flewellyn: (Default)
[personal profile] flewellyn
This isn't going to be a coherent essay, just a collection of thoughts without much order. Just FYI.

My first thought when I heard of the shooting was, "Great, I bet it's a teabagger, or a sympathizer." Of course, many people would say that was jumping to conclusions, and perhaps prejudicial. To which I would reply, "Have you not been paying attention?"

Based on his YouTube videos, Jared Loughner seems to have some aspects of his thinking that resemble paranoid schizophrenia. The problem with that being the answer people latch onto is that, most of the time, schizophrenics are not dangerous. Very few of them commit violence against others. They're far more likely to be victims than perpetrators. Also, schizophrenia alone does not explain why Loughner chose to attack a politician.

The right-wing media machine has a lot to answer for. They've been using outright eliminationist rhetoric for years, and the last two has seen it ramped up to frenzied heights. I am neither the first nor the most articulate to point this out, but when political and media leaders, people looked up to by a large chunk of the population, begin spouting violent and eliminationist talk, it has a disinhibiting effect on those people in society who are carrying resentments and grudges against those they deem inferior.

If leaders are saying "these others you dislike are scum, and vermin, and traitors, and should die", then some of those followers will take them up on the challenge.

Responsible leaders should know better than to try and unleash such forces; a violent political faction is hard to control once created, and can turn on its leaders. Our current crop of "Tea Party" reactionaries is anything but responsible, however, as they have done nothing but try to scrub the evidence of their culpability, deny and disclaim that there's a problem, and then in the same breath accuse "the Left" of being "just as bad". Usually, they cite as examples some random comments or posts on blogs by people nobody has ever heard of, or groups like the Weather Underground who have not been active for over 40 years and never actually killed anyone other than their own members accidentally, or isolated incidents that were immediately condemned by mainstream leaders (like the hanging of Palin in effigy, which got roundly denounced by Democratic leaders in California).

Michelle Malkin has gone so far as to list boycotts, peaceful protests, and angry letters to the editor as examples of "leftist hate speech". For some reason, I'm reminded of those MRAs who complain that a woman refusing to have sex with them is the same as them beating her up. Can't imagine why.

At any rate, what we have here is an incipient movement towards genuine fascism in this country, and so far no concerted effort by our government to stop it. I have little faith in Obama trying to crack down on violent right-wing groups, as Clinton did, because apparently Obama is too committed to being bipartisan to recognize a genuine threat to public order. Well, maybe. He might surprise me.
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