Pages: 1 2
A key difference, we should point out, however, is in the reaction to extremism and over-the-line rhetoric. While the Left ignores its own shortcomings in this regard, it is vastly more inclined to exploit extremism — or invent it — for political gain. Usually, this amounts to ad hominem attacks that have little to do with actual political affiliation. This, we have also seen countless times, often in the form of indiscriminate accusations of racism (or “homophobia,” “xenophobia,” and the like); itself, an expression of vitriol. Yet it is only now, and with an almost exclusive emphasis on heated politics from the right-wing, that a moment of reflection is in order. Why? Are leftists so clueless about their own propensity for invective that they’ve forgotten the political climate of just a few short years ago? Perhaps the more telling question is, are we to believe that the Left has forgotten its own “climate of hate” and its ongoing debasement of the political dialogue?
To claim that elite politicos are merely overlooking left-wing extremism is a charitable reading of the situation, indeed. This is even more questionable when one considers the political gains to be had from exploiting the Giffords shooting. Popularizing the narrative that the right-wing is fueled by hatred, racism, and violence has been integral to the Left’s answer to the opponents of its agenda, of which the health care overhaul bill was a crowning achievement. Asserting that Saturday’s horrific event was an outgrowth of that milieu of hate, just when the tables have turned and the debate begins anew, is not just a blind character assassination — it’s good politics.
Politically speaking, there is every reason for those on the Left to twist the Giffords shooting in this way. It doesn’t matter that, as we learn more about the perpetrator, 22-year-old Jared Loughner appears to have been in the midst of a textbook psychotic break and to have had no intelligible political views. Just the association between the atrocity and the Right’s political agenda is enough. It is enough to ensconce the upcoming vote on health care in an aura of controversy that, given the great symbolic nature of the bill, would not be present for most other bills brought to the floor. That the debate will transpire in the only branch of government that was secured by the very conservative upswell the Left is now trying to impugn, is also difficult to ignore. No matter the outcome of the vote next week, nor the projected piecemeal repeal of Obamacare to come, this political ploy will loom over the debate, and probably only intensify. Sadly, the quest to cast Giffords as an Obamacare martyr cheapens popular victory over the legislation, as much as it cheapens the dignity of those slain.
Pages: 1 2