Hate Speech and Recent Events – My Rant

I am deeply disturbed by the events in Arizona on Saturday. Hearing of the assassination attempt on a Congresswoman, how others had lost their lives, was not what I liked hearing upon waking up on Saturday.
It was interesting because I had been listening to NPR on the drive up to Seattle where they played clips of the various speeches given after the swearing in of the new Congress. I was annoyed at the targets that were being made at people rather than issues. The symbolic attempts to repeal the health care reform after going after Obama directly rather than fixing what was there which was something they could get support for. I am agreeing it is symbolic because the numbers aren’t there to really make it happen. I’m a math geek first.

Anyway, the rhetoric was annoying. Did these people really think, for example, that they were sent to Congress by their constituents to “prevent Obama from being reelected?” I was just baffled by what they were really doing and saying – in public.

Toss in all of the kill analogies being thrown out by their girl Sarah Palin, and it is no real surprise that it has led to this.

You see, here is my attitude. I can listen to things like that and roll my eyes at both parties. But, if you are mentally not all there, then you might look at this rhetoric as a call to arms.

Sadly, there are many crazies out there.

I think our Islamic friend can vouch for that one given the bad wrap their entire religion has gotten thanks to their extremists.

Or hell, we can use our own Westboro Baptists friends to show us great examples of that for Christianity.

Marty Kaplan Director of the Norman Lear Center and Professor at the USC Annenberg School said the following quotation:

‎”If you’re worried that violent video games may make kids prone to bad behavior; if you think that misogynic and homophobic rap lyrics are dangerous to society; if you believe that a nipple in a Superbowl halftime show is a threat to our moral fabric–then surely you should also fear that the way public and media figures have framed political participation with shooting gallery imagery is just as potentially lethal.”

If you believe these things, you cannot stand by the hate speak – regardless of party. We have got to make that clear.

As a parent and wife of a teacher, I often hear others try to get their kids not to use the word hate to describe something. “You dislike it” is their response. We fear that word for our kids, but not in our politicians or in our media.

Look – we cannot have double standards.  We cannot be careful about how our kids use it, but tolerate and cheer for leaders who use it too.

A person I am friends with on Facebook has been posting some questions of the day – questions his meditations book has been asking. Monday’s question was:

What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

My response was simple:

“How easily disagreement and ignorance can turn into hate and violence”

Because all I know is there is a woman laying in a hospital with two kids and a husband who is my age that took a bullet to the head simply because someone disagreed with her.
Excuse the over simplification, but that’s fucked up.
Oh, and I retweeted this to my followers, but it is worth a mention here.
Go read the New Yorker article about the situation.  Well worth the read

13 Comments Add yours

  1. All very well said, and precisely why I did not go into a whole rant about it myself.

  2. I’ve had a couple discussions on this in the last couple of days. Some friendlier than others. Here’s what I think I’ve distilled of my own view.

    I don’t feel comfortable saying anyone ’causes’ you to do anything else, as a general rule. I don’t think angry rock causes school shootings. I don’t think Grand Theft Auto causes crime. And I’m really uncomfortable limiting the entertainment I can consume based on how a fringe minority might take it.

    However, I think there is a line to be drawn between entertainment and political leadership. Entertainment is designed to be passive, to make you consume. Politics and I hesitate to use the word, but, leadership is more active by design. It’s MEANT to make you act. To DO something.

    Do leaders CAUSE you to do something? I dunno, but they can’t say they don’t at least help and still call themselves leaders of any sort.

    The problem I focus on is the increasing blurring of that line between entertainment and politics. Rush, Glen, and even Jon and Stephen increasingly move towards the active side of the equation, and I don’t think it’s ok to simply give their speech a pass because ‘they’re entertainers’. They’re not. They’re political figures. And they way THEY interact is becoming the model for how our so-called leaders act. And that ain’t right.

    Do I think this needs a law? Nope. Do I think
    congress should investigate? Nu Uh. But we, as a people need to think about whether Glen is really the model of behavior we want.

    Sadly, I think it is for too many.

  3. Emmy says:

    RLoTFC – I like the way you phrased it. Politicians do make calls to action just as any leader would. And you are correct as well about how the so-called “entertainers” are blurring that line more and more as they call their viewers/listeners to actions. Great point you made there.

    I’m with you as well – no laws. Good God, now laws. I think people need to send messages via shutting off the programs as advertisers are more powerful than laws in getting programming changed.

  4. Vixen says:

    Yes very well said. It was such an awful, upsetting tragedy 🙁

  5. Gucci Mama says:

    I absolutely agree with what you said about the fact that we cannot have double standards. But we do, and they’re glaringly obvious with regard to how this horrible tragedy was portrayed in the media.

    First, before anything was known about the shooter, the mainstream press immediately aligned him with the Tea Party/conservative movement before anyone knew what his leanings were (and they’re much more to the left than the right it seems) but when MAJ Hasan murdered thirteen soldiers while screaming, “Allahu Akbar” the press urged caution in labeling him an extremist or what he did an act of terror.

    Second, Daily Kos had a very similar map with “bullseyes” instead of “crosshairs” which was also scrubbed from their website soon after the shootings. Have you heard about this from the mainstream press? I sure haven’t.

    Obama said in 2008 something to the effect of, “If they bring knives to the fight, we’re bringing guns…” (I’m paraphrasing, obviously, but the point is he used weapon imagery.)

    There’s a nutjob here in California who has a life size Sarah Palin doll swinging in a noose that hangs from the roof of his house. Another burned the likeness of John McCain in effigy.

    Where’s the outrage over these things? It seems to me that liberals get a free pass for what they’re currently vilifying conservatives for doing.

    The biggest shame about the whole thing, though, was the fact that the liberals were tripping over themselves to immediately blame conservatives and the conservatives were immediately tripping over themselves to be on the defense when the focus should be on the victims and their families.

    As much as I passionately love politics, I hate that this has turned into such a political firestorm and I think those responsible for doing so should be ashamed.

  6. Gucci Mama says:

    I should probably send cookies to anyone who read that miles long comment in its entirety.

  7. I live in Az and I am not too surprized this happened here. We have very lax gun laws and it some respects this is still the wild west. I have had a horrible gut feeling for some time now about the rhetoric spewed on a daily basis at my place of work, in blogs, posts on local news stations websites but mostly at the lack of concern about people carrying a gun here. It’s very, very SCARY.I grew up with what I consider a healthy respect of firearms. America needs to let go of our love affair of guns and I need to get the hell of of this conservative, hate mongering hell hole of AZ. At least somewhere, where I can discuss my liberal views without fear of repercussions and I am not joking either when I write that.

  8. Hi Gucci Mama,

    I’ve been pondering whether to respond all day or not. Frankly I’m exhausted by this topic…but I just can’t let it go.

    Let me start by saying, I don’t know you, ergo, you don’t know me. But I swear, I an trying hard to
    Actually discuss this, not devolve into snark. I would ask that if you read something that makes you bristle, you take a moment and think of perhaps another way to look at it, because it’s really, not my intention.

    Look at your post. Re-read it. You have six paragraphs lambasting the ‘other’ side and followed by one that expresses your concern over the tragedy.

    Can you see how that might appear as if your true concern is liberals vs. conservatives rather than dead people in AZ?

    I’m not saying it is. But the method of presentation is a perfect example of the problem. You’re angry, you’re frustrated by the ‘liberals’ and the ‘mainstream media’. And the ‘free passes’ they get. And so you lash out. You accuse.

    Frankly, I agree with some (not all, but many) of your points. BOTH sides are wrong. Both liberals and conservatives speak and act poorly. Ok, stipulated. Now what? Does pointing out how the other side is just as bad improve anything?

    I don’t think so. I could be wrong…but I’m not. Finger pointing doesn’t lead anywhere.

    Our country. Our RACE has a problem. It’s not a new problem, by any means. But as space and resources get scarcer and weapons get bigger…the problem gets larger.

    I don’t know how to fix it. Really. I’m pretty fucking smart. But not that smart. What I think though is that no ones gonna fix it but us. Jon Stewart isn’t. Obama isn’t. Beck isn’t. Palin isn’t. It needs to be me. And you. And a decision to just stop it. To stop seeing people as the enemy cause they have a different view on taxes. To stop treating people like they’re idiots because they disagree with you. And trust me, this is a hard thing for me. But I need to. And you need to. And Emmy needs to (though she’s not too bad about it)

    Anyway. I don’t know if you can or will hear me.

    But I had to try.

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  10. Emmy says:

    A standing ovation for you, RLoTFC!
    I don’t think I could have said it better.

    For me, this is not – NOT – a problem with one party or another. It is humanity problem.

    I identify myself as a liberal, but I am, above else a skeptic and a cynic. I will not believe our leaders simply because they are our leaders – I will question them if it does not sound, well, sound. We have to start thinking again. The media shouldn’t think for us. The leaders shouldn’t tell us how to think. Our political parties should not tell us how to think. We need to do it ourselves.

    Because when we start killing each other because of difference of ideas, we all lose.

  11. after40sex says:

    The tragedy had nothing to do with with politics. it was dragged into the political realm by those that always look for ways to further arguments that cannot stand on their own merit.

    It was a disturbed individual that was ignored for years and simply “sent home” so someone else could deal with him.

    Now his acts of violence are being used in the theater of politics.

  12. after40sex says:

    The tragedy had nothing to do with with politics. it was dragged into the political realm by those that always look for ways to further arguments that cannot stand on their own merit.

    It was a disturbed individual that was ignored for years and simply “sent home” so someone else could deal with him.

    Now his acts of violence are being used in the theater of politics.

  13. Ms Scarlett says:

    So well said, Emmy. We heard plenty about the AZ shooting up in Canada, and frankly, it scares the hell out of me.

    There are times when I think our political system up here is outdated and silly, but when I look at the way political business often gets done in the US I have to reconsider.

    Incidents like this really make me wonder if the human race can survive its own insanity…

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