When We Do It, It’s Democracy; When You Do It, It’s Tyranny

January 12, 2011

[Let me make perfectly clear, at the outset, that I’m not laying specific blame for Jared Lee Loughren’s actions at the feet of Sarah Palin, or Rush Limbaugh, or Glenn Beck, or….  Not that I expect this disclaimer to matter much.  As I’ve been reading blogs and comments sections over the last few days, it’s pretty much impossible even to mention one of the right-wing heros without drawing immediate defensive responses that have little or nothing to do with what actually got said.  But hey, it’s worth a try.]

An extended version of a discussion that just started on my Facebook page when I posted a link to Sarah Palin’s statement re: the Giffords’ shooting.

Apparently, in Palin’s world, exercises in vicious rhetoric are “healthy debate” and “democracy” when Republicans do them.  Witness–

Some signs from Tea Party rallies (there are zillions more of these, of course, but I’m trying to make the point quickly)

When Rush Limbaugh says, “What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He’s sitting there in jail. He knows what’s going on, he knows that…the Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he’s just a victim. He’s the latest in a never-ending parade of victims brought about by the unfairness of America…this guy clearly understands he’s getting all the attention and he understands he’s got a political party doing everything it can, plus a local sheriff doing everything that they can to make sure he’s not convicted of murder – but something lesser.”

When Sarah Palin herself posts an advertisement with crosshairs over the districts of Democratic incumbents whose politics she doesn’t like.

When Palin’s spokesperson denies that the crosshairs are gunsights.

When Joe Wilson yells “You lie!” at the President of the United States during a speech in front of the entire Congress and nation.

When Sarah accuses then-candidate Obama of “pallin’ around with terrorists” (Former Weatherman Bill Ayers)

When Sarah adopts the riff of “real Americans” as a central campaign theme in 2008, as if to suggest that anybody who’d vote for Obama isn’t a real American.

Endless criticisms of mainstream media for “gay-friendly” depictions of relationships, leading to the degradation of marriage, the evils of children everywhere, wars (oh, hi, Westboro Baptist freaks!), and so on.

Referring to the Affordable Healthcare Act as “socialist” and claiming that it will install “death panels”

The orchestration (largely organized by Freedom Works, although many Tea Partiers may not know that) of disruptions all over the nation at health care Town Hall meetings

This list could go on and on and on and on and on.

You could (I won’t, but it’s possible to) make an argument that, in fact, these are healthy exercises in democratic process.  As Palin herself puts it, democracy requires vigorous debate and exchanges of ideas; if you don’t like what somebody does/says, vote ’em out!  And that’s true.

The problem with Palin’s statement is the double-standard it applies.  That is, it’s fine for Republicans/conservatives to depict Obama as Hitler; to blame entertainment and news media for the collapse of “family values”; to disrupt Presidential speeches by accusing the President of terrible things; and so on.  But it’s “irresponsible” (gasp), unconscionable for anybody to explore the possibility that the extremely vitriolic, vicious, violent language that she and her ilk (Beck, O’Reilly, Limbaugh and the gang) deploy at just about every opportunity, might have had even the least bit to do with what happened on Tucson on Saturday.

So when you and your friends say it, it’s democracy.  When my friends and I say it, it’s “irresponsible,” or as you and Rush often like to put it, tyrannical.

As I concluded the Facebook post this morning (this is about as concisely as I can say it, which is why I’m just using it again)–

Be quiet, Sarah. Unfortunately, the same arrogance that makes you think we care what you say keeps you from understanding when you need not to talk.

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One quick note about Mark Sanford

June 27, 2009

I agree with many of my friends who believe this topic is getting too much attention, up against wars, starvation, the most corrupt medical establishment in the world, etc. But a quote from a conservative activist in SC from this morning’s Yahoo news page pretty much sums up my thinking too:

“Joining the calls for resignation was a one-time ally, the head of the group that’s pushed Sanford’s school choice effort. If Republicans are going to criticize Democrats for moral failings, Sanford has to go, said Randy Page, president of the conservative advocacy group South Carolinians for Responsible Government.”

You don’t get to have it both ways, folks. If you’re going to campaign on and preach morality, you have to hold yourself to your own standard.


I wish this were amazing

September 1, 2008

Throughout the day, I’ve been seeing “reports” (read: smear efforts) to the effect that Sarah Palin’s 5th child is, in fact, her 17-year-old daughter’s.  I wasn’t taking these very seriously, except to the extent that I was upset to see this kinds of smears emerging from opponents to the McScum/Palin ticket.  There are plenty of reasons to vote against that ticket without inventing any.

So the news now is that Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is, in fact, pregnant.  The pregnancy itself is none of my concern.  People have sex.  People who never learn about, or who learn to reject, birth control get pregnant.  People who reject abortions have the children.  OK, fine.

What gets under my skin is that in the very same announcement of the pregnancy, the Palin folks contend that Democrats don’t get to “politicize” it, that is, we don’t get to make any claims about it at all.

That’s crap.  People like Sarah Palin have been politicizing families, births, pregnancies, abortions, birth control and the rest of it for decades.  Now that their attacks on anybody who disagrees with them might come back to bite them, nobody’s allowed to talk about it. And you can BET, I mean BET WITH UTTER CERTAINTY, that the campaign will exploit the daughter to demonstrate Palin’s commitment to so-called family values.

Chalk up another one to shameless, two-faced, hypocrisy.  Gee, what a surprise.  The first time any Republican mentions the daughter in this way, it should be open season to accuse her of having premarital sex and getting pregnant, exactly what Christofascists condemn people for every day.