Vitriol

A round-up of vitriolic rhetoric that is poisoning the American political climate can be found here, here, here and here.

As usual, Lorne Gunter is on the mark, if you pardon the phrase:

Frankly, I don’t think someone unhinged enough to commit such a monstrous act is any more likely to be pushed over the top by talk radio than by what the voices in his head tell him to do. But for the past decade, the same people who are now blaming government bashing from the right were bashing the Bush adminsitration every bit as hard from the left. Did that not contribute to the general lack of respect for government they now see as the cause of the Giffords shooting? Really, chanting “Bush lied, people died,” is merely the angel chorus – entirely benign – but claiming Barack Obama is bankrupting America with his high spending and debt gets liberal Democrats shot? Give me a break. If there is a connection between rhetoric and the decline in respect for institutions, then liberals are every bit as guilty as conservatives.

Gunter also helpfully points out that the Pima County’s soon-be-unemployed Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is “a big-time Democrat” with his own axe to grind against Republicans and their ilk.

One of  the more oft-quoted pieces I’ve come across today is Glenn Reynolds’ WSJ op-ed,which ends likewise:

To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America’s political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.

Where is the decency in that?

Incidentally, a portion of this comment will be featured in my letter to the editors of the StarPhoenix in response to their inevitable “vitriolic rhetoric” editorial tomorrow.

One final note: it was surprising—though it shouldn’t have been—on the near identical comments spoken to me by a couple  of work colleagues regarding the shootings. Both had heard about the “crosshairs” and used the term “violent rhetoric”, “poisoning” and “American political climate.” They also both listen to CBC Radio, which merely confirms my suspicions that CBC listeners will no more seek confirmatory evidence to what they hear on the radio than anyone else, if not less so.

Narratives matter.

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