After 10 days of commentaries I’m about ready to move on from this event. I think that we’ve learned all we can from the poster-child for wild-eyed nut-jobs grievously injuring a congresswoman and killing six others. There will be no end to the sadness for the families of the dead, and for the congresswoman the odds of her fully recovering are long, but as the rest of the country returns to the mundane and predictable so will I. America’s short memory is often a curse, but in cases such as Tucson it can be a blessing.
The events of the past 10 days concern me deeply. We had a clearly deranged individual shooting a relatively unknown member of congress (outside of Arizona and the political junkies) turned into a political battle axe wielded by Paul Krugman, the New York Times editorial staff, and other scions of the mainstream media against their political opponents.
On January 10th, the New York Times editorialized, “It is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats.” So as a registered Republican I am partly to blame for the murder of a 9 year old girl in Tucson. I, a parent and animal rescuer, am partly responsible for the death of a federal judge. I, a taxpayer who raises vegetables and donates them to local foodbanks with my hands, have blood on them.
To be demonized and depersonalized by a left-wing blog is one thing, but the New York Times? Is it any wonder that the Right – and many “grown ups” on the Left – united in their condemnation of such blatant libel? Contrary to what one of my best friends tells me, there are no precedents on the Right for this action. Humorist PJ O’Rourke finds another important distinction serious piece in the Weekly Standard:
Interesting how a few small changes would make that sentence appall the Times as much as the Times appalls me: “It is legitimate to hold Muslims and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced 9/11.”
We cannot predict the future, yet we cannot deny that there will be more attacks like Tucson. Famous people will continue to be targeted by kooks. Some of these murderers will have left wing agendas, others right wing, and most will have none beyond what the voices tell them to do in their heads. Unfortunately, some of these assassins will succeed.
What then? If the shooting of a conservative Democrat congresswoman inspires the New York Times, Keith Obermann, and Chris Matthews to forgo caution and slander an entire political party and wing of the American body politic, how are they going to react when someone more famous is the target? Imagine an assassination attempt on Nancy Pelosi, or the Vice President, or even, God help us all, the President. The tumult we just experienced over the past week would be magnified a thousand fold. We would see a political spasm unlike anything seen since 1968, perhaps unprecedented in the history of the Republic. Extrapolating from the events of Tucson it’s not impossible to imagine a complete breakdown of our democratic institutions and a witch hunt that would make the Red Scare of the 1940’s and 50’s look like a scavenger hunt. “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Tea Party?” could be the question condemning millions of Americans to political exile – or far worse. Prior to the shooting I would have considered such fears the product of overactive imaginations on the political extremes. Not anymore.
Contrary to what some on the Left believe, few of their opponents want to see anything worse happen to Nancy Pelosi, vice president Biden and President Obama beyond practicing their concession speeches on Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 6th, 2012. I may believe that Obama is the worst president since Jimmy Carter, but I don’t want to see the man harmed in any way.
Can the same be said of the editorial staff of the New York Times towards Republicans?
I would hope that the political system within the US is robust and could survive such an attack, but the quick leap into the abyss by the Administration’s supporters in the Media along with its silence in the first few days after the attack, worries me. We live in a world with madmen, and we cannot control each and every one of them. What we can control our reactions to the mayhem they cause. If the New York Times and the mainstream media that participated in the “blood libel” of those of us on the Right don’t take away this final lesson from the tragedy, then our nation is in deep trouble.