Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Too Little Too Late

I have long questioned the IQ of Tea Party darling, Sarah Palin, but with her response to the recent Tucson tragedy, I find myself questioning her EQ as well.

I cannot say if the woman is as intellectually challenged as she seems, serving up stupid quips for answers to serious questions and inventing her own words to compensate for an inadequate vocabulary, but common sense and human compassion seem to be in short supply in her heart, based on the tepid, insincere-sounding “condolences” she offered in the aftermath of the shooting of one of the members of Congress who were targeted in her ill-conceived crosshairs map.

“My sincere condolences are offered to the family of rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona. On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice,” she said. My, how emotionally uncharged, in view of the deaths of a federal judge, a 9 year-old-child, and others, and the wounding of even more, including that member of Congress she so disingenuously targeted on her website. You have to wonder why the map, which was posted as part of the rhetoric of a long past election, was still up on her site…and why its disappearance did not happen until shortly after the shooting of one of the targeted members of Congress.

Oh, I know that “everybody” believes the shooter was not a Tea Party supporter and that his shooting of Rep. Giffords was more personal than political, but that does not alter the fact that Palin’s map, with rifle crosshairs marking the location of 20 members of Congress she and her Tea Party brethren sought to unseat, could easily be looked upon by the less mentally stable among us as a mandate. Coupled with Palin’s own command “Don’t retreat, reload!” and the Tea Party rhetoric “If ballots don’t work, bullets do!” there is no question that Palin is culpable in creating an atmosphere of political hostility that can easily go off the rails.

Her lukewarm passive-voice commentary…“my condolences are offered” instead of a more engaged, genuine-sounding “My heart goes out to” or “I offer my deepest condolences to…”…denotes insincerity and a lack of emotional connection to the tragedy or to the victims. It is saying the right thing (almost) with no indication of accompanying empathy.

Sarah and her ilk have missed a golden opportunity to step up to the ethics plate and repudiate (not “refudiate”), formally and publicly, any form of violence or illegal behaviour in the furthering of one’s political causes or ambitions. The illegal Watergate break-in caused the unprecedented resignation of a president…shouldn’t someone speak out against the similar break-in and vandalism of Rep. Giffords’ office? Or the untrue allegations by the GOP-funded “Swift Boat Veterans” who lied about John Kerry just days before that election? Or the wasting of millions upon millions of US taxpayer funds to embarrass a sitting president for a sexual liaison between two consenting adults? I find it absolutely appalling that Ms. Palin finds it acceptable to offer no more than a token message of condolence and make no comment whatsoever about the violent act that brought about its necessity. Is she tacitly consenting to such behaviour through her silence? Hers is supposed to be the “family values” party: when did dishonesty, cheating, law-breaking and assassination become acceptable family values?

Silence, after all, is consent.


  1. Hi SV!

    Quick question for you:
    Within the South African context; do you feel the same about the guilt of Julius Malema and his hate speech which some people claim leads to more murder of farmers, and a general increase in black on white hatred?

    As far as the USA goes, I tend to still think that they missed a great opportunity when they did not vote for Hillary Clinton to be president.

  2. I think that people who abuse their freedom of speech rights to incite others to commit crimes are just as morally culpable as those who commit the crimes. Unfortunately, the law is structured such that people like Palin or Malema can hide from their responsibility by saying "I didn't tell him to do that!" and get away with it.

    I agree with you about Hillary...she would have made an awesome president.

  3. Good comments SV. I hope the US media pick this up and publish it. Norine

  4. Hi,

    Good comments. Sarah Palin scares the shit out of me. As far as I'm concerned, she is very dangerous. And her choice of the term "blood libel" was very unfortunate. I realize that that expression doesn't mean what it used to, but many Jews still find it very offensive. How did she come up with that expression anyway? I don't know if she has some advisers who are just bad advisers or if she just doesn't listen to them.

    At least Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh who are also a BIG part of the problem seem to be much more intelligent than she. Unfortunately, they are so hell bent for leather to scare voters that they spout their vitriol, half truths and mis-information and so many people don't take the time to understand just how biased Beck and Limbaugh are. They just believe everything Beck and Limbaugh have to say. And to know that Palin has joined those two at Fox News - one of the most biased news organizations in the country is a very scary thought.

    There was a study done with the results released recently that was poling people- the study was done by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes. The study’s aim was to determine whether the Citizens United case before the Supreme Court, which allowed unlimited campaign contributions from corporations and unions, affected people’s perception of the truthfulness of the information being fed in the midterm elections.

    The study wasn’t intended to be concerned with where people got their information, just how accurate it seemed. But the researchers noticed a peculiar thing: Although some Americans were misinformed, they generally became more informed if they consumed more news — with one major exception. The study found that the more people watched Fox News, the less informed they became.

    Add to all this and not that it would have changed anything, AZ just last year made it legal for any citizen to carry a concealed hand gun without a permit. And some people are stupid enough to think they could / would have responded to this jerk fast enough to have made a difference and not to have added to the problem - so more people are buying hand guns since the tragedy - I don't think so!!! At least in the past and in some states, if you want to carry a concealed weapon, you have to pass training every couple of years, be certified and verify that you need to carry. He passed the background check to buy a gun because he was never treated / hospitalized for his mental illness. So now we have a bunch of people running around who have no idea how to handle a hand gun, who don't practice by target shooting and who say having a gun makes them feel more safe. How dumb.

    Sarah Palin is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Safari Club International convention in Reno next week. The group’s website says Palin will address the politics of hunting along with discussing her “past hunting experiences.” Somehow seems fitting. Glad I'm not living there right now.

    Let's hope the rhetoric becomes more civil and less vitriolic. Yes, politics have always been contentious, but what people keep forgetting is that with the Internet and 24 hour "news" channels (most of whom are so biased it isn't funny) that anyones comments start circling the world in a few moments rather than in days or weeks and that the things we say and do have a bigger impact and reach more people faster than in any time in history.


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