Friday, January 14, 2011

Weighing in On Sarah Palin's Speech and New Sound Byte

For a few golden days after the tragic shootings in Arizona, the airwaves carried no pearls of wisdom from Sarah Palin. It was a glorious silence. But all good things must come to an end and they did. On January 12, 2011, Palin treated the world to her thoughts on the shootings and the rhetoric that abounded afterward by media and many politicians. It was a mad man alone is responsible for the deaths and injuries resulting from the gun shots; in no way could all the sniping and angry accusations from one party to the other be held responsible for what happened that day.

I agree with Palin in part. Legally, one deranged individual must answer for the horrendous crimes committed that day. But as a nation, shouldn't we also look to the pervasiveness of considering those who think differently than us as our enemies? Many days the rhetoric coming from some elected officials and many of the media sound little different than the trash talk on WWE.

Palin, a woman known to twist a word or phrase more than occasionally, called what journalists and others had been saying since the Arizona shooting a "blood libel." I'm truly surprised she knew that phrase and even more surprised she used in a context that has nothing to do with the meaning of the phrase.

In Palin's speech she seemed to be saying that once again her detractors were making unfair statements about her. I am certain that Palin's map with crosshairs located on various congressional districts throughout the United States were not to be taken literally. But she can't correctly deny that such symbolism may be just the fodder a deranged thinker may need to be spurred into action. I'm not saying that's what happened, but I am saying the potential exists.

How have we come to such a place where people openly embrace a person who cannot see the incorrectness of using the metaphor of violence/shooting as the indicator of political strategy? I don't know who scares me more--Sarah Palin or those who follow her.

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