Incivility is NOT to Blame for Jared Loughner’s Arizona Shooting Rampage. But the Left still Blames It.
The Uncivil Calling the Civil Uncivil
Civility. Civility. Civility. That’s all we hear. That we must be more civil. Too much partisanship in the country. We need to fight less. And work together more. Of course, the people saying this just took a shellacking at the 2010 midterm elections. But they sure were singing a different song before that shellacking.
Civility? Please. Was wishing Rush Limbaugh dead civil? Was wishing Sarah Palin dead civil? Was making a movie based on a ‘what if’ assassination of George W. Bush civil? Was wishing Dick Cheney dead civil? Was wishing Sean Hannity dead civil? Was throwing a pie at Ann Coulter civil? Was saying you’d have sex with Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and Elisabeth Hasselbeck because they’re hot even though you hate them civil? Was dropping a crucifix in a glass of urine and calling it art civil? I could go on. But that should suffice to make the point.
Is this truly a cry for civility? Or simply a way to neuter the opposition’s power? By calling political dissent uncivil? Now that they have lost their power? My, how things change. Once upon time it was patriotic to debate and disagree. Of course, that’s only when the ‘wrong people’ were in power. Apparently.
This Nutcase came from the Left
The shooting rampage in Arizona showed the consequences of the lack of civility (i.e., when conservatives debate and disagree). At least, so thought those on the left. Until some of the facts started coming out. Turns out that the shooter was more of a leftist than a rightwing radical. That’s right, this Nutcase came from the Left.
He didn’t listen to talk radio. Didn’t follow Sarah Palin. Rush Limbaugh. Sean Hannity. Glenn Beck. Or anyone on the Right. In fact, one of his favorite books was the Communist Manifesto. Which is not a conservative manifesto. And he was a conspiracy nut. One of his favorite films was Zeitgeist: The Movie. A film citing conspiracy theories about Christ (He was just a myth), the 9/11 attacks, bankers manipulating the international monetary system, etc. And these are, of course, theories held by people on the Left. It’s pretty clear that if anyone incited Jared Loughner with vitriolic rhetoric, it was those on the left.
Doesn’t matter. Still the cry for civility rings out. Even though a lack of civility clearly didn’t prompt Loughner to do anything. It was his insanity that did. Even so, we still need to be civil. And not debate or disagree. With the liberal left. Because that incivility could create a Jared Loughner. Even though it didn’t here.
Forget the Paranoid Schizophrenia. Focus on the Vitriolic Political Debate.
The Arizona shooter was oblivious to all the incivility around him. It was the paranoid schizophrenia rattling around his head driving him. Not all that vitriolic political debate that is supposedly ruining our nation. Still, it is a time to reflect. To step back and take a look at ourselves and say, “Hey. We can be better.” Or so David Brooks writes about in the New York Times (see Tree of Failure posted 1/13/2011).
But over the past few decades, people have lost a sense of their own sinfulness. Children are raised amid a chorus of applause. Politics has become less about institutional restraint and more about giving voters whatever they want at that second. Joe DiMaggio didn’t ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process.
So, of course, you get narcissists who believe they or members of their party possess direct access to the truth. Of course you get people who prefer monologue to dialogue. Of course you get people who detest politics because it frustrates their ability to get 100 percent of what they want. Of course you get people who gravitate toward the like-minded and loathe their political opponents. They feel no need for balance and correction.
Brooks makes some good points. And the Left should listen to them. Because he’s talking about them. When George W. Bush was president Hillary Clinton said it was patriotic to debate and disagree. Now she says that this leads to domestic terrorism. No doubt she and her fellow Democrats believe they alone speak the truth. And that they have no need for balance or correction. Because they are always right and loathe their political opponents. Especially when they get shellacked in the midterm elections.
They’re Civil in North Korea. And Oppressed
Holding hands and singing kum bay ya isn’t going to change anything. Because we don’t agree. If everyone in the country agreed it wouldn’t be the United States. It would be North Korea. And they’re very civil there. Especially when it comes to the government that’s oppressing them. But I don’t think we want that kind of civility here.
Debate is good. Dissent is good. It prevents the rise of tyrants. That’s why Americans can debate and disagree. That process has prevented the rise of tyrants. And we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss that process.
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