Bob and Weave

     It’s been entertaining and frustrating to watch the right wing media loons in this country react to last weekend’s attempted murder of a Democratic representative in Tucson. Entertaining because it’s always funny to watch supposedly intelligent adults make statements that fly in the face of logic, and frustrating because it’s simply more of the same.
     For the past two years, right wing radio jockeys and columnists, bloggers, and message boards have been incessantly harping about how President Obama is actively destroying the country. He’s been called a Communist, a socialist, a race-baiter, a foreigner illegally holding office, a usurper, a danger to the U.S., and simply, no doubt when the microphone is off, a nigger.
     Throw in the previous seven years (roughly between 2001-2008), when Democrats and their supporters were tacitly or openly called un-American for not marching in lockstep with the Bush Administration, and you’ve got near an entire decade when people who don’t subscribe to every insane paranoid belief of Rush Limbaugh have been demonized for allegedly trying to end over 200 years of representative democracy.
     Now, toss in the Molotov cocktail of the internet, certainly available in 2001 but nowhere near as ubiquitous then as it is now, where any crackpot with enough money to afford a phone bill can write about, read about, and directly communicate with other members of the lunatic fringe, and you’ve got close to ten solid years to build up resentment that can spill over into actual bloodshed.
     I don’t exonerate the left on this either. To this day I’m simply amazed nobody tried to assassinate Bush, or Cheney, or Ken Lay, or Jeff Skilling, or any number of high-profile politicians or corporate criminal defendants.
     The funny part is watching these leaders of the right act as if all of their words and actions over the past decade shouldn’t be held responsible, in even an atom of an iota, for what Jared Loughner did last Saturday. Has it even occurred to these loudmouths that there are millions of mentally disturbed people in this country? People who might actually act on all this inflamed rhetoric? What’s it going to take for some responsibility to rear its ugly head?
     And that’s the sad part. You’d figure in the wake of what appears to be the act of a seriously disturbed individual, the first assassination attempt on a member of Congress since Leo Ryan was ambushed outside Jonestown in 1978 and only the fifth assassination attempt on a congressional member in the country’s history, the right would at least suggest that maybe all this “take back the country” rhetoric has been just a tad too much.
     Admitting you might have been wrong about something is anything but weak. Rather, it shows just how strong someone is, how one can recognize a mistake and correct it, even if it comes at some expense to their personal reputation.
     Clearly that’s not going to happen. And it won’t happen after another attempt is made, successful or not, on a member of the political movement. And when it happens again, no matter how obvious the political overtones (picture someone wearing a Gadsden flag, a tricorn hat, and leveling a single-shot derringer at the victim’s head), the right will once again throw up its hands in mock disgust and claim that it can’t be held responsible for the actions on a lone psycho.
     Personal responsibility: one of the right’s personal favorite slogans, obviously situational specific.

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