Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Politicizing a tragedy

Attempting to link Sarah Palin's politics to Jared Loughner's shooting rampage in Arizona last weekend is akin to me linking my taste in music to the snowstorms that have been plaguing the East Coast this winter.  In an effort to curb the high volumes of East Coast snow, I'll stop listening to my favorite band.

...  and that's all I have to say about that.


Snooze said...

I'm not sure where I sit with this. I think Palin's insane rhetoric does feed the crazy, just like Marc Lepine, who murdered female engineering students all those years ago in Montreal, was tapping into misogynistic rants. Just as Lepine was insane, Loughner could have been incited to act by perhaps anything, but I do think the low level of discourse that Palin brings about has repercussions. She is not responsible, but I think it's not healthy for a society on the whole to have a politician espousing violent imagery.

Susan as Herself said...

Yeah, although I am not comfortable placing blame for Mr. Gunman's actions, I cannot help but be dismayed by Ms. Palin's comments after the event. I was not a fan of her rhetoric prior to this, and I must say her recent "crosshairs" imagery and gun wielding references don't sit well in my gut. I grew up around guns, what with hunters in the family, so if I am uncomfortable with her approach, I cannot imagine what gun-fearing folk feel.

Perplexio said...

Snooze: The rhetoric of politics has ALWAYS been violent in nature. Long before Sarah Palin was in the spotlight we were using terms like "battleground states", referring to running for office as political "campaigns," and politicians often talk of "targeting" their campaigns to certain demographics.

I'm not a fan of Palin but using target imagery has been used by politicians on both ends of the political spectrum. Palin just happens to be the easiest target because she is so outspoken and makes it a point to put herself in the middle of things whether or not she really needs to be.

Politics were no more responsible for Loughner's actions than they were for John Hinckley's attempt on President Reagan.

Susan: If it's any consolation-- I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. And lately there's been a lot of praise of Obama's speech at the memorial and it's been crickets chirping for Palin. Dead silence, they aren't mentioning her at all! They aren't condemning her but they aren't trying to justify her comments either. I'm kind of hoping their following the idea of, "maybe if we ignore her, she'll go away!"

Voice of Doom and Gloom said...

Darren - it seems this nutcase wasn't politically motivated, so the early blame attributed to the tone of political discourse seems to be misplaced.

However, your post's title "politicizing a tragedy" forces me to comment about "9/11" - the number of times the righties have used that phrase to justify political things makes the "outrage" against this politicization kind of hypocritical - wouldn't you agree?

Perplexio said...

Voice of Doom and Gloom: That is different as the religion of the terrorists was so closely entwined (as many of them had rather theocratic politics) with their politics that their actions WERE politically motivated.

Jared Loughner's politics had little to do with his actions. His shooting of Congresswoman Giffords was due to mental illness.

Linking his actions to his politics would be kind of like linking Hinkley's shooting of Reagan to Jodi Foster's politics.

Voice of Doom and Gloom said...

I agree that the Tucson shooter wasn't politically motivated. All the evidence points to that. But, that doesn't mean that the right-wingers haven't been on the forefront of politicizing tragedies - they have with the 9/11 tragedy. Regardless of the motives or the players, it seems everything relates back to politics for a certain group of pundits, talking heads, and some of our elected officials. This applies to both sides, but I find the politicization of 9/11 to be a largely rightwing phenomena.

Go Bears.