Do the Left Need to Tone Down the Rhetoric?
Today on NPR’s Morning Edition Cokie Roberts was asked if the attempted assassination of the popular congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords would stop the nasty bitter hostile tone of political rhetoric. Roberts asks if the people calling for more civility will be more civil as if it is the job of the people who have been calling for more civility from the right wing hate machine, as if it is the job for the people calling for more civility to become more civil.
The Left has been pointing out that the inflammatory speech of Sarah Palin is over the top for a long time. The Left has been telling Palin and the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann and all the rest to tone it down for years. Congresswoman Giffords pointed out that words have consequences when Sarah Palin first put up her target with crosshairs stating that 20 congresspeople need to be eliminated (Congresswoman Giffords being one of the targeted congresspeople).
It was Palin’s map with gun sights on the various congressional districts that was condemned by many many on the left. It was condemned on the right as well. It was even condemned by Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who called Palin’s behavior “despicable.” Hasselbeck was a major campaigner for Paling when Palin was running for Vice President with John McCain. Rush Limbaugh is criticized almost daily for the endless hate speech and inflammatory rants. The criticism does not appear to have curtailed Palin’s or Limbaugh’s nonstop hate. Sean Hannity has said that the country would be better we got rid of liberals. What will Glenn Beck say today about the President of the United States? What inflammatory names will Beck call Obama today? Will he tell his listeners that Obama is a racist? Will Beck tell his listeners that Obama hates America? Will Michelle Bachmann tell her followers that there are Democrats in congress who are anti-American? Will Sean Hannity tell his listeners that liberal need to be eliminated? Will Bill O’Reilly tell his audience that the Left hate America? These examples go on and on.
Now Cokie Roberts wants the Left to tone it down. When Anthony Weiner points out the hate in these people’s language will Cokie Roberts ask Rep. Wiener if he will tone it down? We know it is the right who have been the cheerleaders of hate.
It is the right and the congresspeople on the right who rallied the Teabaggers during the Health Care Reform debate at town hall meetings during August and September of 2009 that were the centers of yelling and screaming and accusing without any civility. It was the right who encouraged this. Where was Cokie Roberts and her ilk at that time telling the Republican hate machine to tone it down? Why do the Left have to tone it down now that somebody has put a Democratic congresswoman in his crosshairs?
Cokie Roberts says it is the Left who are trying to “score political points” from the tragedy by blaming Teabaggers and Sarah Palin for the political environment that might have inflamed the shooter’s passions. As if the results of Palin’s and the Teabagger’s words is the Left’s fault. Roberts goes on to tell us the right say that the shooter is only a crazy person who has no fixed ideology as if the vitriol and hate repeated over and over by the likes of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann and all the rest have no impact on anybody’s mind except if that mind is the mind of some crazy.
It is very easy to say that anybody who shoots a congresswoman is crazy but like Sheriff Dupnik from southern Arizona says; “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.” Is this what Cokie Roberts what to stop?
How about we tell the likes of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann and all the rest of these right wing ideologues to stop spewing their hate and inflammatory speech. Maybe if these haters stop pushing their hate on the rest of society we will not have to be worried about a congressperson holding a “meet and greet” at a strip mall in Tucson Arizona. Maybe if the Right listens to the Left when the Left asks them to tone it down we will live in a more civil society. Now is not the time to tell the Left to tone it down. Now is the time for the right to stop the hate. It is always the time to tell the Right to stop the hate.