From a self-described far lefty website, a collection of tweets on the shooting:
If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he be sitting right now? Just asking. - Michael Moore
A physician cannot treat an illness s/he willfully refuses to diagnose. Violent political rhetoric is not fault of "both sides." - Tom Tomorrow
Inspiring that our media pundits are so quick to reach for "everyone's to blame" when no conservative events have been terrorized by gunmen. - Jeffrey Feldman
Weird: rightwingers say movies, video games affect behavior -- but real world violent rhetoric from leaders & radio talkers have NO impact! - Tom Tomorrow
Jared Lougnner: drug arrests, too crazy for Army or for college or anythign else, but getting a legal gun? No problem. - Tom Tomorrow
I find it abhorrent that Sarah Palin would stoke the coals of extremism with dangerous messaging, then delete it when something bad happens. - Jason Pollock
Sarah Palin rummages online frantically erasing her rabble-rousing Tweets like a Stalinist trimming non-persons out of photos. - Roger Ebert
I'll say this, if your first instinct after hearing about a tragedy is to scrub yr websites, you have a problem as a political movement. - digby56
CNN's Dana Bash says "this could be a wake-up call." THIS ... ? The whole Tea Party, carrying guns to rallies WASN'T?? - hololio2
I think the first is the best: Could anyone seriously claim that if it had been the case, every currently and highly offended RWS™ and their righteous advocates would not be screaming bloody murder? (Literally.) Think, instead, they'd be defending the poster?
Ebert, too, is right on, given Palin's activity after the shooting. Pretty telling.
The ones I left aren't over the top, you ask? Not the way I see it. The right wingers (and commenters here) can scramble up the "both parties" tree all they want, but there's simply no equivalency. Find a loose-lipped lefty, an offensive sign here and there? Yep. Couple of D politicos, too? Sure. And the two I can think of have been unelected. Boo-hoos from Michelle Malkin, one of the very worst in a really bad crowd? Laughable as it is pathetic. Some people called Bush Hitler? Yeah, they did. (And they were wrong: he wasn't Hitler, he was Politburo all the way.) Some lefties have said even worse.
But no, sorry: saying "both sides do it" is like saying there are two sides to global climate change, to the age of the earth "controversy." Sure there are people on both sides saying bad stuff. But calling for violence as political strategy? Politicians saying the other side must be "eliminated," "beaten and bloodied?" Calling for revolution if they don't get everything they want? Actual elected leaders? Just because they disagree?
Dangerous outcomes from a culture of paranoia
Last October, Glenn Beck was musing on his radio show about the prospect of the government seizing his children if he didn't give them flu vaccines. "You want to take my kids because of that?" he said. "Meet Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson."
Last April, Erick Erickson, the managing editor of the right-wing RedState blog and a CNN commentator, was questioning the legality of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey on a radio show. "We have become, or are becoming, enslaved by the government. . . . I dare 'em to try to come to throw me in jail. I dare 'em to. [I'll] pull out my wife's shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door."
Do right-wing talk show commentators incite violence against the government? Feel free to draw your own conclusions - but to dwell on the rise of violent rhetoric on the right is to miss an even bigger, though connected, problem. Let's focus, rather, on the first part of Beck's and Erickson's observations: The government wants to take away Glenn Beck's (and by extension, your) kids. The government wants to take a census and will throw Erick Erickson (and by extension, you) in jail if he, and you, don't comply...
... The primary problem with the political discourse of the right in today's America isn't that it incites violence per se. It's that it implants and reinforces paranoid fears about the government and conservatism's domestic adversaries...
... A fabricated specter of impending governmental totalitarianism haunts the right's dreams. One month after Barack Obama was inaugurated as president, Beck hosted a show that gamed out how militias in Southern and Western states might rise up against an oppressive government...
... As much of the right sees it, the government is planning to incarcerate its enemies (see Beck and Erickson, above), socialize the economy and take away everyone's guns. At the fringe, we have figures like Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America, who told a rally in Washington last April that, "We're in a war. The other side knows they are at war, because they started it. They are coming for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They are coming for everything because they are a bunch of socialists."
... Consider the plight of poor Fred Upton, the Republican congressman just installed as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, over considerable right-wing opposition. According to Beck, Upton is "all socialist," while Rush Limbaugh calls him the personification of "nannyism" and "statism." Upton's crime is that he supports more energy-efficient light bulbs. How that puts him in a league with Marx, Engels and Nanny McPhee, I will leave to subtler minds.
American politics and culture have a rich history of paranoia, as historian Richard Hofstadter and many others have documented. Many of the incidents of anti-government violence over the past couple of years - flying a plane into an IRS building in Texas, shooting police officers in Pittsburgh and carrying out last weekend's savagery in Tucson - came from people who, however individually loony they may have been, also harbored paranoid visions of the government that resembled, though by no means entirely, those put forth by the Becks and the Ericksons.
That doesn't make Beck, Erickson, Rupert Murdoch and their ilk responsible for Tucson. It does make them responsible for promoting a paranoid culture that makes America a more divided and dangerous land.