Tis’ the season

15 01 2011

Another day, another Facebook argument.  The shootings last week in Arizona have raised all sorts of discussions about the quality of political discourse in this country, and being a genuine knee-jerk bleeding heart liberal, I think a good part of the blame should be shovelled directly onto the the right wing.  And I post these opinions on my Facebook page, where I have at least a couple of hard-core right wing friends. Who just Do. Not. Get. It.

I try to play nicely.  I’d like to believe that we’re all good and reasonable people, but I’m telling you, some of the things I’ve heard from these friends?  They don’t make it easy.  I cannot count the permutations I’ve seen of “both sides are just as bad.”  For the record: NO, THEY AREN’T. 

They’ve come up with slide shows of “Death to Bush” signs at rallies, with lists of terrible things that have been said by various left wing commentators and politicians.   And initially, sure, you can get sucked into it. Until you look closer and hmm, those signs are being carried by single protesters.  And that list of terrible things?  All 10 of them?   Collected over nearly 50 years.

I’m not going to gloss over those signs.  They’re nasty and eliminationist and I didn’t like them at the time – but in honesty, I didn’t stand up and shout that people should knock it off.  HOWEVER – and this is a major point – those are individual protesters.  Single people with single signs. 

As compared to, let’s say, Glenn Beck.  Ann Coulter.  Bill O’Reilly.  Rush Limbaugh.  People with big electronic pulpits to shout from, and shout they do.  They shout loudly about eliminating the people they don’t agree with, or in Limbaugh’s case, killing all but two liberals so that people can know they once existed.  It’s constant.  Loud.  Repeated.  Repeated loudly.  On television, radio, internet, and books. 

There simply is no comparison for people of this type on the left.  We have Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann.  Who are themselves loud and opinionated, but they DO NOT use the kind of eliminationist rhetoric that tells people to avail themselves of “2nd amendment remedies”, or tell them “Don’t retreat… Reload!” 

Seriously here.  What the hell did all of these right-wing commentators think was going to happen?  Every time a progressive group does something to diminish bullying of a marginalized group somewhere, we hear nothing but pissing and moaning about how the left is changing society – often with a comment about how we’re “feminizing” everything, and make no mistake, the right doesn’t mean that as a compliment.  And yet, when we point out the kind of rhetoric they’ve been spewing into the airwaves for years, it’s suddenly all blinking wide-eyed innocence.  The right wing gets to operate in some kind of a moral void (!) where nothing they say actually matters… while everything the left wing does is leading to the direct downfall of civilization. 

I’ll tell you what the right wing thought was going to happen.  They were banking on it.  I’d like to say that they’re now all standing around wringing their hands, but what’s happening with every last one of them is that they’re doubling down on their indecency.  Sarah Palin responds by whining about being the victim of a blood libel.  Limbaugh mocks Obama’s speech at a victim’s memorial as being smart and articulate.

Seriously, now: if the situation were reversed, with a Republican politician gunned down in a parking lot, and a Republican president delivering a memorial speech, can you reasonably imagine ANY left wing broadcaster dishing up that same steaming pile of nasty?

So don’t tell me both sides are just as bad.  They aren’t.  Not even remotely.  And all those right-wingers who want to tell me differently?  You’re either deluded or deliberately naive.  Neither state is something to be proud of.  I don’t want to hear another damned thing about your free speech rights – or even better, your 1st amendment rights, since it has become abundantly clear to me that most of you don’t even know what that actually means.  And free speech?  Doesn’t mean freedom from responsibility for what you’ve said. 

Grow the hell up.  The right wing has blood on its hands and it owes the entire nation an apology.  But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for it.

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