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      As many have heard, John Tory, the mainstream right wing candidate, won convincingly in Toronto and Olivia Chow came in third place, even doing worse than Doug Ford (brother of the famous crack-smoking Rob Ford.)  Much hand wringing has ensued that progressive just can’t win elections in Toronto. While it’s true that Toronto is hard [...]
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Tuesday: Jumping the Shark

Ok, I promised myself I wouldn’t go over this subject again but it seems we have lost perspective.

It pains me to point this out, but here goes.

In the past two decades, those of us on the left have watched with increasing alarm at the rise of the right wing noise machine.  I forgot who called it the Wurlitzer but it’s an accurate description.  The Wurlitzer is loud, rude and everywhere.  You can’t get away from it.  I don’t know how many times we have wrung our hands in frustration that we can’t trust the news, can’t find any reliable news and can’t seem to get on the airwaves.  When there is something important the left wants to say, the right puts us on mute.  When there’s an issue that deserves debate, the right rolls out slogans like “cut and run” and “weapons of mass destruction” and “congenital liar” (that last one was from William Safire to describe Hillary Clinton).

Two weeks ago, it seemed like the sentiment on most lefty blogs, including this one, was that the news was a waste of time, that cable news, in particular, was chock full of conservative voices.  Atrios frequently points out the number of conservatives vs liberal voices on the talking head programs and asks us to “document the atrocities”.  We all agreed that the right was abrasive, aggressive, dehumanizing, and was out to shut us down.  We despaired that if Obama got the nomination, the right would draw and quarter him in the general election campaign in 2008.  (They didn’t, which should have been a sign that they were up to something)

We think Glenn Beck is appalling, Rush Limbaugh an arrogant, bigoted, asshole with a suspected taste for sex tourism.  We couldn’t stand Fox News and its ubiquity in doctor’s waiting rooms and liquor stores.  We glommed onto any tiny slivver of hope of an alternative voice, includeing Keith Olbermann’s, at least for awhile.

The right owns just about every TV network in some capacity, makes all of the editorial decisions, floods talk radio and used to dominate the internet.  In fact, just about the ONLY outlet that the left has with a major presence is The Huffington Post.  That tells you how bad it is.

The right can make or break you.  Give you 15 minutes of fame or 15 years of infamy.  Put your relatives into a trance like state and ruin your Thanksgiving Dinner.  Turn your friends into walking, talking right wing zombies.  Make state legislatures into non functioning entities.

And yet, in spite of all of the intolerance, intimidation, screaming and yelling, lies, misleading nonsense we have had to put up with for almost 20 years, we have now come to the point where we are defending the right to say any stupid, dangerous thing it wants and we will applaud it.

We see Sarah Palin give an “in your face”, “go on and make me”, shameless, defiant video that pretty much is saying, “go on, make our day, we can say and do whatever the f^&* we want and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it” and we …

applaud it?

They have managed to make most of us here say, “don’t pick on the right wing noise machine.  That’s *Political* and it isn’t faaaairre.”

???

I’m not the least bit surprised that this has happened.  I suspected their guys were on it the minute I heard the term “politicize”.  Oh, man, Karl Rove couldn’t have crafted a better meme to shut the left blogosphere up.  The fact that the right is everywhere a contributing factor.  When that is the message that is broadcast for several days in a row non-stop, it starts to almost seem reasonable.  Before you know it, it’s unthinkable that anyone would ask the right to tone down their rhetoric.  It would be rude, unAmerican.  The right would NEVER politicize a tragedy.  NEVER.

Hello, Terry Schiavo.  Remember her?  Remember how the Republicans rushed back to Washington to pass a bill to override a court in Florida to prevent Terry Schiavo to die with dignity?

How about the Iraq War?  Wasn’t 9/11 invoked relentlessly by right wing media and Republicans to get us into a war we didn’t need?

We seem to have forgotten how ruthless and unsentimental the right can be about politicizing personal tragedies when their agenda can benefit from it.  No one here should be under any illusions about what the right is capable of when it comes to turning on the histronics to 11.

If it had been a Republican legislator gunned down, the right would be on the air right now screaming for the rescission of the first amendment from the Constitution and some Republican extremist in Congress would be drafting legislation to make sure that Fox was the official news channel and the Roberts’ court would be standing by, ready to not only invoke the amendment but retroactively remove all of the speeches it finds offensive in elementary school text books.  Goodbye, “I have a Dream”.

And now we are made to feel sorry for Sarah?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t BLAME her for the shootings.  But for being a careless, opportunistic, participant of the dehumanization of the left, yeah, I blame her for that.  It’s regrettable that the left has lost its moral authority to call her on it because they’ve gone batshit crazy on Sarah since August 2008.  But that doesn’t mean that Sarah is a nice guy.

So, here I sit, from my perch, unsullied by the media madness, watching as my friends and fellow bloggers jump the shark, abandon all sense of self preservation and defend the right’s right to inflame, shut up, and shout down the left.  We hand them the mallet and say, “Here you go.  We’re sorry we questioned your right to trample us without limitations.  Please beat us some more and do it harder this time.  Harder, Harder!”

Guys, I’m not into S&M.  If you want to beat yourselves up for failing to speak softly to the right and making them cry, go right ahead but I’m not going to do it.  I now expect that commenters will scream that I want to take away our right to free speech, and I have said nothing of the sort.  Or that I am connecting the shooter with the insane political atmosphere in Arizona.  I think the jury is still out on that one and anyone who says there is NO connection is just as wrong as anyone who says that there is.  Or that I am denying the misogyny directed towards Sarah Palin, to which I say that even a target of misogyny can turn out to be a person with questionable motives and no scruples.  Just because they’re picking on you, doesn’t make you innocent of everything you’ve ever done.  But I am not going to do the right’s work for them by blaming everything on the patriarchy.

When we start pulling our punches with the right and feel that we don’t have the right to question their virtual monopoly on the media or the way they have damaged discourse and debate in this country in the past 20 years, then we have truly jumped the shark.

Well, some of YOU have anyways.

failure to discriminate

In case anyone has forgotten, there are still people out of work

Tucson.  I hope this is the last day we beat this dead horse.

In the past week, I have stayed away from TV and radio and most blog sites.  At first it was because I was tied up with something else that needed my full attention.  But as a the week wore on, I deliberately stayed away and only read an occasional piece in the NYTimes regarding the progress of Giffords’ recovery.  And here is the result of my deliberate isolation from the media frenzy:

  • We will probably never know the true extent of the poisonous atmosphere of Arizona politics on the shooter’s state of mind.
  • Regardless of what anyone says to the contrary, the poisonous atmosphere of Arizona politics and general right wing media craziness can not be ruled out as a contributing factor.  The little I know about the shooter’s word salad indicates that *something* had seeped in.
  • Gabrielle Giffords is a politician and she is a Democrat.  To suggest that politics had NOTHING to do with it is absurd.
  • Regardless of whether or not the infamous Palin map had anything at all to do with the shooting, vandalism, red faced furious constituents getting in Giffords’ face during meetups or the general fear of being labeled a liberal or a Democrat in Arizona, the fact that the map was connected with her website as part of a campaign to “target” supporters of the healthcare reform bill is unbecoming and irresponsible for any politician on either side of the aisle.  There is no excuse for that map.  Oh, I can see a lot of people twisting themselves into pretzels trying to come up with one but give it up already.  Have some standards.
  • I don’t care if the left is going nuts on TV.  I don’t watch TV news specifically because there’s too much histrionics.  I don’t want my emotions to be manipulated.  I advise readers here to turn the gasbags off.
  • I’ve been critical of the way Obama’s campaign organization treated half his party during the 2008 campaign.  I hated the way the media and DNC went along with it.  It wasn’t enough that I was a liberal.  No, I had to be called old, uneducated, a racist and then treated as if my vote didn’t count because I was a woman and I’d get with the program in the end anyway.  His campaign tactics were an indication of the way he was to govern.  He doesn’t care what voters really think and he feels comfortable ignoring us.  That’s why I will NEVER vote for Barack Obama.  I advise others to reject him as well.  If you feel you have no other option, you don’t have a very high opinion of yourself.
  • Sarah Palin doesn’t need our protection or support.  She made that perfectly clear in her video.  She has thrown her lot in with Glenn Beck.  GLENN BECK, people.  That’s who she gets her spiritual and  political advice from these days.  In case some of you have forgotten, it was Glenn and Rush and the whole Fox News establishment who has been pounding on liberals for the past 20 years to make sure we are afraid to say what we believe.  The right is going to continue to pound on us because that is what they do.  They hate us and want to make sure we don’t ever have a voice.  I’m not going to hand Sarah a mallet.  She is not our friend.  She is what she is.  That doesn’t make her a monster.

If the left wants to make it worse for itself, there’s not a whole lot I can do to stop it.  I can’t control other people’s behavior, I can only control my own.  I’m not joining on either bandwagon.  I’ve had enough.  I’m sick of being treated like an outcast by both parties.

If the right is so determined to exonerate Palin or the right wing media from the vitriol, they owe it to the rest of us to present evidence and a detailed study proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that their over the top, angry, irrational demonization of liberalism is not now or ever has been responsible for the intimidation of a group they have been trained to hate.  Otherwise, I’m going to look at the fact that the right has cornered the media market in many states, including Arizona, and conclude that the hatred of liberals is correlated to that market share.

I’ve never seen so much denial in my life.  The right was happy as all get out to stomp all over us before this shooting.  If it really had nothing to do with it, and I’m not saying it did, why not just admit that it was fun while it lasted?  Sarah and Glenn aren’t apologizing.  Take credit for the poison.  You deserve it!

But if you’re tired of it, like I am, turn off the TV and the radio.  Step away from the fight.  If you are an FDR type Democrat in Exile like me, this doesn’t have anything to do with you anyway.  It’s just two anachronistic, legacy parties going at each other.  It has very little to do with how people are living today.  It won’t get more people employed, fix our crumbling infrastructure, punish the bankers or end a war.  It is a major distraction.

Enough.

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