Monday, January 10, 2011

Advice to the Left: Look in the mirror

In the wake of the mass killings committed by Jared Loughner in Arizona, we are now hearing pious words from commentators like MS-NBC's Keith Olbermann (see Washington Post article), who charges that the Tea Party movement is inciting violence with its rhetoric. He also wants us to believe that Sarah Palin's crosshairs logo applied to a list of incumbent Congressmen she wants to defeat are having the same effect, and that Glenn Beck is inciting revolution.


No one of sound mind condones what Jared Loughner did. He should be prosecuted and given a fair trial according to our rule of law. If he is competent to stand trial and the evidence is conclusive that he committed the crime, he should be tried and, if found guilty, sentenced appropriately.

So far, reports of Jared Loughner's politics have shown considerable ambiguity. The hook the Left seems to be trying to use against the Tea Party and conservative commentators is that he favors a gold-backed currency (honest money). 

I have followed the Tea Party movement very closely almost since its inception, and I can say with complete confidence that neither the Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin, nor Glenn Beck* have ever advocated the use of violence in pursuit of liberty. There may be a few commentators in the extreme fringes of the militia movement doing so on short-wave radio; but they have small followings, and they deserve to be condemned (but not censored) for their views.

It has been evident for several months that the Left has desperately sought to find a violent event on which to hang the liberty movement, and apparently they think they have found one here. But the truth is, the liberty movement believes strongly in the rule of law. Our principal objections to recent Administrations has been their contempt for the rule of law as embodied in the Constitution of the United States.

The Left needs to look in the mirror. Can its followers honestly say that our rhetoric is any more violent than that of Saul Alinsky or Van Jones? Or for those few who can remember history, the radical movements so beloved by the Left in the Sixties, such as the Weather Underground and the Black Panther Party?

My challenge to the Left: Use reason to attack our positions. Stop trying to run us out of the public space. If you want domestic peace, respect honest dissent.

Update 1/10: The Hill, a newspaper and blog reporting on Congress, notes that "Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress." Of equal interest is the comment below the post by Creed, reminds me that I have a short memory:

But putting cross-hairs on Pres. Bush, while he's making an address, on CNN or adding the words "s[***]er wanted" when his picture is posted on a late-night talk show is all right? Or a "documentary" on the Day the President Died (Bush, of course) That's not inflammatory rhetoric, is it?
 No. Only when it comes from the Right, apparently.

* Faithful readers of this space know that I have vigorously criticized both Mrs. Palin and Mr. Beck when the occasion called for it.


Buckeye Copperhead said...

Agreed on all points. However, asking leftist/statists to use "reason" is like asking an blindfolded infant child to replace the ignition coil on a 1976 Chevy Vega. In other words, it is never going to happen with these people.

Harold Thomas said...

Buckeye Copperhead:

Nice analogy, and of course, you are right. But given the state of our political discourse, it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves that this is how it ought to work.

Charlie Earl said...

A very reasonable response to a mass muder and a tragedy. The mass muder is self evident. the tragedy is the hysteria and political gamesmanship.

Manai'a Explorations said...

In recent memory, representatives organized town-hall gatherings to discuss Obama-care. The Tea Partiers attended and screamed at their representatives. This verbal violence was encouraged and promoted by right-wing celebrities/personalities. I disagree with your assessment. Hawks are on the right, doves are on the left. Perhaps the left was radicalized in the 60's, but that was 5 decades ago.

Anonymous said...

From the May 17 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: "Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, "Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore," and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, 'Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death.' And you know, well, I'm not sure."

Harold Thomas said...


It is hard for me to believe that Glenn Beck actually said that, but you have provided the evidence. Thank you for sharing.


Harold Thomas said...

Manai'a Explorations:

I believe you will find that most of the screaming (which I admit occurred) was in response to organized efforts to silence anyone who was not in favor of Obamacare. And I agree that some commentators on the right (which, by the way, I do not consider myself to be a part of) egged them on.

I consider myself to be a libertarian, which agrees with the left on some issues and the right on others. Libertarians are doves when it comes to war; and have promoted civil discourse.

Anonymous said...

You'd also said, "I can say with complete confidence that... the Tea Party movement... ha(s) ever advocated the use of violence in pursuit of liberty."

Examples of Tea Baggers allusion to potential violence, as a way to intimidate opposition, abound. Again, here's just one that leaves little to be imagined other than it being a threat to whoever the opposition might be that gets to see it - available at a discount in bulk.

The Tea Party isn't the solution; it's the problem.

Harold Thomas said...

I stand by what I said about the Tea Party movement. The example you gave was from one merchant who created a tasteless t-shirt to promote their 2nd Amendment liberties.

Lest you think that the liberals are as pure as the driven snow on the hate issue, Michelle Malkin has extensively catalogued liberal hate speech in her website.

I do not use (at least knowingly) hate speech in my blog, and I do not condone the use of hate speech by anyone. My point in the post and in my contents is that the left is at least as culpable as the right for the use of hate speech.