Thursday, August 16, 2012

Violence isn't a good political method, but some people think lying is.

The headquarters of the Family Research Council, a Christian anti-gay hate group, was attacked the other day. A gunman who apparently disagreed with their stance opened fire and wounded a security guard.

I read a number of lefty blogs and news sites. ALL of them mentioned this story in one way or another, and every one which did denounced the violence to one degree or another. Many of them unequivocally denounced the violence as bad and wrong and openly sympathized with either the guard or both the guard and the FRC - specifically because of the violence, and in spite of their political differences with that group.

The worst part is, that on Facebook tonight I saw a photo being shared around by a FB acquaintance of mine.

Not only is this a blatant lie, but it is a scurrilous attempt at painting the rest of the media as biased against the right wing. This is politics at its worst. The attacker was wrong, yes, terribly wrong, and has set his own cause back to a major degree and given his opponents a gift that they will exploit to the fullest and beyond.

This is the beyond part, by the way.

Any honest reading of the history of violence in this country will see clearly that in the last century violence has been largely perpetrated by right wing extremists towards left wing organizations or individuals they disagree with. Not exclusively by any means, but to a large degree.

Note here that I do not blame this on any organized effort. I don't have some conspiracy theory that there is some cabal of right wing extremists plotting to make their own extreme wing of nut bags do violent things. There IS a cabal of right wingers plotting to take over the country, probably at least two of them, but not violently. Strictly within the letter of the law, if not the spirit. But that is a digression.

There is a language of violence inherent in the language of the right wing, though. Note the things which were pointed out in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, all of which used the language of "targeting" or images of shooting range targets or gunsights.

I guess the take home from this incident is that such language doesn't ONLY affect the right wing extremists. It affects the extremists of all stripes, including the lefties.

But the right wing would rather just lie about their opponent's actions and words instead of looking, again, at their own language of violence and division or simply condemning that violence.

I will, again, ask my right wing readers, is this really the way you want to win? Is lying about your opponents the right way to play the "game" of politics? Do you really want Republicans to win so badly that you are willing to condone a culture of lies and hatred to do it?

I am not talking about exaggerations and political polemics, that's part of the game. But blatant lies aren't, or should not be.


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