As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blame Americans First

There could be a thousand reasons for why Arkansas Democratic Party chair Bill Gwatney was shot and critically wounded today, and I'm not going to speculate on this fully. But it's increasingly curious, this little boomlet of disgruntled white men who have lost their jobs or their livelihoods, and end up happening to shoot Democrats or into crowds with a liberal bent (see the Universalist Unitarian Church in Knoxville, TN).

It could be nothing like that, it could be that the shooter was a former employee of one of Gwatney's car dealerships. At any rate it's a terrible tragedy for all involved. But it's not like that would be a crazily irresponsible speculation. We're talking about a Republican Party whose members routinely make comments like this.

At a debate in New Mexico for the open GOP-held Second District late last week, Republican nominee Ed Tinsley accused his Dem opponent Harry Teague of wanting to cut the throats of American troops in Iraq:

"How can I call my two nephews over there right now ... and tell them I'm running against a guy that will cut your throat -- that will cut the bottom out of your funding," Tinsley said.

The eliminationist rhetoric is pervasive in Republican circles, and not everybody takes it as a joke. Providing a safe haven for violent thoughts and a target to act them out on invites those predisposed to domestic terrorism to take flight. This knee-jerk hatred of fellow Americans, this ratcheting up of rhetoric and finding convenient sources of blame, is incredibly dangerous.

BTW, how many conservatives are going to apologize to Rick Perlstein, who was laughed out of those circles for suggesting in his book Nixonland that Americans still fantasize about killing one another over political and cultural disagreements. I'm sure he'll again take no pleasure in the vindication.

UPDATE: Bill Gwatney has died. RIP. What a horrible situation.

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin is p.o.'ed that she's being blamed for the tragedy. She would never think of blaming liberals for being "unhinged" enough to commit violence, after all. Jesse:

The problem isn’t that you say things with which liberals disagree. The problem is that you say things which quite openly advocate grossly racist and dehumanizing attitudes, that you’re obsessed with declaring the most innocent of statements and actions traitorous and threatening, and that you’re generally crazy stalkerish asshole. And whenever you’re held responsible for the insane, dangerous things that you say, you hide behind freedom of speech as if it entails freedom from responsibility for what you say.

...oh yeah, I should also mention that Malkin revealed the full name and email address of her accuser. Classy!

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