Shining the spotlight on pro-violence institutions and figures

January 10, 2011 at 10:51 am 40 comments

By Adam Bink

After events like Saturday’s shooting, there is a rush to find the political blame and pin it somewhere. There’s no evidence (yet) that the shooter- like the man who planned to attack Drummond Pike and Tides Foundation because Glenn Beck told them “I’m coming after you” and called himself a “progressive hunter”- got his motivations from the media, or national political figures like Sarah Palin.

But that doesn’t mean anyone’s off the hook. Media Matters has a good documentation of the history of pro-violence rhetoric from right-wing figures. And I thought the NYTimes editorial in yesterday’s paper was particularly poignant on this:

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

To that end, this morning Courage Campaign launched the following e-mail, calling on Chairman Darrell Issa, who heads up the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to investigate the ties between violence and increasing calls for it in our national dialogue. It’s an honest, non-partisan, common-sense effort to shine the spotlight on those who call for politically-related violence, and find steps to bring that activity to an end.

Sign your name to our call below.

Courage Campaign

“I think it’s important for all leaders… not just leaders of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party… to say, look, we can’t stand for this…we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the cross-hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.”
-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, March 25, 2010

Dear Adam:

I know something about senseless violence.

I have never met Congresswoman Giffords, nor Judge Roll, nor any of the other victims of the shocking massacre that occurred Saturday in Tucson. But I recall as though it were yesterday the assassinations in 1978 of my friend and mentor Harvey Milk along with San Francisco Mayor Moscone. As if that were not enough, only seven years later, I was stabbed by a group of skinheads screaming “faggot.” For me, political violence has never been hypothetical.

Harvey received so many death threats that he stopped looking at them. He almost assumed he would be killed, because of the hate speech and incendiary language that foes of equality hurled with impunity.

On Saturday, it happened again. While no one knows for sure what drove Jared Loughner to commit this heinous act, we do know that the toxic political discourse in this country today- candidates talking about “second amendment remedies”, news networks featuring anti-government conspiracy theorists, and national political figures like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin describing themselves as “progressive hunters” and urging followers to “reload”- lays the groundwork for this kind of violence (1, 2, 3, 4). We shouldn’t stand for it.

It has to stop. That’s why today the Courage Campaign calls on Rep. Darrell Issa, the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to investigate the ties between violence and increasing calls for it in our national political dialogue.

Mr. Issa has promised to hold a hearing every day on various Obama administration programs and legislation. What about hearings on what led to this attack? How about an investigation into increasing calls for violence from national political figures, organizations, and the media? It’s time for him to call hearings now on the environment that led to the deaths.

We know that law enforcement and the judiciary will bring the perpetrators to justice. But that’s only this time. What about next time? We will never end this violence until we have an honest national dialogue about who and what is feeding it, and determine the steps that can be taken to prevent more violence.

Will you join me in calling on Chairman Issa to investigate how overheated political rhetoric can contribute to such violence?

Let us do more than bring the shooter to justice. Let us put the spotlight on those who are teaching the next shooter that violence is the answer.

Join me in calling on Chairman Issa to convene hearings, so that we may again become a nation of democracy and debate, rather than mob rule and violence.

Entry filed under: Right-wing.

Daily, Jim: That’s how often we’ll tell you why app removal is understandable “Don’t mourn. Organize.”

40 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathleen  |  January 10, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Reply
    • 2. Peterplumber  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

      ♂♂

      Reply
    • 3. Ann S.  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:24 am

      §

      Reply
    • 4. JonT  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

      Reply
  • 5. Sagesse  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Don’t waste this opportunity to at least have the dialogue. Make the most of it.

    Reply
  • 6. Elizabeth Oakes  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Issa’s not known for his support of reasonable debate or progressive issues. We’ll see if he steps up, but I doubt it.

    Reply
    • 7. Elizabeth Oakes  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

      I like this quote, cited on Boingboing.net today:

      “The massacre in Tucson is, in a sense, irrelevant to the important point. Whatever drove Jared Lee Loughner, America’s political frequencies are full of violent static.”— George Packer, in the New Yorker.

      And yes, that static gets into people’s heads.

      Reply
      • 8. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

        I over hear this static at work from Republican/conservative colleagues every since President Obama was elected. A couple of years back many parents, teachers and others locally were in a dither because President Obama was going to have a speech played in the schools. Many schools elected NOT to show it as a result. I do not recall this happening before. The incident were our President was not offered and honorary degree when speaking at a university “as not experienced enough”…again, seems unprecedented. Hateful dialogue aimed at Hispanic persons by Utah politicians has somehow become tolerated….

        My hubby is NOT comfortable around these people of UT, he is sensitive, gifted and a scholar of sociology and ethnic studies and for weeks he’s been predicting the the 2nd amended will start to be invoked with increasing earnest…

        so many thought spinning around in my head about this weekend events….

        Reply
  • 9. Chris From CO  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Because of the spin on the Sara Palin website I hope the other 19 people on that site will get more security. Just in case a copy cat comes along. We don’t need to see a week from now another “target” is down. Weather or not that website had anything to do with it, copy cats love following up someone else’s act. It could be worse than this.

    Reply
  • 10. Kathleen  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

    There’s a formatting problem with the post – it’s cutting off part of the letter from Cleve, on the right-hand margin.

    Reply
  • 11. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

    1..2..3..4…Stop the violence is the chore…5..6..7..8…..Spread the love & stop the hate……speaking of love…..

    Out Magazine’s February issue is titled “The Love Issue” & features 23 love stories. Tom Ford & his partner, Richard Buckley, appear on the cover……

    Here is a quote from the Feb. issue: “One of the things that always amuses me — amuses isn’t even the right word, because it doesn’t amuse me — but often, I’m at dinner parties with very close friends, straight, and they realize that Richard and I have been together 24 years, and the response is often, “Wow, you guys have been together 24 years! That’s so amazing. I don’t think of gay men being together that long.” And I’m, like, “Why? What are you talking about?” Some of the longest relationships I know of are same-sex couples. A lot of my straight friends have married and divorced and married and divorced in the time Richard and I have been together. I think that preconception, from even very educated liberal friends, that being gay is possibly more sex-based than emotionally based, is surprising and shocking in today’s world. I’m someone who likes being part of a couple and always wanted that and always sought that, and it would probably be true for me whether I was gay or straight. Richard and I are bound together, and I think that’s what that recognition is when you look someone in the eyes and you feel like you’ve known them forever. It is a kind of coming home.” ~ Tom Ford, Fashion Designer.

    & here is a slide show from the issue…..
    http://www.out.com/slideshows/2011/01/twenty-three-love-stories/?slideshow_title=Twenty%20Three%20Love%20Stories&theID=1#Top

    <3….Ronnie

    Reply
    • 12. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:40 am

      Love the Tom Ford story! Yes, I can see me and my hubby being together for long time, hopefully always!…not so much because we are head-over-heals in love (though after 3 years the attraction for me grows stronger) but we discuss, debate, share, enjoy, challenge, forgive, learn daily from each other. I too see many hetero couples marry and divorce quite liberally(ahem, “conservatively”….don’t know how to do the word-crossed-out thing)

      Reply
  • 13. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  January 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Robert and I will be celebrating our 28th year together this July 2nd (God willing)….and as with Tom and Richard it never ceases to amaze me when someone says ‘You’ve been together THAT long, WOW that’s amazing for a Gay couple!”….my response is always ‘Gay or Straight that’s a long time for ANY couple!’
    People just assume we as Gay men and women are all about the sex and have little to no emotional ties to our partners.
    DRIVES ME CRAZY!!

    Reply
    • 14. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      BIG WOOT to Mark & Robert!!

      Reply
      • 15. Ronnie  |  January 14, 2011 at 10:53 am

        I agree…congrats to Mark M. & Robert…..<3…Ronnie

        Reply
    • 16. Michelle Evans  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      Long term relationships–truly life-long relationships–are amazing and wonderful. On the day after Thanksgiving, Cherie and I celebrated our 29th anniversary of the day we first met. On July 20th of this coming year, we will celebrate the 24th year since the day we married (regardless of what the state of California has tried to say regarding our now same gender marriage–we are still married–and always will be!)

      It has always been my dream to be re-married to Cherie as the person I have actually always been, and Cherie is very excited about that day, too. We are so very much hoping that this will finally come to pass this year with a reversal of Prop 8 and DOMA. We are already staring to plan for the big day–whenever that finally is allowed to happen–and have an appointment next month to do fittings for a proper wedding dress.

      Reply
      • 17. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:20 pm

        Woot! to Michelle and Cherie! May your dream come true!!

        Reply
      • 18. Ronnie  |  January 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm

        Early congratulations to Michelle & Cherie….go all out on the dress…you deserve it…. <3….Ronnie

        Reply
    • 19. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      Amen! They conveniently forget about all of our couples who actually know what marriage is all about, and what commitment is all about. If I can find it, there is a song Kathy Mattea recorded a few years ago on her CD Innocent Years that is titled “That’s the Deal.” It is about someone who sees a man who is looking after his wife, who has Alzheimer’s. When the man is asked why he doesn’t leave, he states that the deal he made when they married included this also. That is the type of marriage I have, and that is the type of marriage I see from Mark M. & Robert, from Gregory in Salt Lake City and his hubby, and all the other couples here on this site. So, if marriage is about love and commitment, and honoring that commitment, we are not redefining marriage at all. We are strengthening it.
      And not only a WOOT! WOOT! to Mark M. & Robert, but also hugs!

      Reply
    • 21. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      article worth mentioning as has reactions from around the globe, Mexico, Cuba, Britain…

      Reply
      • 22. candide001  |  January 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

        Internationally “Arizona” is becoming a term for insanity and chaos. Yesterday a Paris intern describing on his blog a particularly chaotic hospital shift wrote simply, “c’était l’Arizona”.

        Reply
        • 23. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm

          ouch!

          Reply
    • 25. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm

      could be good! thank goodness have a demo Governor!

      Reply
  • 26. Kathleen  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    UPDATE in DADT case (LCR v USA)
    LCR’s response to government’s Motion to Hold Appeals in Abeyance

    Reply
    • 27. Kathleen  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      To read the original government motion (filed 12/29/2010) see:

      Reply
    • 28. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      tx for update!
      found this comment insightful…but a little comedic with “cake” reference:
      “Now the government is attempting to eat its cake and have it too. Having obtained a stay of the district court’s injunction, on the grounds that that injunction ordered a “precipitous change” in the military’s policy and appellate consideration of the Constitutional issues was required, the government now requests that the appeal itself be stayed so as not to interfere with the change in policy that is –“methodically” and “deliberately” – underway. The government cannot have it both ways.”

      Reply
  • 29. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Not only will I sign this letter, so will my husband, and we will both post it on our Facebook pages with a request to all of our friends to sign it and post it to their Facebook pages.

    Reply
    • 30. adambink  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Richard.

      Reply
      • 31. Richard A. Jernigan  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm

        We have to stop this madness before it goes any further. And I just got a post from Senatus that Bennett’s Denver Colorado office has also received threats. Who is going to be next? Can someone get us the necessary telephone numbers to call all of the organizations that have been using this incendiary language so that we can call them and voice our feelings that this has to stop and that it has to stop now!

        Reply
  • 32. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Might want to rethink your concerns, CWA:
    http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2011/01/might-want-to-rethink-your-concerns-cwa.html

    (me) Yeah…um…I…um….”Concerned” Women for America (CWA)….not only impies violence w/their ill-conceived advertising gimmick….but the words they use for the acronym actually spell out “shot”…oh & surprise , surprise (not really) they have a bullet shooting through the “o”…..These “conservative” groups just keep on proving that they are either prone to violence, are completely oblivious to what they are implying, or really are trying to underhandedly incite violence……there is something unstable about them…just saying…… : / …..Ronnie

    Reply
  • 33. “Don’t mourn. Organize.” « Prop 8 Trial Tracker  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    […] up on today’s e-mail from Cleve Jones, here’s Cleve speaking at a vigil in the Castro for the victims in […]

    Reply
  • 34. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Video of the Obama’s leading a national moment of silence this morning for the victims of the shooting yesterday in Tucson, Arizona…..<3….Ronnie:

    Reply
  • 35. Ronnie  |  January 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    The women on “The View”, this morning, had a very well rounded, in my opinion, report on everything in & around the, as the title states, vitriolic rhetoric that may or may not have had something to do with the motives behind the events of Arizona yesterday…..I will admit…that I pointed fingers at Sarah Palin, & rightfully so….I am still annoyed at her ability to not take any responsibility for what her statements (& what have you) imply…..I am not saying she is responsible for what happened yesterday but the types of statements she (& many others on all sides) makes are what leads to things like this happening….& denying that they don’t is disadvantageous to any movement towards peace & an end to the violence….. : I …..Ronnie:

    Reply
  • 36. Tomato  |  January 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Can we please take note that in gunsighted “REAL America” Arizona, a Jewish woman was shot by a man with inadequate health care and her life was saved by a gay Latino young man?

    When society creates an environment of vitriol, the easily swayed (mentally ill, with no healthcare) will follow what they perceive as the path of the strong (violence). Unfortunately, there are two parties in the US that advocate violence and use violence in their metaphors. I fear that violence will only increase as those parties gain power and do more and more to remove healthcare and support from the mentally ill who need it.

    Reply
    • 37. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  January 10, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      !!!!!!!

      Reply
  • 38. Rhie  |  January 10, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Watchin

    Reply
  • 39. fiona64  |  January 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Fascinating discussion on stochastic terrorism (which, in a nutshell, means someone provoking some whackjob to do something violent whilst retaining plausible deniability):

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2011/1/10/934890/-Stochastic-Terrorism:-Triggering-the-shooters.

    Love,
    Fiona

    Reply
  • 40. Sagesse  |  January 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    That’s a fabulous article. Been looking for the words to counter the ‘who me?’, ‘you can’t connect that whackjob to me’, ‘you can’t prove he got the idea from me’ denialists.

    Reply

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