American Assassination

Ah, the shooting of a sitting Congressperson.

There hasn’t been an assassination in America since John F. Kennedy. Unless you count the death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, which some people do.

This horrific incident underscores the mess that American politics have become. As Keith Olbermann said so well in his Special Comment, the metaphors of violence must be repudiated. Certain conservatives may also wish to refudiate them as well.

Make no mistake. Assassination is the right word. Jared Lee Loughner tried to assassinate a sitting Congresswoman. He did it because he listened to the violent rhetoric of the right-wing opinionators who would rather destroy those who differ with them than try to work out those differences, or at least learn to live with them.

I can’t say it any better than Keith did. Listen to his comments. Listen to them twice.

Thanks, Keith. You’ve never been more spot-on.

Category(s): Immigration, Laws, Politics, Prejudice, Psychology, Society
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68 Responses to American Assassination

  1. He did it because he was NUTS. Rhetoric or not.

  2. Right on, Triloci, and Keith,

    For a while it seemed that we needed to resign ourselves to writing an addendum to Machiavelli’s The Prince – one suited to modern-day democracy. It might read like this:

    “How to perform a politicak assassination in a democracy

    When you wish to eliminate your political opponents, assassinating them yourself is too politically risky in a democracy.

    Instead, simple fearmongering will do, inciting outrage and loathing among the masses with paranoid, persecuted rhetoric and
    reflexive prejuduce, colored with violent innuendo, until individuals with the least to lose with violent action – the most isolated, least enfranchised, and least mentally stable – feel compelled to take it upon themselves to do the dirty work for the cause which you champion, or to their own ends entirely, thereby providing you with plausible deniability – the particular comfortable distance with which you may absolve yourself of any tangible connection to the incident.

    After the deed is done, cover your tracks. Ensure your alibi with feigned shock and words of kindness and sympathy to the assassination victim and the victim’s family. Follow it up with condemnation, however hollow, of the violence and of the
    attacker. Disavow the attacker due to their insanity. Defend the rhetoric which motivated the attacker by pointing out, however falsely, that it was merely figurative, and that anyone crazy enough to take so literally needed to be locked up anyway. Also claim, however untruly, and that such vitriol has always gone both ways with equal intensity. In assassinations such as these, equivocation is your closest friend.

    With an effective control over the media, one may cultivate a decentralized and widespread cadre of maddened reprobates who, repeatedly hearing your emboldening and thinly disguised hints of violence toward your political opponents, ready themselves to do your bidding under the false guise of their own free thought, moral righteousness, and intellectual sophisitication.”

    Or, instead of resigning to add another chapter to the infinite horror of realist politics, we could step out into the sunlight and take a deep breath of fresh air and begin to think for ourselves, and to reject violence when considering politics, especially in our words. We could refuse be tools of fear and hatred, and repudiate those who seek to use others as such tools.

    Sorry to take up so much room on your blog.

    - Your Dear Friend

    Reverend X

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