Republicans and Their Guns

Republicans can disavow responsibility for Jared Loughner all they want, but he was wearing Christine O’Donnell’s “man-pants,” he did exercise Susan Angle’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, and he did use conservative radio host Joyce Kaufman’s bullets when the ballots didn’t work. Oh, and he did get a Democrat in Sarah Palin’s bull’s eye crosshairs.

Most folks are tiptoeing around the partisan nature of the shooting of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, but count me among the uncouth. There is blood on conservative hands and they should be called out. Another homicidal nut-job has brought their irresponsible rhetoric to fruition and they should answer for it.

I don’t want to hear Republicans saying there’s no place for this kind of violence in this country or condemning Loughner as an isolated, incidental mad man. Especially as if it’s something new or unexpected. Conservative rhetoric has been cranked up way past the “stun” setting ever since the Bush Administration was on its last crooked legs. And the target audience for their hate-speak has clearly been compelled.

Lest we forget, it was a conservative who walked into his former church in Knoxville, Tennessee on July 28, 2008 and shot eight people (killing two) because liberals “were ruining the country” (and his church had gotten too liberal). It was conservatives who were brandishing firearms at political events in the 2008 presidential campaign. It was a conservative evangelical Christian who shot abortion doctor George Tiller at his church in Kansas on May 31, 2009. It was a conservative white supremacist who shot security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns at the Holocaust Museum on June 10, 2009. And it was arguably an anti-government conservative that flew his plane into the IRS office in Austin, Texas on February 10, 2010.

There is no reason to mince words. Violence is implicit in conservative rhetoric because its audience honestly believes dissenters should be vilified and punished, and it thrills the Republicans’ conservative base to see its philosophical opponents squirm. Threatening language is necessary for their cause because fear and hatred are presently the load-bearing joists in their political platform. And what’s more, deep down, they’re not even ashamed of it.

Rush Limbaugh once blamed John Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter on Elizabeth Edwards, now deceased.  He said that John Edwards sought companionship with Hunter because, unlike his wife, Rielle “did something with her mouth other than talk.” It was callous and repugnant, but it wasn’t scripted, and it didn’t diminish Limbaugh’s ratings one iota. The comment was telling about who Limbaugh is and how he thinks, but also about who his audience is and how they think. The truth is, it’s not hard to imagine Limbaugh serving up something equally asinine about Congresswoman Giffords. Right now, he wouldn’t dare because there’s too much heat. But just because he isn’t saying it doesn’t mean he’s not thinking it.

And this is why Limbaugh is the voice for so many conservatives in this country. He touches a nerve with his listeners; he teases a brutish, authoritarian strain in them that reveres clichés like “my country right or wrong,” “ love it or leave it,” etc. And these folks take comfort in implied threats for people who disagree with them. That’s why they can rationalize the notion that the ends justifies the means.

Deep down, they’re not really bothered by the combustible letter that was sent to Janet Napolitano; she’s from the wrong side of the aisle. And somewhere inside they’re not terribly upset by what happened to Giffords, because she’s the ideological enemy. They can’t help themselves. It’s just who they are.

But one of these days a sharp contrarian will finally expose it. It will be like that showdown scene from “A Few Good Men.” The contrarian will get a Limbaugh or a Beck or a Palin or an Allen West on a “stand” and challenge their methods and their authority and their warped world view and badger them and demand the truth; and that Limbaugh, Beck, Palin or West will say the rest of us can’t handle the truth and launch into a blustery diatribe explaining that heathens like Tiller and liberals like Giffords got what they had coming to them and the country is a better place with every less one them around.

And everyone will be shocked and offended except those in gun-toting red states who, deep down, can see what Limbaugh, Beck, Palin and West were really trying to say, before they were misquoted or misinterpreted.

E.R. Bills is a writer from Aledo, Texas and the author of Texas Obscurities: Stories of the Peculiar, Exceptional and Nefarious (History Press, 2013). He can be reached at: erbillsthinks@gmail.com. Read other articles by E.R..

17 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. jayn0t said on January 12th, 2011 at 7:51am #

    I never though in a million years I’d agree with anything Sarah Palin says, but here it is, in black and white: “Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible”. Using the term ‘blood libel’ is either very brave, or very stupid!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/12/sarah-palin-response-arizona-shooting

    Dissident Voice has – rightly – published predictable knee-jerk liberal responses to the tragedy in Tucson, caused by a lunatic with a gun, but it also – rightly – unlike many left-wing outlets, allows people to challenge those responses.

  2. mnreason said on January 12th, 2011 at 8:26am #

    The totalitarian inclination on the left is astounding, always wanting to silence their critics. I suppose John Hinckley, Lee Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, Squeaky Fromme, Sarah Moore, Tim McVeigh, and Ted Kaczynski the “Unabomber”, and the “D.C. Snipers” are all right wing nut jobs. Heck the only one that can even come close is McVeigh, a fallen Irish Catholic, who declared himself to be an atheist(now there is a real right winger). Irish Catholics have always been known as peace loving. Right!!!! I suppose the Watts riots in 1965, and the Chicago riots in April and August of 1968, not to mention the protest and riots surrounding the Seattle WTO conference in 1999, were all the work of the right wing. Oh and I almost forgot, the 9/11 terrorists were right wingers also. Trying to expose the Jewish conspiracy. The conspiracy driven left (you , Michael Moore, The Southern Poverty Law Center, etc…) blames the right for all acts of violence, when its the left that poses the real danger. As far as John Edwards and his late wife are concerned. Who knows? Rush Limbaugh may have hit the nail on the head.

  3. Don Hawkins said on January 12th, 2011 at 8:26am #

    Another good one

  4. bluesapphire48 said on January 12th, 2011 at 10:40am #

    Thank you for this excellent analysis. The fact is that Republicans can “get away with” talking guns and violence. If a black, a Muslim, an illegal alien or a leftist in general had posted the kind of violent rhetoric that Sarah Palin has used in public to incite violence, he or she would be “called on it,” and rightly so. Guantanamo and Bagram are full of innocent people who have done far less.
    The fact is that Republicans and right-wingers are responsible for the hate speech in this country, and the comments by Reichtwingers in response to this article are a perfect example of their shamelessness, their aggressive, arrogant anti-social attitudes, and their general contempt for anyone who doesn’t agree with their bully’s attitudes and sick, warped mindset. It is no surprise that the rest of the world hates us for what we are, when we let these types set the agenda. The only question is, when will their chickens come home to roost? For one nine-year-old in Tucson, it is already too late.

  5. Liberte said on January 12th, 2011 at 10:50am #

    This is a huckster approach at dividing “left” from “right”. The fact of the matter is, around the world people are waking up to the irrationally large Zionist presence in their lives. One such presence is the gun control issue. The bolsheviks banned all guns, save for rifles to a few special interest groups, before the long plunge towards Christian mutilation. Lets not go down that road.

    Focus only on the main issues.
    1. Regain control over our military – stop the attrocities in the Middle East.
    2. Take control of our money – stop the attrocities of the IMF/Fed.
    3. Regain control of our government – stop the Zionist infiltration

    Nothing. Else. Matters. From left to right, from top to bottom – TRUCE.

  6. hayate said on January 12th, 2011 at 4:51pm #

    Bills assumes the limbaughs and becks actually believe the dribble they say. They don’t, it’s marketing for the gullible and stupid. The becks are in it for the money and probably get a thrill trying to one up each other in how absurd they can get and still get the dolts buying it.

  7. Hue Longer said on January 12th, 2011 at 7:52pm #

    Liberte,

    Did you mean to say, “GAIN control over THE military”? If you meant what you said ( “Regain control over our military”), do you think it was used for truth and justice at some point in US history?

  8. Hue Longer said on January 12th, 2011 at 7:56pm #

    What’s odd to me is that Dem and Repub voters aren’t much different than this guy when it comes to being confused… This person he went after was no leftist

  9. Liberte said on January 12th, 2011 at 9:03pm #

    I have thought long and hard about that Hue and I think that perhaps the war of 1812 qualifies as a just war. But aside from that you got me.

    Regain control like we had in 1812! I will be more specific next time.

  10. Deadbeat said on January 13th, 2011 at 12:52am #

    E.R. Bills writes …

    And this is why Limbaugh is the voice for so many conservatives in this country. He touches a nerve with his listeners; he teases a brutish, authoritarian strain in them that reveres clichés like “my country right or wrong,” “ love it or leave it,” etc. And these folks take comfort in implied threats for people who disagree with them. That’s why they can rationalize the notion that the ends justifies the means.

    The last group of Leftist who took comfort implied threats for people who disagreed with them were the Black Panthers. That’s why they TOOK UP ARMS against the police. Otherwise the Left has been awfully soft and E.R. Bills seems to imply that softness and “civility” should be the differentiator for the Left. We should only wish we had a group truly radical Limbaughs. You could bet bottom dollar there would be no freakin’ austerity.

  11. mary said on January 13th, 2011 at 2:17am #

    WHAT GROSS HYPOCRISY. OBOMBER/TUCSON/12th JANUARY 2011

    Did you hear it and the continual applause? It commenced with a quotation from the Bible too.

    ‘Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, “When I looked for light, then came darkness.” Bad things happen, and we have to guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

    For the truth is none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or ++what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.++ Yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. (Applause.) But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. (Applause.) That we cannot do. (Applause.) That we cannot do.’
    ~~~
    He went on at length about the victims and especially the little girl. (‘Remember he has two daughters of his own’ said the BBC’s soapy Mark Mardell from the US this morning). I wonder how many ‘little girls’ lost their lives yesterday, or their parents’ lives or their homes, in a dusty rocky place 7,846 miles away from Tucson.

    {http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/12/remarks-president-barack-obama-memorial-service-victims-shooting-tucson}

    Distance from Tucson to Kabul : 7846.5 Miles

  12. Deadbeat said on January 13th, 2011 at 3:49am #

    I agree mary, we know that the mainstream politicians are full of hypocrisy but so is the pseudo-Left. Here’s Paul Jay’s commentary from the Real News. What makes the pseudo-Left hypocrisy worse is that they do a much better rhetorical job of hiding their hypocrisy to confuse the public. While I could find myself agreeing with the main premise of Jay’s commentary — “faux civility” — he throws in this gem …

    This right-elite sponsored ‘populism’ also deliberately attracts people who want simplistic answers and ways to vent their bile on easy targets. In one election the target may be gays, the other immigrants, Muslims and who knows, maybe some day they’ll make their way back to Jews, and always, that is always, a foundation of deep hatred and fear of African Americans.

    I didn’t know that Jews were targets in the United States especially with their over-representation of their power in government. Ever take a look at the make-up of the Senate and the House. Jews are about 2% of the U.S. population while Blacks are about 12% and clearly Jews are well OVERREPRESENTED in the halls of power compared to Blacks. And while Jay mentions the Koch brothers he overlooks the influence of prominent Zionists like Hiam Saban have on the Democrats. Here’s a link to an article that once again confirms the power that Zionists have over the Democratic Party … Why Obama caved (Israeli ambassador Michael Oren is his Democratic fundraising tool).

    But Jay’s presentation was so awkwardly phrased it comes off as if the most pressing problem for Blacks is a Jewish backlash which there is no history of occuring in the United States.. We all know that pseudo-Leftist Cornell West has a deep love for Zionists but I think the reason why the Left fears an alliance with people of color that they know people of color will call the Jews out on their hypocrisy. This is why they need Obama and especially the bourgeois Black Democrats to read the riot act to African Americans claiming that there is “raising Antisemitism” and “racism” within their ranks. This canard serves the purpose of offset African Americans demand for justice and to keep the Left divided and weak.

    In fact Jay’s remark is so awkwardly phrased it is downright insulting to Blacks as Jews are permitted tax breaks for Holocaust related issues and activities — for an event that didn’t even occur in the United States. Yet Blacks can’t even get reparations from the nation that enslaved them. Ain’t that a kick in the head and other unmentionable body parts.

    I guess E.R. Bills missed this gaffe of Paul Jay in his opportunistic excitement turn this tragedy into an opportunity to dump on the Right.

    You’ve gotta appreciate the hypocrisy of the pseudo-Left.

  13. Hue Longer said on January 13th, 2011 at 6:28am #

    Hello Mary,

    Yes Obama didn’t say anything about the USA’s victims overseas but he said a whole lot of nothing about the ones in AZ and there was that “we’ll never know” BS… The media goes out of its way to make sure that directive is followed

    I don’t think Kabul would have liked that speech for their victims

  14. mary said on January 13th, 2011 at 8:14am #

    Thanks for your good responses Deadbeat and Hue.

    Have your sick buckets ready if you open this link. Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian waxes lyrical on Obama’s display of empathy and his pastoral qualities!

    ‘Barack Obama’s Tucson speech rose to the moment and transcended it.
    Obama spoke more like a pastor than a politician, carving out a moment of calm amid the toxic rhetoric.’
    {http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/13/obama-tucson-speech-pastor-politician}

  15. shabnam said on January 13th, 2011 at 8:48am #

    Deadbeat:

    Excellent comment about Paul Jay and Cornell West. Thanks

  16. hayate said on January 13th, 2011 at 12:45pm #

    Deadbeat

    Paul jay was a very strong supporter of the mossad/cia Iranian “green color revolution”. In that war crime, he was a direct conduit of mossad/cia propaganda. More recently, several his programs on Venezuela have leaned in the direction of providing space for bogus anti Chavez propaganda – though cleverly, which I documented here, I believe.

    Mary

    Jonathan freedland is friends with linda grant.

  17. mary said on January 14th, 2011 at 5:13am #

    Michelle is milking that ole’ Tucson cow now.

    I especially like this sentence – ‘And it makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up.’ !!!!

    {http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/01/13/open-letter-parents-following-tragedy-tucson}
    ~~~~~~
    PS Hayate – didn’t know about Grant/Freedland.