But...But...Both Sides Have Their Nutters!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

If we just look hard enough, I am sure we will find that left-wing hippies say stuff just as bad as this too.


steves 8:31 PM  

I looked 10 seconds and found this gem from the last election (nice cameltoe, BTW).

I remember the part-time mayor of my hometown, Houghton (pop. 7000) receiving some nasty phone threats following a decision to cancel some lame ass festival. I would be surprised if someone could find an elected state official anywhere that hasn't received some kind of threat.

Jay 8:47 PM  

Steve: I don't think you are actually saying this, but there is a suggestion in your reply that threats of extreme violence are on par with name-calling. Clearly, this is a false equivalency.

What bothers me more, though, than nasty phone calls and faxes are statements like this at rallies (from Steven Benen):

"Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) was the keynote speaker, and he called on Americans to send President Obama 'back' to Kenya. He was preceded by a Baptist preacher who said he's prepared to 'suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what [the military] trained me to do.'"

To me, the second statement sounds a bit like sedition (or at least treason). If there are comparable statements made by left-wing radicals at comparable rallies (and democrat reps or former reps, for that matter), I have never encountered them and would be interested in seeing them.

Smitty 9:40 PM  

Please tell me, steve, that in your world a hipster in a tshirt calling Palin a cunt is NOT EVEN CLOSE to the threatening, racist diatribe I linked to above. PLEASE tell me that you see a vast difference between a smartass hipster idiot and a venomous racist inciting people to violent action. If the t-shirt you linked to is the same, in your mind, as jay's or my links above, you and I will have a really hard time seeing eye to eye on even simple things like "I like beer."

What concerns me is this notion of moral relativism; what's offensive to me is maybe at worst distasteful to someone else. Or even acceptible. I think there is nearly universal recognition that the drooling hate evident in phrases like I linked to is wrong...and a bazillion times worse than calling Palin a cunt. Cunt is offensive and tasteless. But I can't even retype some of the phrases in the other diatribe; it is speech reserved for such a level of hate as to belong to hate groups; the same groups who espouse violence.

Find me some Black Panthers hate speeches from the 60s and we've got a debate. But that weak shit you linked to is the most mealy-mouthed excuse for the myth of "everyone is equally bad."

steves 6:32 AM  

No I am not saying that, but I am saying that politicians receive violent threats all the time. The secret service investigates thousands directed at the president every year. This is nothing new. I am not saying it is ok or is the same as a t-shirt, but I think that it is a stretch to attach an anonymous message to a larger movement. It just seems more like the rantings of a racist lunatic. How are phone calls supposed to incite violence?

Jay's examples are disturbing and inexcusable, though not sedition (which would be protected speech, anyway). Someone should call those assholes out.

steves 6:35 AM  

Clearly, this is a false equivalency.

True. This would be a better example. I didn't even have to go back to the 60's. Do you really believe there wasn't the same kind of shit going on during Bush?

Smitty 7:39 AM  

This would be a better example

Awesome! It even had the wrong "there!" Classic unhinged behavior.

OK, so we've matched one example for one example. My larger case in point is that this does come from a movement that is supporting violent, racist outbursts. I went to the teabag rally last week. Plenty of sign-age there with Obama in a tribal headdress and the like. They want that sentiment in their movement.

Here's another fine example of hate from the ultra-cons.

Smitty 8:04 AM  

Also, God apparently wants us to be mad at Obama for health care. Because he is.

Jay 8:55 AM  

Yeah, I should not have said sedition. But that sort of statement in front of a large group of people (which seems to be quite common at right-wing rallies of late) seems to me to represent a level of irresponsible behavior that was not apparent on the left when the Republicans were in charge (unless you go back to the 60s, maybe?). If there are comparable examples in recent memory, I would (again) be interested in seeing them.

A handful of unhinged people making threatening phone calls is one thing. A designated speaker spouting that sort of message to a large gathering that may or may not contain a handful of unhinged people who will swallow it and act on it is something else.

Streak 9:06 AM  

If I may, the issue is still not the unhinged on either extreme, but how the parties, or people in charge respond. You can find me all the Weathermen and Black Panther stuff from the 60s, but you will really impress me if you show me Democratic leaders embracing or encouraging or excusing them.

Steve King from Iowa (damn Representative, after all) encouraged a crowd of angry Tea Partiers to go "beat them to a pulp." And I might have missed it, but I don't hear a lot of Republican leaders chastising Tancredo or that pastor Jay mentioned.

Yeah, there were some nasty name calling and, perhaps, threats during the Bush years. Though, I would note that there were no stories about the Secret SErvice being overwhelmed with threats with such an unpopular president. But I don't remember the Democratic leadership doing anything beyond dismissing and condemning the "hitler" comparisons or the like.

The Republican party has a tiger by the tail right now. They have encouraged this kind of anti-government sentiment, and now are tasked with trying to participate in a civilized democracy with these people in their base.

Smitty 9:27 AM  

The Republican party has a tiger by the tail right now.

Rove's idea about how to take different narrow interest groups and combine them under similar talking points worked for a long while and was even a neat idea. The end result, though, has been mutated. It's one thing when your rhetoric is "no taxes" and "save the babies." But when it becomes "the other side isn't just wrong, they're TREASONOUS" then you have lost control. They encouraged that rhetoric as a measure of regaining control, rather than open and honest policy debate. And now, as Streak says, they have the tiger by the tail. Now what? That animal wants blood, and it says so on its signs on the capitol steps and in its phone calls and errant bricks through congressional windows.

Trucks with nooses? That's their base now, but it all of our problem to deal with.

Thanks, Karl.

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