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Violet nails it

Over at Reclusive Leftist, Violet Socks responds to a recent essay by RFK Jr. that compared last week’s shooting in Tucson to the 1963 murder of his uncle:

But the essay is missing a sentence. I was so sure the sentence had to be there that I read the entire piece three times, and then started doing page searches to find the missing words. Surely the sentence was there and I was just somehow not seeing it. It’s the sentence that goes something like, “Ironically, despite the atmosphere in Dallas, it turned out that Uncle Jack’s assassin was a misguided pro-Castro Marxist.” Because that, of course, is what actually happened. That was the great irony of the JFK assassination. Dallas was infested with wingnuts (though they weren’t called wingnuts back then), and at first everybody thought that’s who killed the president. But lo and behold, it was just Lee Oswald, delusional Communist blowhard. As Jackie Kennedy remarked bitterly, JFK didn’t even have the “satisfaction” of dying for his liberal ideals; instead his assassin was just a “silly little Communist.”

In fact, that’s the point I thought RFK Jr. was going to make when I started reading the essay. Everybody in Dallas in 1963 thought it was a right-wing hit, and they were wrong; that’s the parallel with Tuscon. But no, that wasn’t the point RFK Jr. wanted to make. He just wanted to talk about the dangers of right-wing hate. Okay, fine. That’s cool. Let’s talk about it. But still: how do you leave out the sentence about Oswald? As a writer, how do you do that? I couldn’t. It feels obligatory. You write this highly-charged essay, you make a big deal about how ugly the right-wing stuff was in Dallas, you evoke the horror of the president’s death; even if you want your takeaway message to be about the dangers of superheated rhetoric, how do you leave out the undeniable historical reality that Oswald was cut from an entirely different bolt of cloth? Even if you tuck it in as a parenthetical throwaway (”of course, ironically…”), you still have to acknowledge it. Don’t you?

I had just about persuaded myself to forget about it—chalk it up to a single editorial decision not to muddy the main point—when I learned today that Eric Boehlert wrote an extremely similar essay in 2009: A President was killed the last time right-wing hatred ran wild like this. It’s exactly the same argument RFK Jr. makes, and with exactly the same stunning omission. No Oswald! Oswald has simply disappeared. He’s gone. And everything that motivated the man is gone. No Cuba, no Fidel, no Soviet Union, no Marxism, no Communism, no nothing. There’s not even a nod to Oswald’s real motive, which was the inchoate longing to be somebody, to be a great man, to be important.

So is this what we do now? Is this the program? Fifty years later, we just make it be about whatever we want it to be about? (Mr. Derrida, white courtesy phone. White courtesy phone, Mr. Derrida.)

Ironically, people will accuse me of having an ulterior motive for even saying this. So you’re defending right-wing hatred? So you’re arguing that the left is just as bad? Blah blah blah. Actually, here’s my ulterior motive: truth. I like truth. I like facts. I like knowing what really happened.

A few years back there was a horrible terrorist attack in this country. George W. Bush and his surrogates claimed that Saddam Hussein was behind the atrocity. There was no doubt that Saddam Hussein was an evil man, a brutal dictator with no redeeming qualities.

But he had nothing to do with the attacks on September 11th, 2001.

That’s the truth.

59 Responses

  1. G. Bush and his surrogates sold the American public the idea that if we didn’t rid the world of Sadam we would cease to exist, Sadam was our worst enemy. They then went and killed Sadam and many others, this is a fact. Fact two, is that right wing haters, many with a national audience, have been saying that liberals are ruining this country and must be done away with or we will not survive as a country. If they get away with one lie what makes you sure Liberals are not next? I don’t remember seeing gun toting militia members at any Franken rallies.

    I think everyone is confusing a tree for the forest and making false equivalencies.

    • So should we get rid of the right wing haters?

      • Get rid of in what way? Kill them, throw them in jail, hunt them down. No can’t hang with that. Attempt to rid ourselves of them by growing a spine and standing up to the lies and intimidation. Yes, I’m down with that. For over 50 years Liberals have been under attack and have been and continue to lose the struggle. We have been too “nice” to get our hands dirty. Liberals have become demonized and we continue to let it happen. When a Liberal calls out the other side they are shouted down by BOTH sides. This isn’t a recess game of tag it is quite literally becoming life or death for some people.

        • Do you think the right wing (Sarah Palin, the Tea Partiers, Glenn Beck, etc) is responsible for what happened in Tucson?

          • I think you are seeing trees and not the forest. Is there a casual link between S.P. and what happened? I don’t know one way or another, I have never accused her of causing it. There is a difference between causing and contributing in my opinion. I believe that right wing haters(I don’t count S.P. in this group) have contributed to an atmosphere that makes incidents like Tucson and Oklahoma City more likely. Do you no for a fact that the right wing (Sarah Palin, the Tea Partiers, Glenn Beck, etc) is NOT responsible in any way for what happened in Tucson?

          • You want me to prove a negative?

            Do you know for a fact that Saddam was NOT involved with the 9-11 attacks?

            Do you know for a fact that Hillary didn’t murder Vince Foster?

          • know not no.

            I can’t stay any longer for this discussion, I must be off to bed so I can keep the flying public safe tomorrow. I usually don’t have he time to get into the give and take as much as I have tonight. Thanks Katiebird for not booting me on the last thread. I really didn’t mean it the way you took it. I will be more circumspect in the future.

            As to you myiq, we will meet again my friend. Until then I’ll hoist one for you and the captain, only it will have to be non-alcoholic since I have to work tomorrow. Maybe you could hoist one for me instead. 🙂

          • Good to see you, myiq. I was afraid you were bound and gagged in a closet somewhere…

          • Who knew he had a key?

          • LOL! or maybe he’s been reading up on Harry Houdini?

          • Am I not allowed to have a social life?

          • We’re down to the Packers, Bears, Steelers, Jets. Old school football.

          • The Jets were part of that upstart AFL

          • I personally still don’t recognize AFL teams. And don’t even talk about all this team moving and these new fangled teams. Not having any of it.

          • Though I would have given the Raiders honorary NFL membership. 🙂

          • “Am I not allowed to have a social life?”

            I don’t think that was what the commenters, tongue in cheek, were hinting at either. 😉

        • remember when Hillary Clinton was accused of suggesting that Obama be assassinated because she said RFK stayed in the campaign longer than she had at that point? Remember that? Well this crap accusing Palin is the same thing. She uses what is a very typical completely unremarkable graphic and some words not very different than what democrats use and for sure the president used “they bring a knife, we bring a gun” and suddenly she is being blamed for a massacre. But God forbid she be angry about that. No, she is supposed to apologize and take blame. Somehow she is responsible for some sort of atmosphere of hate and threat to democrats. It’s nothing but a crock of shit and I think the real problem around here lately is that some people are afraid of continuing to be on the outside of the democratic party boys club.

          • That would be the only thing that explains the rhetoric and posture of the new wave feminists on facebook. Otherwise, they frankly have me confused. Violet’s recent posts have been timely.

            The political noise making from progressive bloggers in the past couple of weeks imo have not ultimately been about Tucson or Palin or the right. It’s been about progressives flailing around looking for traction. Because they are starting to be marginalized and even ignored in the national political dialogue. They want to be paid attention to. Problem is they’ve spent three years calling everyone who doesn’t agree with them *racists* so recruiting won’t be easy. The Democratic Party no longer has a base.

          • remember when Hillary Clinton was accused of suggesting that Obama be assassinated because she said RFK stayed in the campaign longer than she had at that point?

            Accused by Olberman, who is now accusing again. Can we talk about Olberman’s pattern of false accusations?

            Teresainpa, if all us Leftists who also care about fairness and truth get bumped from here, where shall we meet?

          • Threewickets and bemused, thank you I was almost afraid to look at the responses. So I was pleased with what you said. I have a feeling that this is all about 2012 and Obama’s campaign of slander and smear has started and people are being used even if they do not know it.

            Where will we all meet? I am not sure, but I think we will probably hang out here making RD crazy for a while longer.. also at Violet’s place.
            Other than that, we will have to keep in touch.

    • left wing haters are just as bad. “sarah palin is a c*nt” t-shirts are hateful and that kind of language makes it okay to hate women and by the way, c*nt, bitch and whore are usually the last words a woman hears before she is slammed in to a wall. Getting slammed in to walls is something that happens quiet a lot and that kind of language makes it okay to a lot of angry men.
      I hate this idea that liberals are suddenly in danger. I live in a very conservative area where lots of people are uneducated, sexist, gay hating etc….never once did anyone threaten me, nor were they ever mean to me to rude or nasty or threatening in any way. I have taken a lot of real abuse (hitting, shoving, punching, raping… in life for being a woman/girl..never ever once for being a liberal. Rush Limbaugh makes me want to gag and he has a lot of BS to say about liberals and it sometimes makes me feel like I am being slandered. But I am not threatened by him or his ditto heads. I would love to know where exactly it is in this country that people are in danger for being liberal.

      • Honk!

        • Double honk!! and btw, the only time I’ve been threatened it was by an elderly gay Obot in Santa Fe who declared loudly that Sarah Palin should be taken out and shot, and so should I for standing up for her. This was over a year ago, incidentally, so it had nothing to do with Tucson.

          • LandofLincoln,

            I live near Scranton Pa. I was working the Scranton office for Hillary’s campaign when there was a big uproar about how Obama supporters were bullied and that there were racist posters along the highway when he came to town and that people at Clinton rallies were chanting racist chants.
            It was all crap. There was nothing true about the claims. But of course tales of racism can not be disputed. What did happen was when I would send a group of middle aged women to the corner for visibility, they got harassed and called all kinds of names and spit on by young men in cars. These women were mostly from out of state and so it was doubly humiliating. I had nothing to say to them to make it feel better.

      • Well, I’ve been physically threatened at least three times (off the top of my head) for being a liberal. One guy managed to take a swing but missed. I’ve been told many times that someone ought to shoot me. So, it happens.

    • some one carries a gun and they are gun totting militia members? lol
      You know, considering where Franken is senator, I would be surprised if there were not at least a few people carrying guns at his rallies. It’s just not as good a story as Sarah Palin’s gun toting militia members and tea party racist wackos.. forgetting that tea party members are sometimes black and so are the candidates they support.
      You know a big part of the problem here is the “us against them” mentality that people adopt. I bet you don’t see the real overlap between us and them, the Venn diagrams that we all actually fall in to.

  2. A week later we’re still left with people killed and injured by a man who needed some kind of help before he ended up where he did.

  3. The 60 Minutes piece with the Secret Service was very good. A few nights ago on Nightline, I saw one of the guys who works with them to study these mass murderers. He surprised the reporter by saying that, in his opinion, John Lennon had as much to do with the Tucson shooting as Palin or anyone else.

    • There was quite a write-up on a Secret Service study of recent US assassins. The conclusion was that most of them wanted to be famous, and a political motive if any was an afterthought.

      • -I heard today that the gun man in Tucson was a bush hater and believed that Bush was responsible for 9-11.
        If we are assigning political motive and POV then that puts him closer to being a liberal than anything else.

  4. I am very disappointed in RFK Jr.

    • He used to be the voice of sanity vis-a-vis the two parties (now one); I remember him saying, ten years or so ago, that the Republicans were 95% corrupt while the Dem proportion was only about 75%.

      I assumed he’d changed the percentage more recently to put them both at 95%–or maybe even 99%. Maybe he just can’t bring himself to make that leap, given his family history, and it’s that history that makes it difficult for me to be too hard on him.

      Strange days have found us, for sure.

  5. I don’t really understand the point of defending the right wing establishment. This is starting to feel like the fair and balanced reporting about global warming.

    • I didn’t notice anything that was defending the right wing.

      • If you don’t hate Palin with a burning white-hot rage, then you are defending the right wing. Or something.

        • Actually, I was defending Saddam Hussein.

          Violet Socks was defending the right wing.

        • Reminds me of the primaries–If you were critical of Obama and preferred Hillary, then you were a racist (via the Obots). Same “logic” IMHO>

          • Well, the primaries for 2012 have begun — I think that memorial rally kicked it off. It’s a clear signal to me that BO is running for re-election. And since no one will primary him, his goal will be to knock off the strongest GOP contenders BEFORE the general. It’s always been his method.

    • Seems to me it’s defending the truth, as best possible.

    • Except for one difference. Global warming is science. Political ideologies are not.

    • And I can’t figure out why American’s don’t ever want to know the truth anymore. People have become so entrenched in polarization that they are forgetting that it isn’t really about us versus them but rather fixing our problems and making this a better place to live for all of our citizens. All of these lies being bandied about aren’t helping any causes and only serve to drive the wedges in deeper.

  6. Rounding up the usual suspects is all too common, but with the AZ tragedy there was one suspect: Sarah Palin’s. It was her map and her rhetoric that was blamed, almost with certainty.

  7. Frank the Plank is my new hero:

  8. Why does it hurt when I pee?

  9. People are losing their fucking minds.

  10. If you want to make the case that violent political rhetoric in general begets real violence, then make that case. Don’t fudge the data and don’t cherry pick your facts.
    We’re a society that fetishizes violence and guns; we stockpile weapons, demonize our enemies, and leave disturbed people without help or comfort.

    Says Violet Socks. I don’t disagree.


  12. HONK HONK! Great post!

  13. glad to see the Klown back hi.,,missed you ,yes you can have a life,, :mrgreen:

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