In the wake of this weekend’s shooting in Arizona, the opportunists of the Left barely waited for the bodies to cool or for confirmation of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ fate before pouncing on what simply had to be the atrocity’s root cause: Sarah Palin. Even though indications of culprit Jared Loughner’s true mindset started appearing on the very day of the shooting, agenda-driven vultures proceeded to lecture Palin on everything from what she needed to say to the proper level of remorse she needed to display. On Wednesday, the former governor responded, in a stirring statement that mourns for the victims, defies her persecutors, and affirms the strength of American democracy:
If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.
As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.
Of course, being Sarah Palin, she’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t, and so the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz (who admits the initial attacks against her were “unfair”) has panned the speech as not presidential enough:
Blood libel, for those who are not familiar, describes a false accusation that minorities—usually Jews—murder children to use their blood in religious rituals, and has been a historical theme in the persecution of the Jewish people.
Had Palin scoured a thesaurus, she could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase.
Yes, because when you’ve been defamed as an instigator of multiple homicide by people who know better, the important thing to do is ensure you don’t rub anyone the wrong way. For the record, “blood libel” has long since become accepted and used by both sides to denote especially vile defamation far beyond the term’s historical origins. Religious insensitivity virtually never occurs to anyone who hears it—unless, of course, there’s a media narrative to be fulfilled, about a prominent Republican who’s so stupid or insensitive that she just can’t help but offend minorities.