the Tea Party, Palin, and the right in general. Unfortunately, the term does have some bad history attached to it. One must look at how it is being used. Is it being used in an anti-semitic way? No. Is it being used to describe false accusations against a “class” of people in regards to mass murder? Yes. It is being used accurately.

    What the left has done in the past few days is to spread hate. They have spread distrust. They have tried to poison the entire political intercourse by using the vilest accusations. Palin has been getting a huge amount of death threats now. The criticism of its use is now being used to distract people from seeing just how badly the media has acted.

    So, if not “blood libel,” what term would you use?

    1. Whihc left? Names por favor. I want names of those who cast blame on anyone.

  16. Elena

    @Cargosquid
    Palin IS NOT THE VICTIM! The people who lost their lives and are in the hospital are the victims. I do not disagree that the instant reaction to blame her was wrong. However, being that Congresswoman Giffords publicly expressed her concern over the use of violent imagery, I would not accuse of Gabby Giffords of blood libel, since she is the one laying in the hospital bed with a g-d damn bullet hole through her brain.

    ONCE again, the over all message I believe, from many different voices, is that this should use this horrible tragedy as an opportunity to rise above the hate and blame and remember that we should all strive to be our best, we should all “look in the mirror” and wonder how we can better ourselves.

    Cargo,
    I really don’t know what else to say besides what I have said.

  17. Censored bybvbl

    Cargosquid, is there no limit to the blame you want to place on liberals? You do the very thing you accuse them of – attack, attack, attack, blame,blame, blame – although you may do this politely. Would it be possible for you to discuss these recent events without putting a political spin on them? I’ve gotten to the point of scrolling past a lot of your posts because they appear to lack any neutrality.

  18. I’ve never said that I was neutral. However, the shooting attack and the blame attack ARE TWO DIFFERENT EVENTS. I would like the overall message to be that we need to rise above politics. However, the only people saying that we need to do so on the left is here, the President, and (gasp!) Maddow. Congresswoman Giffords did express concern over violent imagery. But that concern and the current blame game are two different things. Any political spin that I put out is a REACTION to the crap being spewed by the media about my supposed incitement to murder. Because I’ve use the same “heated” rhetoric as they did.
    Censored, if you want to scroll past ALL of my posts for whatever reason, feel free. But, you will find yourself getting only one side of a story.

    Palin is a victim of slander as is the entire conservative/Tea Party movement. The media continues to trumpet the idea that the right’s rhetoric is to blame for the massacre. Since I’m one of those people, I tend to get a little upset when people accuse me of inciting murder. Especially when the facts completely prove otherwise.

  19. Moon,
    Olberman, Dupnik, New York Times, Krugman, Numerous bloggers, DailyKos diarists, MSNBC, CNN…

    Do you really need a list? Its not just this occasion. Here’s a condensed list by Michelle Malkin:

    http://michellemalkin.com/2011/01/14/blame-righty-a-condensed-history/

    In every case of violence, the right gets blamed before the facts are in. But if Palin gets a huge increase in death threats….”nothing to see here.” If unions intimidate and beat citizens….”nothing to see here.” If left leaning people shoot up the Discover Channel and fly planes into buildings….THEIR actual political leanings are ignored when its discovered they weren’t conservative.

    Why don’t you see how dangerous the politics has become when the media cheers on one wide and demonizes the other? If you read back in my posts, I was one of the first to state that there was NO politics involved in this shooting and that the evidence showed that he was a nut. Why are you so eager to portray Palin/the TP as non-victims of slander? Are you saying that they DID cause this?

  20. Moon, you wanted an example of the ones blaming the right:

    Here’s an eyewitness with video at the pep rally/memorial service

    http://pajamasmedia.com/tatler/2011/01/12/word-salad-of-hate-at-oakland-vigil-for-tucson-victims/

    “realizing that the guy was going off-message — so they simply switched off the camera’s photo lights and stopped filming him”

    Apparently, the news media didn’t want to report the WHOLE story.

  21. juturna

    Not an attempt to discredit your list – I happen to agree but for goodness sake Michelle Malkin wouldn’t thank Obama or any other Democrat if they pulled her from a buring fire – she’d call it an opportunity!!! She really is incapable of circumspect thought. Thankfully, Fox & Friends now has more of Dana Perino and Aly Camarota. I really have difficulty sitting still during one of Malkins lectures. I try to listen……. 🙂

  22. Ya go with the list you have….

    Many people don’t seem to understand the frustration being felt by many on the right, so here’s a professional writer say it. Not everything correlates to my life, but the gist is right on.

    http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/understanding-media-or-why-are-you-right-wingers-so-filled-with-hate/

    And now….I’m done.

  23. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Elena :
    Slow,
    As a jew and as a woman of common sense, using the term that is ONLY associated with anti semitism and persecution of jews is outrageous.

    I was unaware of the copyright.

  24. Elena

    I had responded to you Slow, with a link to wikipedia, but I deleted it. It really doesn’t matter now, I would say it is time to move forward and wonder how we can all be just a little bit better.

  25. hs4265

    Squid: As a Jew also, I must strongly disagree with your attempting to qualify the use of the term “blood libel”. The argument that you have some sort of authority or ethical say simply because you
    ‘re married to a Jew isn’t a cogent argument, sorry. As a Jew, I take great offense to anyone using a term specifically assigned to the accusation that we killed christian babies and used their blood to bake our Matzos with. So PLEASE STOP MAKING EQUIVOCATIONS. All of you who defend it are strongly offending me. Thankyou.

  26. hs4265

    And additionally in terms of the faux liberal outrage, maybe if those of you had personal friends or neighbors who you knew intimately that barely survived the camps you would not dare try to continue on with your justifications. Again, STOP IT. Even if you think you are justified, , we are telling you that you are PERSONALLY offending those of us who lost 80% of our people’s population.

  27. hs4265

    One more thing, just because Alan Dershowitz says so, “dont make it so” One Jew’s opinion doesn’t make the rest of ours null and void. Maybe if all the Synagogues, Rabbis, ADL, etc said it wasn’t something to be offended about I might listen to their arguments. I mean really, This is a guy who defended OJ Simpson and kept saying he was innocent. Give me a break.

Comments are closed.