One would think after the tragedy in Tuscon that there would be a shift in tone in the political rhetoric in the United States. The left has been complaining about the increasing vitriol for a long time, and this only increased after the events of last Saturday.
But instead of things simmering down, conservatives have upped the ante, taking the meanness to a whole new insulting level.
On Wednesday, Sarah Palin said she had been victimized by a “blood libel” from liberals who have been critical of her attacks on the Obama Administration.
That was enough to upset even conservative commentators who are Jewish. like National Review’s Jonah Goldberg.
But the Washington Times did Palin one better, referring to liberal criticism of the right’s violence-laden rhetoric as a “pogrom” against conservatives. At this rate, someone on the right may be claiming that conservatives are groaning under the weight of a Holocaust, since that remains about the last remaining unused term of Jewish suffering that conservatives could yet use to describe their victimhood.
This direction in the discussion is based on several deliberate falsehoods. The first is that the left is blaming conservatives such as Palin for the shootings. This is not the case, for only the most simplistic analysis would ever construct a monocausal analysis for anything. The world is far too complex to make Rush Limbaugh the evil puppeteer to whom one can attribute all calamity, and the left recognizes this. What the left has been saying is that use of violent rhetoric by conservatives, along with threats of secession from the union, nullification of the Constitution and rebellion if the federal government attempts to enforce laws that it does not like, has poisoned American politics, and has created fear, anxiety and even hostility among the people, some of whom in their instability, hear such statements as a call to a twisted form of heroic action. That is hardly making Palin into the shooter. But that’s the way the critique is being spun. Rather than taking the critique to heart, or attempting a justification of the use of violent rhetoric and the threats of secession et al. the criticism is blown up into a full-fledged straw man which far exceeds what the left has been saying.
Which brings us to the second fabrication, which is the faux victimhood being asserted by these conservatives growing out of their faux oppression at the hands of the left. Using the language of the suffering of the Jewish people in which cloak their own “travails” is disgusting. “Blood libel” and “pogrom” are egregious distortions of what has actually been directed towards the right, exaggerations which are an insult to the millions of Jews and their descendants who know the full measure of what those words mean. There are ten times more conservatives in just the US than there are Jews in the entire world, so to compare the power elite of the American empire, people like Palin and Rush Limbaugh, as the Times does, with the oppressed European Jew of history is to sink to the very bottom of journalistic ethics.
Thus, rather than having a clearer sense as a society that we can longer continue to speak in the public square to each other in such a manner, we’ve instead simply ratcheted up what was already a heated discourse.