Politicians: Tone Down the Rhetoric | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Politicians: Tone Down the Rhetoric

The United States changed Saturday morning, Jan. 8, when an apparently mentally disturbed man took out his anti-government venom by trying to assassinate a U.S. congresswoman, and killing a little girl, a judge and other people's loved ones in the process.

Or the country should have changed.

Many people had one of two responses to this incident: Many said politicians and their supporters need to tone down the vitriolic, hateful, violent rhetoric, or call it out in others. Others who supposedly never use violent rhetoric started defending those who do, even implying that it's their First Amendment right to threaten or incite violence. Whoa.

Arizona has, for the moment, become ground zero for a conversation our country needs to have. Long lists of threats against mostly Democratic lawmakers—many because they supported health-insurance reform—have emerged since Saturday. We are face-to-face with a disturbingly nasty discourse that seemed to take hold when Sarah Palin frothed up the crowds at her vice presidential campaign spots (thanks, John McCain) and have grown worse since, with more and more references to gun violence thrown in. Perhaps the most jolting are tapes of Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle talking about how people might need to resort to "Second Amendment remedies" if she didn't defeat that ole radical Sen. Harry Reid. (Thankfully, she didn't.)

In our state, we know (or should know) how rhetoric like the Citizens Council used to use, in turn, leads to the violent crazies (like the Ku Klux Klan) committing unspeakable violence to take care of the "problem." We also know that the people behind the rhetoric never want to take responsibility for the seeds their words planted and what they sprout.

Now, in Mississippi, we are entering a new legislative session and an election year. We reported last year about all the anti-immigration bills that conservative legislators are putting forward—some much like the hateful law in Arizona, which both law enforcement and real constitutionalists hate equally, and that the apparent target of Saturday's shooting, Rep. Gabby Giffords, a centrist Democrat who supports gun rights, wisely opposed.

We are already hearing evil venom from politicians, radio talkers and bloggers who want to demonize immigrants (even the "legal" ones) and use them for wedge-issue bait. This can lead that one lonely crazy guy, or a group of disgruntled bigots a la Kluckers, to join together to commit violence to solve the overblown demagoguery espoused by politicians and their media lapdogs.

Mississippians need to take note: This kind of rhetoric has no place in a democratic society, and it can result in bloodshed. Be part of the solution, not an instigator, if you don't want blood on your conscience.

Previous Comments

ID
161598
Comment

The rhetoric has needed to be tamed down for some time. Both Fox News and MSNBC are completely ridiculous. Both networks are filled with half-truths which are aimed at appeasing their target audience's existing ideologies. Sarah Palin is a complete joke and she needs to disapear. The same goes for Sharon Angle, Beck, Moulitsas, Olbermann and the rest of these fringe personalities who bring out the worst in American politics. However, to be completely fair, it was also wrong of Obama to say that "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." That really shocked me when he said that and I think it will haunt him as the discussion of political rhetoric continues. Everybody needs to admint their mistakes, take a step back, and start from scratch. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done in Washington.

Author
Dave Coleman
Date
2011-01-12T22:36:44-06:00
ID
161608
Comment

Mr. Colemen, I agree with the word "fact" because every public discourse should/must be factual first. The MSNBC crew produces the most fact oriented programs in media. This is not a personal assessment: Their work has been documented through tapes, videos and quotations placed in contex, and also through historic research. This bring me to a question for you, because of the quote you made about the "knife and gun" scenario you gave about Preident Obama. Please give your source. Please direct me to your link so that I can know that what you have said is factual.

Author
justjess
Date
2011-01-13T11:55:58-06:00
ID
161610
Comment

Jess- Obama said it at a fundraiser on June 2008 in Philadelphia. It was even discussed by the media then. Nobody is making stuff up. If you Google it you will get about 97,000 hits. Take your pick.

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-01-13T14:36:54-06:00
ID
161620
Comment

Obama did say that: http://www.politicususa.com/en/Obama-Philly

Author
golden eagle
Date
2011-01-13T16:15:40-06:00
ID
161621
Comment

He did say it. I bet he won't again. Palin, on the other hand, said this on Sunday, the day after the Tucson shootings on her Facebook page: "The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons - your Big Guns - to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win," I realize even putting "Palin" and "Obama" in the same sentence is ridiculous at this point, but it bears saying that there is a huge difference between the two people.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-13T16:30:26-06:00
ID
161625
Comment

All, someone just told me in e-mail that this Palin quote is an old one. I cannot confirm that it was posted Sunday, as it is not now there; thus, I apologize if it is an old one and stand corrected. I will leave it, however, as it was shocking enough no matter when it was posted.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-13T17:03:38-06:00
ID
161642
Comment

I get the feeling that Sister Sarah's quote is an old one. I'll give her the benefit that she wouldn't say something like this the day after, knowing what's on the line for her political future.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2011-01-13T23:53:31-06:00
ID
161644
Comment

Palin's quote is said to be from her facebook page,don't know if it is are not, but a Google search turned up blog Governor Palin 4 President, that had it posted March 28, 2010 seems she was talking about basketball, she sounds like a football coach I had retired out of the Army...LOL http://governorpalin4president.blogspot.com/search?q=March+Madness

Author
BubbaT
Date
2011-01-14T01:52:03-06:00
ID
161648
Comment

You sure wouldn't think so, golden. But she is the one who insulted every Jew, as well as others who know the meaning of "blood libel" a few days later because she couldn't resist making it about her. Can you imagine how she would deal with all the criticism she'd get as president. Would we get a youtube of the day? She missed such an opportunity to if not look presidential at least look like a confident, compassionate human being by leaving off the bottom of that statement and, instead, calling for everyone to be kinder and gentler toward each other. Like Obama did. Of course, she wouldn't be where she is based on kinder political discourse, so I guess it doesn't serve her needs. So very sad.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-14T10:22:53-06:00
ID
161681
Comment

At least one Jew didn't feel insulted by it: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703583404576079823067585318.html

Author
Mark Geoffriau
Date
2011-01-17T12:24:34-06:00
ID
161688
Comment

Just because a Jew defends it doesn't mean that a statement "doesn't insult every Jew." Precision in logic and language matters: There were Uncle Toms and even some African Americans who managed to benefit from the American slave trade, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a travesty against all blacks. Now, if you're interested in discussion rather than scoring partisan points, why don't you pick out something he said there and pursue an intelligent discussion of it. All the partisan venom and gamemanship and trolling to one-up are tired at this point. We can all do better than that, and if we care about our nation, we must. Let's play smarter, all.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-17T16:43:40-06:00
ID
161689
Comment

I bet like most people and Palin herself, Ms Ladd didn't know how Jews felt about "blood libel" until she was duly instructed on how offended she should be. One could reasonably argue that was a slur 500 years ago can have a different context and meaning in the present. But given how tough simple metaphors are on liberals today, I suppose we should table this point.

Author
FlabLoser
Date
2011-01-17T20:12:29-06:00
ID
161690
Comment

Welcome, FlabLoser. Let me first invite you to use your real name as most people do to comment here (and we are urging all to do so). The JFP is a different kind of site: we invite a variety of people to contribute fact-based opinion and even criticism to the conversation on our site, and we don't invite personal attacks, ad hominem or trolling just to strike out at individuals one does not care for. When people use their real names, they tend to act like adults and avoid those things. So, please join us in this little real-name revolution that helps keep the conversation here civil and insightful, if occasionally edgy and toe to toe. Now to your comment. The fact is that the Jewish response was, predictably, swift against Ms. Palin's remark, even as some of them defend her against blame for the attack. A variety of Jewish groups immediately issued statements. A quick and easy search reveals: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_theticket/20110112/pl_yblog_theticket/jewish-groups-respond-to-palins-use-of-blood-libel http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Mise_00/5962_00.htm I believe many Jews, FlabLoser, would argue that "blood libel" was much more than a "slur." As for your last statement, that is just a silly insult by someone using "FlabLoser" to comment. Next time you post here, I urge you to put on your big-boy drawers, gather up the courage to use your real name and join an adult conversation. I'm sure you can figure out how to disagree without being disagreeable, no? I look forward to it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2011-01-18T08:21:26-06:00

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