Guest: David Bernstein, Boston Phoenix
So, why did liberals so quickly conclude that Loughner was a right-wing nut and the shooting was a political assassination?
Was it, perhaps, because there has been a series of such events in the last two years?
Is it because the right-wing media has grown ever more inflammatory?
Is it because the line between the right-wing media and right-wing politicians has blurred?
Is it because death threats against the President of the United States have significantly increased since Obama took office?
Is it because the metaphors used in political speech, especially by the right-wing, has evolved from sports to military and hunting?
Consider this (from Crooks and Liars):
…what’s equally undeniable is that it comes amid a gradually mounting litany of violence directed against “liberal” and government targets, effectively suggesting a fresh onset of domestic terrorism from the extremist American Right.
They go on to list a series of events, beginning with these:
– July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how “liberals” are “destroying America,” walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.
– October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.
– December 2008: A pair of “Patriot” movement radicals — the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted “to attack the political infrastructure” — threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.
Not only that, the language from the right is increasingly casting liberals as “America-hating, totalitarian, domestic enemies,” as described by David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix, in his article Desert Storm: How the GOP and the Sunset State nurture the lunatic fringe. Conservatives say the words are to be taken as metaphors or even entertainment. If they don’t mean anything, why do they say them? And, where should society draw the line?
And, how would conservatives react if liberals started showing up at political rallies with guns?