Sunday, January 9, 2011

Whither Now American Exceptionalism: On the Attempted Political Assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Its Parallels With Pakistan

I am still formulating something on this maddening situation in Arizona. But my colleague Werner Herzog's Bear--efficient as always--has gotten something up while I delete and rewrite my own post.

So here is a Sunday thinking project for you all.

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Back when Denis Leary was still a stand-up comedian, he had a funny yet sadly true bit about the fact that it's only the good ones that get assassinated. This morning, as I was reading a New York Times article about the sad killing of Pakistani politician Salman Taseer by a religious extremist, I lamented to my wife the bitter irony that it is always the voices of tolerance who are the assassinated by bigots.

How was I to know that a similar thing would happen on these shores later this very day? The shooting in Tuscon is proof positive that violent extremism knows no borders in these strange days. We like to think of the kind of political violence witnessed earlier this week in Pakistan to be something that happens elsewhere, something committed by the "other." Although the ideologies underlying the extremism in Pakistan and Arizona come from different sources (the Taliban and New World Order whackos hate each other), their unthinking, violent natures are very similar. Unfortunately, so are their consequences.

We should all be shocked and apalled, but not all that surprised. The recent rhetoric and actions of political extremists and politically motivated nutcases, almost exclusively on the radical Right, should have given us ample warning. Anyone remember the mob violence and racial slurs visited upon House Democrats when they voted on the health care bill? It fell down the memory hole, but someone actually showed up at a presidential event in Arizona with an AR-15. Or how about rhetoric like "don't retreat, reload" and "2nd Amendement remedies" that we've heard recently? Or the armed whacko who was going to kill people at the TIDES Foundation? For that matter, the sadly more "successful" crazy who shot up a Unitarian church because of its liberal views? Furthermore, I'm sure you'll recall that there is a popular demogogue on a national news network who continually likens progressives to a cancer on society to be eradicated.

Years ago this same man would have been ranting on a street corner, now he is only one of many fire-breathing hate mongers with a large and highly suggestive audience hanging on every blood-dripping word. Many people in this country attack Al-Jazeera and madrassas, claiming that they abet hatred and terrorism. Perhaps, to paraphrase a man that many of these same people claim to follow, we ought to pay attention to the beam in our own eye rather than the splinter in our neighbor's.

15 comments:

O Patrão said...

I can't help but think this may spur on other fringe elements to commit such.

The right wing is coated in teflon at times like this. Wait for their claim of being scapegoats.

xulon said...

I've already been subjected to the "poor poor us are being accused by those crazy conspiratorial lefties" crap. One thing also is that this guy's YouTube nonsense is already being scrubbed of its clear connection to the rhetoric by "he's quite a whack job".

Unfortunately, it will be fairly soon that we will hear some mainstream right-winger saying with faux-sympathy that "it's a real tragedy, but we DID warn you."

Thrasher said...

I got attacked the other day for writing a commentary that Twain was a coward for writing a fictional novel about his fictional views on race and then cowardly publishing it under a fictional name....The rage in the emails was off the charts of course none of these posters were Black kids in a classroom on the end of the barrage of Twain's hate speech..

I do understand the level of rage presently in our nation especially if one dares to question the pillars of a failed culture..

These are perilous times..

xulon said...

Wow. Someone shot you in the HEAD over That?

CNu said...

rotflmbao...,

Thrasher said...

@Xulon,

Yeah and I am taste the blood running down my face...Minty

Thrasher said...

@Xulon,

Yeah and I can taste the blood running down my face...Minty

xulon said...

So on top of the "is he black? No. Is He Muslim? No. Is he Latino? No. Crap! he must be something! He was white, short haired and conservatively dressed. Well, he certainly was NOT a business executive, he must be fringe." And the five year-old picture with the long hair. And the scrubbing of all right-wing rhetoric from reporting on his writings. And the hesitance to use the term "assassination". And the utter unfairness that the shooting of people who received death threats from the right, and who were "targeted" (metaphorically, of course) from the right by a right wing person is being blamed in any way on the right-wing rhetorical machine. Now, we add that "everybody does it" crap so that receiving criticism is the same thing as being shot and soon, the falsely so-called liberal media will be parroting the Right's insistence that this crime was the liberal's fault. Perilous times, indeed.

CNu said...

Ah yessssss....., the crunchy nougat we were all waiting for - and best of all - straight from Roger Aile's lips to god's ear.

New details emerging about the suspected shooter behind Saturday's deadly rampage reveal a 22-year-old man with a troubled past who law enforcement say may have been influenced by American Renaissance, a pro-white publication.

This comes as a law enforcement memo based on information provided by the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by Fox News suggests that alleged gunman Jared Loughner — accused of killing six people, shooting Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and wounding 12 others — may have ties to the American Renaissance group, though it's unclear if he was directly affiliated with the publication or group.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as "white nationalist" whose leader, Jared Taylor, is "a kind of modern-day version of the refined but racist colonialist of old."

The memo states that there is "no direct connection" between Loughner and the group, "but strong suspicion is being directed at AmRen / American Renaissance.

CNu said...

Ah yessssss....., the crunchy nougat we were all waiting for - and best of all - straight from Roger Aile's lips to god's ear.

New details emerging about the suspected shooter behind Saturday's deadly rampage reveal a 22-year-old man with a troubled past who law enforcement say may have been influenced by American Renaissance, a pro-white publication.

This comes as a law enforcement memo based on information provided by the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by Fox News suggests that alleged gunman Jared Loughner — accused of killing six people, shooting Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and wounding 12 others — may have ties to the American Renaissance group, though it's unclear if he was directly affiliated with the publication or group.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as "white nationalist" whose leader, Jared Taylor, is "a kind of modern-day version of the refined but racist colonialist of old."

The memo states that there is "no direct connection" between Loughner and the group, "but strong suspicion is being directed at AmRen / American Renaissance.

Constructive Feedback said...

My friends Chauncey and Thrasher and CNu -

Why is it that the actions of the Street Pirate who did his slashing attack in Baltimore - hitting 6 and murdering 2 - did not rise as an EQUAL assault as that which occurred in Arizona?

The killing of a US Representative and a Federal judge triggered an INTERNATIONAL comparison per the words of Chauncey.

The second murder of a police man in Baltimore outside of a night club in about 8 weeks doesn't appear to merit mention beyond the city limits.

In metro-Atlanta - the "City Too Busy To Hate" there has been a Black person MURDERED every day of the year 2011. For some strange reason though - neither the KILLER nor the VICTIM was deemed worthy of such mention.

I am seeking to understand your stack ranking of the importance of these events. Please let me in on your formula, sir.

CNu said...

Ah yessssss....., the crunchy nougat we were all waiting for - and best of all - straight from Roger Aile's lips to god's ear.

New details emerging about the suspected shooter behind Saturday's deadly rampage reveal a 22-year-old man with a troubled past who law enforcement say may have been influenced by American Renaissance, a pro-white publication.

This comes as a law enforcement memo based on information provided by the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by Fox News suggests that alleged gunman Jared Loughner — accused of killing six people, shooting Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and wounding 12 others — may have ties to the American Renaissance group, though it's unclear if he was directly affiliated with the publication or group.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as "white nationalist" whose leader, Jared Taylor, is "a kind of modern-day version of the refined but racist colonialist of old."

The memo states that there is "no direct connection" between Loughner and the group, "but strong suspicion is being directed at AmRen / American Renaissance.

CNu said...

Ah yessssss....., the crunchy nougat we were all waiting for - and best of all - straight from Roger Aile's lips to god's ear.

New details emerging about the suspected shooter behind Saturday's deadly rampage reveal a 22-year-old man with a troubled past who law enforcement say may have been influenced by American Renaissance, a pro-white publication.

Thrasher said...

CF,

Please spare a seat in your ledger of inhumanity it is you that seeks to engage in a currency exchange on the value of a human life..

I respect all life and I don't want to engage in your inhumanity of ranking the essence of a human's loss of life...

Please run away from me with your vile accounting..I pray tell have a life to lead unemcumbered by the petty road kill of peasants like you

Constructive Feedback said...

KCnulan:

* XXL

* Don Diva

* The Source

These "Hip Hop Voice Of The Street Pirate" magazines have featured more people who mentioned more words threatening to murder Black people than the other "White" magazine that you reference.

The Assassination Of The Publisher Of Don Diva
http://withintheblackcommunity.blogspot.com/2009/08/president-of-don-diva-magazine.html

The Boogie Boys Of Miami - 35 Murders & 100 Shootings
http://withintheblackcommunity.blogspot.com/2010/10/don-diva-magazine-highlights-deadly.html

I am merely seeking to understand the dynamics of Black inferiority that is the unfortunate consequence of the IDEOLOGICALLY BIASED focus that so many prefer.