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A Turning Point in the Discourse, But in Which Direction?

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: americans, congress, democrats, crime, freedoms, healthcare, media, lies, politics, propaganda, republicans, usa )

- 3019 days ago -
Within minutes of the first reports Saturday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and a score of people with her had been shot in Tucson, pages began disappearing from the Web. One was Sarah Palin's infamous "cross hairs" map


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ewoud k (68)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 8:47 am
WASHINGTON — Within minutes of the first reports Saturday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and a score of people with her had been shot in Tucson, pages began disappearing from the Web. One was Sarah Palin’s infamous “cross hairs” map from last year, which showed a series of contested Congressional districts, including Ms. Giffords’s, with gun targets trained on them. Another was from Daily Kos, the liberal blog, where one of the congresswoman’s apparently liberal constituents declared her “dead to me” after Ms. Giffords voted against Nancy Pelosi in House leadership elections last week.
Matt Bai

In Attack’s Wake, Political Repercussions (January 9, 2011)
Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics (January 9, 2011)
Arizona Suspect’s Recent Acts Offer Hints of Alienation (January 9, 2011)

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Odds are pretty good that neither of these — nor any other isolated bit of imagery — had much to do with the shooting in Tucson. But scrubbing them from the Internet couldn’t erase all evidence of the rhetorical recklessness that permeates our political moment. The question is whether Saturday’s shooting marks the logical end point of such a moment — or rather the beginning of a terrifying new one.

Modern America has endured such moments before. The intense ideological clashes of the 1960s, which centered on Communism and civil rights and Vietnam, were marked by a series of assassinations that changed the course of American history, carried out against a televised backdrop of urban riots and self-immolating war protesters. During the culture wars of the 1990s, fought over issues like gun rights and abortion, right-wing extremists killed 168 people in Oklahoma City and terrorized hundreds of others in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park and at abortion clinics in the South.

What’s different about this moment is the emergence of a political culture — on blogs and Twitter and cable television — that so loudly and readily reinforces the dark visions of political extremists, often for profit or political gain. It wasn’t clear Saturday whether the alleged shooter in Tucson was motivated by any real political philosophy or by voices in his head, or perhaps by both. But it’s hard not to think he was at least partly influenced by a debate that often seems to conflate philosophical disagreement with some kind of political Armageddon.

The problem here doesn’t lie with the activists like most of those who populate the Tea Parties, ordinary citizens who are doing what citizens are supposed to do — engaging in a conversation about the direction of the country. Rather, the problem would seem to rest with the political leaders who pander to the margins of the margins, employing whatever words seem likely to win them contributions or TV time, with little regard for the consequences.

Consider the comments of Sharron Angle, the Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully ran against Harry Reid for the Senate in Nevada last year. She talked about “domestic enemies” in the Congress and said, “I hope we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies.” Then there’s Rick Barber, a Republican who lost his primary in a Congressional race in Alabama, but not before airing an ad in which someone dressed as George Washington listened to an attack on the Obama agenda and gravely proclaimed, “Gather your armies.”

In fact, much of the message among Republicans last year, as they sought to exploit the Tea Party phenomenon, centered — like the Tea Party moniker itself — on this imagery of armed revolution. Popular spokespeople like Ms. Palin routinely drop words like “tyranny” and “socialism” when describing the president and his allies, as if blind to the idea that Americans legitimately faced with either enemy would almost certainly take up arms.

It’s not that such leaders are necessarily trying to incite violence or hysteria; in fact, they’re not. It’s more that they are so caught up in a culture of hyperbole, so amused with their own verbal flourishes and the ensuing applause, that — like the bloggers and TV hosts to which they cater — they seem to lose their hold on the power of words.

On Saturday, for instance, Michael Steele, the Republican Party chairman, was among the first to issue a statement saying he was “shocked and horrified” by the Arizona shooting, and no doubt he was. But it was Mr. Steele who, last March, said he hoped to send Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the “firing line.”

Mr. Steele didn’t mean this the way it sounded, of course; he was talking about “firing” in the pink slip sense of the word. But his carelessly constructed, made-for-television rhetoric reinforced the dominant imagery of the moment — a portrayal of 21st-century Washington as being like 18th-century Lexington and Concord, an occupied country on the verge of armed rebellion.

Contrast that with one of John McCain’s finer moments as a presidential candidate in 2008, when a woman at a Minnesota town hall meeting asserted that Mr. Obama was a closeted Arab. “No, ma’am, he’s not,” Mr. McCain quickly replied, taking back the microphone. “He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with.” Mr. McCain was harking back to a different moment in American politics, in which such disagreements could be intense without becoming existential clashes in which the freedom of the country was at stake.

None of this began last year, or even with Mr. Obama or with the Tea Party; there were constant intimations during George W. Bush’s presidency that he was a modern Hitler or the devious designer of an attack on the World Trade Center, a man whose very existence threatened the most cherished American ideals.

The more pressing question, though, is where this all ends — whether we will begin to re-evaluate the piercing pitch of our political debate in the wake of Saturday’s shooting, or whether we are hurtling unstoppably into a frightening period more like the late 1960s.

The country labors still to recover from the memories of Dealey Plaza and the Ambassador Hotel, of Memphis and Birmingham and Watts. Tucson will either be the tragedy that brought us back from the brink, or the first in a series of gruesome memories to come.
A version of this article appeared in print on January 9, 2011, on page A20 of the New York edition.

ewoud k (68)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 8:53 am
The word missing in politics: RESPECT.

John C (75)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 9:38 am
This has paseed beyond politics and into anarchy.

Angela Dubie (306)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 9:49 am
The plot thickens!

Hans M (591)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 10:09 am
Loughner Interacted With Giffords in 2007 (Click Here)

ewoud k (68)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 10:20 am

I don't argue or question your link, but hearing and seeing how politicians treat each other makes you wonder sometimes who is the madman.

We'll have to wait and see, can't do much ourselves.

Hans M (591)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 10:23 am
Yes, it's pretty scary Ewoud.

ewoud k (68)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 10:30 am

Anarchy exsists in many forms and political views, not all anarchists are violent and/or madman.

IF in this case we can speak of anarchy, it's the right-wing anarchy, no government, no rules, no respect for the other, it's just ME who counts.

Other forms of anarchy, part the left-wing versions, are rather social, even socialist if you want, and respect the other, their freedom ends where others are harmed/hurt/bothered, and these anarchists are not nessesseraly violent.

To be (a bit more) complete, there are also left-wing violent anarchists, but I wonder if they would shoot like this guy did, a straight murder of Gabrielle Gifford and John Roll.

Richard Smith (81)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 10:40 am
I'm generally non-political ,don't even involve myself in tribal politics.
but believe if there was a NO Party system, people were elected simply by merit, or expertise
and prevented from raising MILLIONS OF $$$ advertising themselves.
there wouldn't be as much war along party lines...

ewoud k (68)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 11:40 am
Apparently (some) politicians begin to realise what their speeches may provoke:

ewoud k (68)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 11:52 am

In a way you're right, but it's already like that, political partis don't exsist in the electoral system of the US. Candidates run for themselves, it's just to make a shortcut to their statements that they indicate which party they want to be linked to.

And as long as you allow people, candidates included, to form groups..., and even without that, unfortunately individual candidates don't need parties to verbally slaughter their adversaries.

But the idea of keeping money out of politics is a good one, but how to reach this?

resignd Cannot remove (139)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 12:41 pm
The article starts out saying that the man who did the shooting was "pot smoking", "loner" who lived with his parents. Immediately I felt the writer was attempting to smear all people who smoke and live with their parents. What the ding dong does that have to do with his personality. It would seem a loner would live alone. So goes the state of our press, editorializing rather than reporting the facts. Now I am not being defensive about either one of those innuendos because I don't smoke pot, but probably should, and live alone because I cherish my time alone having lived with five elderly for eight years straight without a day off.
Sop from there we go to bashing the 60's when some very important changes were being pursued, and anyone who thinks it wasn't worth it, they need to review their history. The deaths were related to police killing civilians. I do not know of police that were killed during those times, but it certainly would have been substantially less than the illegal wars we are involved in.
The message of the article, to me, tries to squash dissent, using Oklahoma as an example. No I do not condone the killing of these people and it had to be done by a deeply disturbed individual for reasons there has not been time to uncover, or the police are not willing at this time to disclose, if there was letter left by the killer to explain his horrific behavior.
The article did not even touch on the death threats made to incite people to kill Assange, which would have been one of the most relevant issues of hate directed speech that could have been made. But it was written by an American journalist, so what do you expect. It is wrong to defend Assange in the American press, even from prosecutable statements made to incite others to kill another human being that the politicians do not like.

Sunday January 9, 2011, 12:41 pm
I'm still in shock, but I shouldn't be. I'm old enough to have lived through the turmoil and violence mentioned in the Times article. But I tend to keep hoping that we will learn from our pasts and evolve into a more intelligent, open society, even in politics. But we've never learned from the past before, so why should we do that now.

When political rhetoric resorts to symbols of violence (crosshairs, for example) and words of violence ("they oughta be lined up and shot", etc.), then history shows that violence always follows, because there are always extremists and/or nutjobs who will take those words to heart and act upon them.

Past Member (0)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 1:01 pm
Noted, thanks. What a terrible tragedy...sending Reiki healing energy to all those wounded and mourning. The main thing that should disappear is $ara.

Tom F (13)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 1:09 pm
A strong, free media is a good thing, but a media reliant on ratings from the watching population drives that media towards extremism and sensationalism and so the loop lists ever more extreme. Will people swing back when they are shocked enough or will they simply become more brutalised. Are we a vicious mob or a considered electorate?

ewoud k (68)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 1:52 pm

A link to for a petition to "call for an end to all overt and implied appeals to violence in American politics. We must debate, not hate":

Sheryl G (359)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 2:15 pm
Sarah Palin and the others should of taken down their cross hairs and other violent symbols a long time ago, or better still never have put them up in the first place. We had protesters who stood outside clinics where the medical abortions were performed, yelling death to the baby killing Doctor. How they justify the murder of one life over another I'm still not clear but they do.

Then posters were made with the Doctors face with wanted dead or alive written underneath, or a target sign across the Doctors face, implying he should be dead. We have now had quite a few of these Doctors murdered after this went on per each Doctor. As the Nurse said of the protesters who feel their hands are clean, she said, they insight others to do their dirty work. I feel the same stands true to the various Palin's who have done the same with the masses. They are as guilty too.

There are too many who are out of work, have no medical care, no hope for their future and then they hear these Leaders on the TV or radio or read the words and see the cross hair symbols. To desperate people, who are confused also, this is all it takes sometimes. In fact, like the man who killed the Doctor, he actually felt he was justified in doing so, that he had done everyone a big favor and therefore sacrificed himself for the cause, so too will some of these others who will lock, load, and fire upon those who are elected in the other party.

Marilyn L (107)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 2:23 pm
As a San Franciscan living these past 16 years in Ariozna I can tell you it has been leading more strongly to the extreme right since 2003 and has gotten worse after Gov. Napolitamo left for the Homeland post. Part of the problem in Arizona is the liberal gun laws. Just about anyone can own and openly wear or conseal it on their person. There is something in the mindset, it seems, of Arizoans that have this love affair with guns and have a contempt for our government and our federal laws. In my opinion, citizens should NOT have semi-automatic weapons of any kind. It is insane.

But the problem, and I agree with the Sheriff of Pima County, is the lise, half-truths and mean, hateful rhetoric we hear from politicians and from radio, TV hosts, and other information media. This kind of "free speech" may be necessary in a democratic republic like America, put it is dangerous, as we have witness this weekend. Our words, as well as our actions have consequences. We must have responsibility and accountablility for ones actions. It doesn't matter if you are a politician, radio/tv host, or the common man or woman, you, me, we must be held responsible and accountable.

There was a brief comment in the Arizona Repbulic (our largest newspaper) this morning from a reader, "If a Muslim had put a map on the internet with crosshairs targeting politicians with their names, what would have happened to the Muslim? Just asking." Interesting comment and I took this person to say that those who do such actions should be held equally accoutable no matter who they are. There are many abuses of our First Amendment and unfortunately they go on without accountability..

It doesn't matter if this young distrub man who gun down these folks at the mall is a right wing nut, a left wing nut or a nut. What we must not lose sight of is the rhetoric that might have motivated him. We must not lose sight of the toxic environment we have created and I'm not talking about spilled oil.

Extremism is dangerous, no matter where it comes from. Those of us who leave comments on the net and other placee should do so with care.

America was founded on some very unique (at the time) ideals. I think, we the people and our leaders (after all we put them in office by voting or not voting) have much soul-serarching to do right now. We must get back to the ideals of our founders, to the Constitution they gave us and the improvements we have made to our Constitiution all these almost 235 years.
Ironically, I believe, that is what Representative Griffords was trying to do and I'm sure she'll get back at that task when well.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Universe for all those harmed in anyway yesterday morning in Tucson.

Angela Dubie (306)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 3:02 pm
Great post Dandelion, Marilyn, it's politicians like Sara Palin and Dick Channy that give people the impression of don't bring a knief to a gun fight, because thet shoot first and hope that they're not questioned, but expect a full pardon if they are caught!
Like Marilyn said, we don't know but it dosent really matter if the shooter was of the far right or far left, what matters is the distance we have gotten from our sainity, and when we have gun happy politicians, that helps gun happy subjects!
I am shocked and amazed that we don't see this happening on a daily bases, but if we outlawed guns, they'd just be using bombs like Alciadea, and would have killed everyone that was there! Guns don't kill people, but frustration, intollerence and hate does!
Did he put cross hairs on these politicians as Sara Palen did to Julian Asange? Marilyn, if it is legal to carry a weapon in Arizona, why did no one have one but the gunman? If they did, he could be the only one that died?

Blacktiger P (247)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 3:40 pm
From north of the 49th, I'm NOT in the least surprised! I mourn for the families of the colateral damage, the parents of the 9 yr. old child and how they are suffering the results of months of running mouths of the likes of Sarah[she does not deserve the name of my mother], all those filthy mouths from FOX TV. Shameful that a mentally desturbed young man took you all at your word and set out to kill, wound and maim.

Michael Cunningham (65)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 4:23 pm
Sorry but I can not see this posting as anything it claims to be. Its basic assumption is that all of these things mentioned are exactly what members of the left claims they are, calls to violence.

Such a position has no basis in fact!!!!

Max Overton (3)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 6:22 pm
Everyone wants freedoms but no-one wants the responsibilities that must go with them.

Linda G (187)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 6:43 pm
I would hope this would be a wake up call to us all to do some soul searching about how we interact with those we disagree with. But since nothing changed after a man flew a plane into the IRS building killing innocents, I don't expect anything will change now either, sadly.

And I don't expect to see any toning down of the rhetoric by those on radio and tv because the sensationalism adds to the ratings and thus to their pocketbooks. And politicians, well when they don't have solutions, they turn to division and attack.

So I feel it is up to each and every one of us to set the tone, to let our politicians, radio and tv hosts know that we will no longer tolerate hate, no longer being torn apart by distortions and lies. It's time to put the civility back into our civilization.

Penelope P (222)
Sunday January 9, 2011, 11:38 pm
In Australia so far we don't shoot our politicians though we do involuntarily and suddenly disapear or retre them
Sot his dimension is interesting. I mean we are forever having coups within partes too-But then we have draconian gun laws and perhaps the difficulty of getting a gun inhibits us.

Penelope P (222)
Monday January 10, 2011, 12:44 am
Thinking this over-
But seriously- There is a delightful de Bono book "I Am Right .You Are Wrong" Which should be mandatory reading for everyone and certainly in high Schools..
At the risk of being told that I am pleading for casuistry- I would really recommend it- What it points out is that part of our problem with thinking is that AristotlianLogic has invaded our thinking -to too great an extent.

And this has been promoted by Science- The fact is that we tend to polarise our thinking and to arbitarily push things into a right and wrong category. Doing this leads to contension as points of simularity are not acknowledged and negotiation becomes difficult.

I would like to add that resolution and compromise,which are the basis of politics in action are therefore
difficult to createThis may have something to do with what is happening here..

Another factor which is probably contributing is our dependence all the time on following rules and regulations
these rules more frequently than not do not have their rationale spelt out . What one does dailly is follow sequences without neccessarily knowing why.

This particularly applies to that binary mechanism that we most of us use dailly, and which gives us a plethora of often incomprehensible proceedures . I refer to the computer, and the sanme applies to all our electronic gadgets and machines to a certain extent of course-

This dailly doing by rote the meaningless and incomprehensible no doubt causes a certain gap in our tendency to get back to first principles. As Orwell commented . Thinking accurately as well as creating relie4s on usingf irst principles.

The other factor as I see it is what onion talked about,hyper anxiety can make people do rather silly things and has been proved to make them more suggestible- In fact generating anxiety is always the first step in brain washing .
Anxiety too,of course is basic to advertising ;- a man content with his lot and with what he has is not going to go out and buy. He must be made to feel he has a deficient somewhere that he must compensate for before he buys.

From everywhere there are mesaages bombarding us that we do not count and /or are incomplete- Advertising tells us we need product X to be OK again; The media tells us how an awful cataclysm is about to hit or has struck somewhere else; Our purses tell us they could be empty at any time and we are not likely to influence what we earn,or even if we are earning at all,that we are helpless to guarantee that we can maintain
what we have.
Fear and anxiety can cause violence and as I said before irrational behaviour.
We also have the problem that we all to some extent take our thinking from ready made concepts-sometimes these are called words.-
Words have emotional charges,we also have habits with them that are difficult to overcome..

This habit with words has been know for quite a few thousand years ,Close to two thousand years ago Cicero for instance made it clear that the mob must be moved by emotion and that knowing the emotions is the means to power- The polititians in other words are merely doing their job a bit more irresponsibly than most.
They arer utilizing their main tools in a way dangerous to the public.

We also have on the part of the public what has been called "portmanteau thinking- the habit of using categorisation,slogand and over simplifications which we all are prone to- This sort of thinking arises easilly when people are not really educated to think for themselves and are hyper dependent on experts. It also arises when people are short of time and working too long hours and not getting enough sleep -which is the case it seems in most countries now.

The other factor is of course as Eward said the fact that old fashioned politeness and courtesy have been abandoned, as substantial habits in dealing with all others.

Anyway this may cover some of the motivations that lead to these situations - But they have been to some extent part of human situations since the beginning of history and go perhaps beyond democracy.

I am haunted however by the savagery of Democratic politics in England in the eighteenth and mineteenth century
As far as I know it did not lead to the bumping off of politicians then - Wish I knew why.

Michael Cunningham (65)
Monday January 10, 2011, 7:30 am
"But then we have draconian gun laws and perhaps the difficulty of getting a gun inhibits us."

Yeah! Like the only thing you can kill people with is a gun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael Cunningham (65)
Monday January 10, 2011, 7:33 am
"The fact is that we tend to polarise our thinking and to arbitarily push things into a right and wrong category."

So you are trying to say that there is no such thing as right or wrong? That is just wrong!!

Lloyd H (46)
Monday January 10, 2011, 9:31 am
I have to admit that what is most bothering to me is that nearly all of the mainstream medis, with the notable exception of Keith Olberman in his special comment from Saturday night 1/9/11, seem to be going the rout of it is not the violent discourse it is the single mad man. Yes the shooter may be a little off, but what strikes me is that the so called ramblings of a disterbed individual that are being cited are on close inspection picked as if from a menue one from column a one from column b etc. And what you get is a nasty patchwork of lines, ideas and nearly verbatum quotes from the likes of Limbaugh, O'Riely, Angle,West, Palin etc. The fact is for more than 3 years the extemist fear and hate mongers have been called out on and warned about the coming effects that their inflamatory hate and fear mongering devisive rhetoric was going to have on those on the fringe that were either unstable or sociopathic enough to act on the suggestions and often more tha just suggestions. West called for his supporters to ' amke his oponent afraid to ccome out of his house', Palin used gun scope grosshairs and alnog with Angle and others preached of 'Second Amendment Remidies' now that the seeds that they sowed have born the totally predictable friut, and I do mean totally predictable just look at the Doctors assassinated by the jihadi of the Christian Taliban of America with their 'Wanted Dead' posters and Bill O and others chanting 'Baby Killer' over the air waves, they try to cover up and disavow the evidence and cover their asses from the back lash of a public that requires death and blood to come to its senses.

For far to long the Right-Wing alliance of Repugnicans-Tea Baggers-Christian Taliban of America has been getting away with casting political ideology in the mold of religion and religious extremism, where holding a differnt view is a sin and sin is punsiable by death, just look to the nooses on the anti-gay marriage signs, the Westboro Batist Church and their funeral protst language, and they plan to be at t he funeral for the victims in AZ, the American elected members of the US Congress who are emmbers of The Family and have supported the 'Kill the Gays Bill' in Uganda, Aiona in Hawaii who ran for Gov. of Hawaii a member of the International Transformation Network, as is Palins favorite witch hunting preacher, who believes in the extermination of political opponents like the vermin they are along eith the ITN belief that all 'sinners must be purgred from the Earth for the RApture to taker place. The Right has been turning their political agenda for the US into a quasi-religious crusade with all the same conversion by the sword use for centuries.

Michael Cunningham (65)
Monday January 10, 2011, 1:50 pm
This contains the most unbiased comments I have seen to date:
VFW Condemns Senseless Tucson Shooting

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is condemning the senseless shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others attending a public event outside a Tucson supermarket on Saturday.

"This really hits home because the VFW is also a member of the Capitol Hill community," said VFW national commander Richard L. Eubank. "Ms. Giffords is a valued member of the House Armed Services Committee who is committed to improving the quality of life for members of our Armed Forces and their families. Our hearts and prayers of strength go out to all the victims and their families."

The media is reporting 18 people were shot by the 22-year-old suspect, who was tackled by witnesses and is in custody. Six are reportedly dead, to include a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge.

"We hope justice will be swift and severe for this murderer and anyone else who considers violence as a means to an end," said the VFW national commander. "That is not the American way."

Krasimira B (175)
Monday January 10, 2011, 3:08 pm
Agree - "we must debate, not hate" - but obviously it's very difficult because of the peculiarities of the human nature. Very interesting discussion, thank you Ewoud for posting.

Norm C (74)
Monday January 10, 2011, 7:53 pm
It is interesting to see who was quickly defensive and who was willing to really look inward.

In any event, we all need to ask ourselves some serious questions.

What is incitement?
Where is the line between encouraging passion and inciting violence?
Should anyone enforce that line?
How do viewers and listeners verify the accuracy of the program watched or heard?
Should anyone enforce the need for accuracy?
How should we help the mentally disturbed?
How will we get the funds to do so?
Should the families of the dead and wounded be provided with counseling?
Should they received some form of compensation?
How will we try to prevent similar events in the future?
Does anyone really want to prevent the next one?

Angela Dubie (306)
Monday January 10, 2011, 7:59 pm
Good questions Norm, and it our government is not willing and able to answer those and many other questions, than we are in desparate need of a new coopporative government!

William K (308)
Monday January 10, 2011, 10:17 pm
The reason that most of the media is down-playing the contribution of the violent rhetoric is because the media is complicit in disseminating that violent rhetoric. It makes for great sound bites and is lucrative for advertising dollars. That is why so many of these extremist hate-mongers have their tv and radio shows. The media corporations know that if Sarah Palin et al can be held accountable, then so can Faux News et al. AND THEY SHOULD BE.

Angela Dubie (306)
Monday January 10, 2011, 10:26 pm
Mac, my husband and i are pasivive Hippies by choice, and they have been trying to push my husband over the edge for years, for they could point the finger and blame it on Marijuana, because he has been trying to legalize it since 1975, and that would be a major blow for the cause! Chief was the leader of a street gang in flint Michigan where he grew up, out of necessety, not choice, and he found that it was easier to be violent than to be peaceful and reasonable, because you don't have to use reason of your brain to be mean or victous! First came the darkness then came the light! Peace comes with wisdom and experence, it is not natural, it is obtained! Sarah Palin proves that women can be as macho and violent as any man, where i husband sought for many years to find his femenine side/ compassion, reason, feelings, hope, love...only to find a social pole shift of women becoming more violent, blood thursty and competitive! In fact he has to mellow me out from time to time, for i too can be a hot head!

Natalie Away J (125)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 3:10 am
Many govts always have some cover-up story and rarely come out with the truth. Debate and not hate is a good start. In SA about 15 years ago they started with the TRC (truth and reconciliation committee).

KS Goh (0)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 4:22 am
Thanks for the article.

j C (63)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 7:23 am
I have been greatly disturbed by the violent rhetoric of the past number of years and of the pop star quality of a number of politicians. As a musician, I can't understand the popular appeal of a number of entertainers; as a citizen, I can't fathom the popularity of politicians such as Sarah Palin. I have long tired of the verbal sewage that comes out of these types' mouths: the hate, the violent statements, the extremism, the lies, and the idiocy.

I am especially tired of the media. Listening to how the reports of this weekend's shootings keep transforming, it is obvious the reports are based less on informing the public, and more on "How can we keep them tuned in?" News these days in the U.S. is all about entertaining people, getting them hyped, sensationalism, and going to the extremes. It is rarely about facts. And it is not about right and wrong.

All this should be no surprise to us. Look at our society. Extreme sports are in and have made it to the Olympics. Violence is rampant in the movies. Jokes that get passed around the internet (like Maxine) are far from prosocial or friendly. We seem to thrive on being rude, crude, and mean. Society doesn't even enjoy traditional entertainment anymore. We now have "reality" t.v. which brings forth the worst of our populace behaving in the crudest of manners. Limits are gone. Polite society is all but dead. The educated public is struggling to survive.

There is hope, though. There are still plenty of people who care about decency and truth. We just have to be heard.

Michael Cunningham (65)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 8:04 am
"In SA about 15 years ago they started with the TRC (truth and reconciliation committee)."

If you need "a committee" to tell you what the truth is you have a much bigger problem!
The issue here is not an amorphous "they" hiding something. It is the unbridled hate of a specific group leveling unfounded accusations at other groups & specific people. With nothing more to go on than the "fact" that something happened. What these knee-jerk groups do is actively look for some way to "blame" their "enemies".

Michael Cunningham (65)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 8:08 am
"Monday January 10, 2011, 7:59 pm
Good questions Norm, and it our government is not willing and able to answer those and many other questions, than we are in desparate need of a new coopporative government! "

Why is it the responsibility of the "Government" to answer those questions? It is not their job! That is one of the main reasons we humans created societies, to aid one another.

Angela Dubie (306)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 8:08 am
Well said, Micheal, and they consider that legal and ethical, what a bunch of hipocrits!

Michael Cunningham (65)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 8:10 am
"Monday January 10, 2011, 10:17 pm
The reason that most of the media is down-playing the contribution of the violent rhetoric is because the media is complicit in disseminating that violent rhetoric."

Ok Billie, show me some actual violent rhetoric!!

Michael Cunningham (65)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 8:16 am
"I can't fathom the popularity of politicians such as Sarah Palin. I have long tired of the verbal sewage that comes out of these types' mouths: the hate, the violent statements, the extremism, the lies, and the idiocy. "

Then explain to me Jan why you seem accepting of the thing you claim to "hate" when it is aimed at people that disagree with you?

Even your last paragraph lays out the proposition that only those that think like you are truthful and decent. Then why do I see people like you so ready to lay blame on others and only forgive those that agree with them, or say the things they like to hear?

Ramona T (210)
Tuesday January 11, 2011, 10:28 am
Great comment Sheryl, you too William and others. Thank you noted.

Bravo Dandelion! Absolutely, those words and symbols should have been removed a long time ago. People kept speaking out about the hate mongers in the media with good cause.

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The article posted briefly refers to R Barber who used metaphoric references, in his political quest in Alabama.

People who were born here, grew up around farms, seeing farms, and/or understanding what "planting a seed" means were uncomfortable. Those who did have a grasp, understood the dangerous metaphoric implications locally and in a grander national scale, but hoped no bitter harvests would be reaped.

Let us just hope the future will bring reason, and also peaceful dissent instead of murders and murderous rhetoric and metaphors. May our future harvests be bountiful and peaceful.

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