Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heated rhetoric

Well, my TWTC comments on Palin and Giffords seem to have struck some nerves. I don't get many comments on my columns, but that one so far has generated 73. The annoying thing to me is that so many of them reflect either a failure to read carefully or a complete misunderstanding of my intent. And here I always thought that my writing was quite clear.

A number of people assume I'm saying there's no link between Palin's rhetoric (and that graphic with the crosshairs that's been so widely discussed) and political violence. I make no such assumption. I merely point out that no link has been established in this case. The assault on Palin is therefor a matter of politics, not justice or genuine outrage over what happened in Tucson. If a friend is killed by a drunk driver and I respond by attacking my neighbor the known drinker and shrieking that he has blood on his hands, I'm reacting emotionally or politically, not out of desire to bring justice to whomever killed my friend. It may be that alcohol advertising is to blame for some drunk driving, but if the particular driver was an illiterate who never saw a beer commercial, then a campaign against alcohol advertising is dishonest if it uses him as the poster-boy.

If people want to end the vitriol in political speech, they might try being less hate-driven in their speech about Palin.

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