The Politics of Hate — and Hate Speech

Just about anything that could be said about the murders in Tucson have been said.

We know that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was holding a “Congress on the Corner” meeting outside a Safeway grocery store.

We know that a 22-year-old named Jared Lee Loughner is in FBI custody, and has been charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the United States and two counts of intent to kill employees of the United States. We know that six people are dead, that 14 were wounded, several of whom were in grave or critical condition. We know there will be additional state charges filed against Loughner.

We know that among the dead are John Roll, a Republican and the senior federal judge in Arizona, who had come by the rally to support his friend, the Democratic representative; and Christina-Taylor Green, a nine-year-old who was born on 9/11, and died on another day of violence. We have heard the names of George Morris, one of those shot, who tried to protect his wife, Dorothy, who didn’t survive; of Dorwin Stoddard, 76, who was killed while trying to protect his wife, Mary; of Phyllis Schneck, a 79-year-old widow who lived in  Tucson eight months a year to avoid the snows of her native New Jersey; and of Gabe Zimmerman, 30, Giffords’ outreach director.

We know that Loughner was rejected by the Army, withdrew from a community college prior to being suspended, became more abusive the past year, and that many, even before the shootings, have called him mentally unstable.

We know the shooter used a Glock 19 9-mm. semi-automatic weapon, with a 33-bullet magazine, which he purchased legally. We know that Congress did not renew the assault weapons ban, which allowed civilians to own pistols but with only a 10-bullet magazine capacity. And we also know that sales of Glock pistols following the murders, in a nation steeped in a gun culture, increased by 60 percent in Arizona and 5 percent nationally.

We know that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a conservative in his 30th year in office, called Arizona a “mecca of prejudice and bigotry,” and condemned the “the kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh,” whom he called “irresponsible” and who bases his talk show upon partial and wrong information to inflame his listeners. Three months earlier, the sheriff, possibly the most respected law enforcement officer in Arizona, said the Tea Party “brings out the worst in America,” and implied that the atmosphere of hate was partially responsible for the resulting murders.

While most Tea Partiers are White, middle-aged or senior citizens who are angry but not violent, whenever there is violence, whenever there is racism, discrimination, or homophobia, there are Tea Party sympathizers present.

We know that armed citizens, some carrying signs that advocate violence, attend Tea Party rallies, and speak of the overthrow of government.

We know that numerous members of Congress, including Rep. Giffords, had received death threats after they voted for health care reform. We know that some Tea Party leaders openly urged their followers to throw bricks through the windows of those who supported health care reform, and that several offices were vandalized.

We know that during the 2010 mid-term elections, Sarah Palin had targeted 20 Democratic representatives, including Rep, Giffords, by placing cross-hairs targets on their districts on a map of the United States. “When people do that,” said Giffords at the time, “they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” We know Palin frequently uses gun analogies and has called for her supporters to “take up arms,” exhorting them not to retreat but to rearm. After the murders, Palin claimed the cross-hairs weren’t really targets but surveyors’ marks.

We know that Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old disabled veteran who was one of those shot in Tucson, lashed out against hate speech. “If you are going to scream hatred and preach hatred, you’re going to sow it after a while if you’ve got a soap box like they’ve got,” said Fuller.

We also know there are liberals who have threatened others, and that the rhetoric of the Radicals of the 1960s, with limited media, may have been close to the rhetoric of the Reactionaries of the 21st century. But the instances of liberal threats pale in comparison to those launched by the extreme right-wing, which is adept at full use of the newer social media, as well as near-monopolies on radio and television talk shows.

We also know the extreme right-wing, usually without facts or bending facts to their own purposes, fired back at Sheriff Dupnik and others.

Rush Limbaugh, with absolutely no evidence, not only claimed the Democratic party “seeks to profit” from the shootings, but that Loughner knows he has “the full support” of the Democrats.

We know that Glenn Beck, two days after the murders, finally spoke out, extending sympathies — and condemning those who argued that a climate of hate was partially responsible for the tragedy. This is the same Glenn Beck who in June erroneously claimed that the media and those in Washington “believe and have called for a revolution. You’re going to have to shoot them in the head.” This is the same Glenn Beck who, on his website, posted a picture of him holding a pistol. And, we also know he defended Sarah Palin, stupidly charging that attacks on her following the tragedy could somehow destroy the republic.

We know that four days after the murders in Tucson, four volunteer officials of the Arizona Republican party resigned, citing the threat of violence by the Tea Party faction. Anthony Miller, chairman of Legislative District 20, a heavy Republican area near Phoenix, told the Arizona Republic that during his re-election campaign, Tea Party members threatened him, some making hand gestures imitating a gun. Many resorted to racial hatred, calling Miller “McCain’s boy.” Miller, an Afro-American, was on John McCain’s paid campaign staff in 2010. McCain’s opponent for Senate was a Tea Party sympathizer, with heavy support of controversial and racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Phoenix.

We know that 27,000 people of almost every American demographic and political belief attended a memorial service at the University of Arizona. We know that President Obama told that audience and the nation that Americans, in honor of those who gave their lives, need to be civil, that we should “use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.”

We know that the day of the memorial service, Palin, on her Facebook page, launched an eight-minute video, defensive and accusatory, in which she claimed she and the extreme right-wing, not the 20 hit by gunfire, were true victims. She refused to acknowledge that a climate of hate could have been a part of what surrounded the killer. In that video, Palin called media criticism of extreme right-wing rhetoric and hate speech “blood libel,” a phrase associated with extreme anti-Semitism. The term refers to accusations that Jews use the blood of Christian children in the making of matzos for Passover and other rituals. Giffords is a Jew. Gabriel Zimmerman was a Jew.

Two days after President Obama’s speech and Sarah Palin’s whining defense, in a daily newspaper in northeastern Pennsylvania, appeared a letter to the editor, written by one of the leaders of an organization allied with the Tea Party movement. In that letter, the writer incredulously, and with no knowledge, blamed the Pima County sheriff for “his official inactions/failures” and college professors. She wrote that Loughner was a “left-wing philosophy professor’s PERFECT STUDENT. . . . [who was] subjected to listening to liberal ideology.” Although she never attended college, she blamed “the politics of our liberal universities where our young people are being taunted and challenged to be violent in the name of ‘social justice.’”

We know that it isn’t liberals, most of whom fully understand not just the words but the meaning of the First Amendment, who are the ones who try to shout down opposing views. And, while incensed at the violence that often comes from hate speech, liberals don’t demand that the government shut down free expression, only that persons recognize there may be a correlation.

Yes, we know a lot. But, one thing we don’t know is why these “super patriots” of the Reactionary Right who believe they and no one else has truth or knowledge of how to improve the nation, can advocate violence and, thus, destroy the principles of reasoned discussion advocated by our Founding Fathers.

Walter Brasch, during a 40-year work career in mass communications, has been a member of several unions, in both the private and public sectors. He is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the author of 16 books, including With Just Cause: Unionization of the American Journalist, Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution, and his latest Fracking Pennsylvania. He can be contacted at: walterbrasch@gmail.com. Read other articles by Walter, or visit Walter's website.

26 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. jayn0t said on January 17th, 2011 at 11:00am #

    Brasch claims ‘Palin “claimed she and the extreme right-wing, not the 20 hit by gunfire, were true victims”‘. Not so. I don’t want to defend her, but I do defend the truth: she didn’t say that people hit by gunfire were not victims. The writer claims to defend ‘the principles of reasoned discussion advocated by our Founding Fathers’, as opposed to ‘hate speech’, which is a sly way of saying he agrees with the First Amendment except for those who strongly disagree with him. Liberals think they can use this approach for progressive ends, but Zionists will be the real beneficiaries – the Anti-Defamation League was first to condemn Palin’s perfectly valid and accurate use of the term ‘blood libel’.

  2. hayate said on January 17th, 2011 at 1:31pm #

    You wont find any sympathy from me towards the hate monger crew. Besides pushing race and cultural prejudice, they also promote war crimes. They are no different than goebbels and should receive the treatment he would have got. While I’m against vigilante acts, I would not object to these freaks being the victims of it.

  3. jayn0t said on January 17th, 2011 at 3:03pm #

    First of all, hayate, I’m not advocating sympathy. If you read more carefully, you’ll see that I am advocating telling the truth, even about people I despise. Of course they promote war crimes – Palin even advocated murdering Julian Assange. But I’d be careful saying what people deserve, and especially avoid mentioning violence.

  4. Don Hawkins said on January 17th, 2011 at 3:50pm #

    Of all the Wikileaks so far I found this one the most interesting.

    “I believe this guy is going to take us to war,” Bin Zayed told a U.S. delegation in April 2006 of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “It’s a matter of time. Personally I cannot risk it with a guy like Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive.”

  5. hayate said on January 17th, 2011 at 4:04pm #

    Don Hawkins said on January 17th, 2011 at 3:50pm

    “Of all the Wikileaks so far I found this one the most interesting.”

    Why?

  6. hayate said on January 17th, 2011 at 4:46pm #

    jayn0t
    “First of all, hayate, I’m not advocating sympathy. If you read more carefully, you’ll see that I am advocating telling the truth, even about people I despise. Of course they promote war crimes – Palin even advocated murdering Julian Assange. But I’d be careful saying what people deserve, and especially avoid mentioning violence.”

    I didn’t claim you were, just stated I had no sympathy for the freaks. And those freaks do deserve to face war crimes trials for what they have helped facilitate. They are no different than goebbels.

  7. Don Hawkins said on January 17th, 2011 at 5:05pm #

    Why hayate because everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler.

  8. mary said on January 17th, 2011 at 5:10pm #

    The British war criminal Bliar appears again before the Chilcot Inquiry on Friday as will his erstwhile friends and colleagues Jack Straw and Lord Goldsmith, the ex-Attorney General. Goldsmith has dropped him in it by saying that Bliar misled parliament before the vote on the invasion and ignored legal advice. Sadly this will not change anything and he will probably never appear in a dock in The Hague. But here’s hoping.

    Goldsmith: Blair did not reflect legal advice on Iraq war
    Ex-attorney general’s revelation breathes new life into inquiry
    By Michael Savage

    Tuesday, 18 January 2011
    Tony Blair: under renewed pressure (PHOTO)

    Tony Blair was placed under further pressure ahead of his second appearance before the Iraq Inquiry after his most senior legal adviser said last night that the former prime minister’s public statements about the invasion contradicted the legal advice he had been given.

    In a written statement to the Chilcot inquiry, Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, suggested Mr Blair’s statements to Parliament about the legality of the invasion were not compatible with the advice handed to the prime minister. He said Mr Blair’s statements made him “uncomfortable”. He described how he was cut out of discussions over the drafting of the UN resolution used as cover for the invasion of March 2003. He said if he had been consulted, he would have seriously altered the wording of the resolution.

    The revelations will intensify criticisms of Mr Blair, who will give further evidence on Friday. He will be asked about why he made definitive statements disputed by Lord Goldsmith.

    It also suggests Mr Blair may have misled Parliament over the legality of the war. Lord Goldsmith called into question some of the arguments used by Mr Blair during a crucial speech to MPs on 15 January 2003, as he attempted to convince them of the need to deal with Saddam Hussein.

    /…..

    {http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/goldsmith-blair-did-not-reflect-legal-advice-on-iraq-war-2187031.html}

  9. hayate said on January 17th, 2011 at 5:11pm #

    Don Hawkins said on January 17th, 2011 at 5:05pm #

    “Why hayate because everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler.”

    What is “simple as possible but not simpler” about “I believe this guy is going to take us to war,” Bin Zayed told a U.S. delegation in April 2006 of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “It’s a matter of time. Personally I cannot risk it with a guy like Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive.” ?

  10. Don Hawkins said on January 17th, 2011 at 5:55pm #

    Ok on another article today I posed some thinking from arxiv from Cornell those darn scientists and if you read it well my first thought was oh crap and in there thought’s witting was math high math. Do I understand the math no but take it to be the truth it either work’s or it doesn’t. I also know when someone is telling the truth as to lie or stretch the truth is somewhat easy to spot. These so called leaders we see, hear, read make it very easy to spot although at times become much to complex to deceive. Personally I cannot risk it with a guy like Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive.” So after two hundred thousand years we human’s have walked the Earth and say the last ten thousand years known history the same rules apply as in the past at least with human’s. With what is coming certain rules apply and to keep using the old rules of instinct over reason sort of a prison for the mind boring this will not be or if we turn it around reason over instinct boring this will not be. So he is young and aggressive or old and aggressive with little helpers old rules. When Congress comes back from there needed rest will they take on the biggest problem’s, problem life on Earth has ever faced is anybody taking on those problems yes a few and we never see or hear them without much digging old rules. Do the so called leaders we have today make everything as simple as possible but not simpler well it appears they have down the first part very well it’s the but not simpler the last part not a clue as requires a soul and known knowledge not the old rules as strangeness spreads throughout the land.

  11. Deadbeat said on January 17th, 2011 at 7:48pm #

    hayate if you can translate what Don wrote I’d appreciate it.

  12. hayate said on January 17th, 2011 at 9:03pm #

    Deadbeat

    “hayate if you can translate what Don wrote I’d appreciate it.”

    Hmmmm…I was kinda hoping someone would come along and translate it for me. :D I have no idea what he’s on about and I’m beginning to regret I took the time to ask him why.

  13. lizburbank said on January 17th, 2011 at 10:06pm #

    maneuvering the topic of violence into a question of partisan rhetoric is a ‘hate crime’ masking and distracting from the historically unprecedented crimes of the bipartisan imperialist-zionist usraeli agenda.

  14. Don Hawkins said on January 18th, 2011 at 3:41am #

    Darn my above comment thought it was some of my best stuff oh well back to the drawing board. On the politics of hate well it will be toned down nonsense seems somewhat clear and maybe we are about to find out if it is a two headed monster or three granted might have to look between the lines a little the toned down hate or at best very large ego’s. I just want to see who get’s to live in the castle on a ruined planet. Let’s see how long the toned down part last’s as the last time I checked given the old rules doesn’t happen over night although ten feet of water in the nationhood can get the mind thinking in a different way that’s right it’s a 50 or is that a 100 storm.

  15. Don Hawkins said on January 18th, 2011 at 4:21am #

    I heard Glenn Beck talk about personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us a few times and talk’s a good game as with many other’s then it’s buy gold back to the old rules although I think he feel’s we human’s can’t change our thinking. Well just on the off chance our thinking will change alright but this time if we wait to change;

    And now, oh, does the weather jest?
    the wind has shifted to the west.
    The furious storm has finally passed,
    unburdened clouds are clearing fast.
    The stars – oh yes! – the stars appear,
    the wind-washed sky is crystal clear!

    -Doug Zubenel

    A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

    So that being said just here in the States old c-span and the House today let’s see if anyone has obtained liberation from the self and a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. Probably not but I’ll bet that elephant is in the room and the subconscious and or unconscious, repeal and replace that’s the spirit wise one’s and please keep it toned down this is a family show.

  16. Deadbeat said on January 18th, 2011 at 11:46am #

    This is from MarxMail’s Louis Proyect describing Loughner. I happen to agree with his comments. Emphasis are mine …

    Sander:
    >
    > “his madness drove him in that direction,”* implying that only the mad are
    > interested in 9/11 Truth.
    >

    That’s not what I meant at all. Loughner was also drawn to Herman Hesse’s
    “Siddhartha” and “The Communist Manifesto”. My basic point is that there
    is nothing consistent about his ideology and that it is wrong to
    stigmatize him as a rightwinger in the same way we would describe Timothy
    McVeigh.
    All in all, the left has fucked up by making such an error, a
    function undoubtedly of its general ignorance about schizophrenia, an
    illness that affects some 24 million people worldwide. Mostly,
    schizophrenics are invisible to the general population, known only to most
    New Yorkers as the disheveled homeless people talking to themselves on the
    street. I can’t blame Fidel Castro for making an amalgam between Jared
    Loughner and Timothy McVeigh, but for people on Marxmail to blather on
    about this young man in clear innocence of the facts about this disease is
    really quite off-putting.
    I have yet to see a single post that makes a
    distinction between having “nutty” conspiracist ideas and a disease based
    on brain chemistry. Sad, really.

  17. Luis Cayetano said on January 20th, 2011 at 10:23am #

    Hayate said: ‘‘While I’m against vigilante acts, I would not object to these freaks being the victims of it.”

    I think you’re confused over the definition of ”against”. You can’t be against something and NOT object to it. ”I’m against killing people, but I would not object to it.” Confining the killing to a subgroup does not excise such a contradiction.

  18. 3bancan said on January 20th, 2011 at 10:47am #

    Luis Cayetano said on January 20th, 2011 at 10:23am #

    What a tremendous profound linguistic and logic analysis LC’s zionazi(fied) brain has produced here!…

  19. Luis Cayetano said on January 21st, 2011 at 8:23am #

    ”What a tremendous profound linguistic and logic analysis LC’s zionazi(fied) brain has produced here!… ”

    Not tremendous, just obvious and straight forward, something that, if it even needs to be explained, just demonstrates the deep moral corruption of the person who needs it explained to them.

    Sounding slightly deranged while spewing invective isn’t an argument, by the way. Try again. Then you won’t sound like a hate-filled fascist.

  20. mary said on January 22nd, 2011 at 3:23pm #

    What has precipitated Olbermann’s sacking? I see here that he was a donor to Giffords.
    {http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/richard-adams-blog/2011/jan/22/keith-olbermann-msnbc-nbc-terminated}

    It’s been a busy week for goodbyes – Brian Cowen, the Irish PM, Alan Johnson, the UK Shadow Chancellor whose wife and a police protection officer have had an affair, and Andy Coulson, Cameron’s spin doctor and ex News of the World editor. He is heavily involved in the Murdoch phone hacking scandal and probably gave an inaccurate account to the House of Commons committee on his involvement.

  21. Don Hawkins said on January 22nd, 2011 at 3:26pm #

    Mary maybe the easiest way to say it is the corporations are taking over we are now becoming one with the machines.

  22. mary said on January 22nd, 2011 at 4:46pm #

    Yes true.

    On Olbermann I have just read that Comcast have taken over the NBC side of MSNBC.

    {http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/01/22/107262/whats-behind-the-keith-olbermann.html}

  23. beverly said on January 22nd, 2011 at 4:55pm #

    “We know that it isn’t liberals, most of whom fully understand not just the words but the meaning of the First Amendment, who are the ones who try to shout down opposing views.”

    Huh? The Left is chock full of pundits, perpetrators, and just plain haters who suppress opposing views – specifically the views of those on the Left that stray too far from Democratic party propaganda. That’s the reason so-called hate rhetoric of Palin, Beck, and company has taken center stage; the Left’s silence and tacit approval of the waywardness and wantoness of the Democratic party leaves a big vaccum that the right is always willing to fill. Check out the mainstream left-leaning media – from the wretched and thankfully cancelled Air America to MSNBC’s poser Lefties to HuffPo to MoveOn to the Nation and everything in between – how far from the Democratic “company line” do these entities stray? How many times, if any, do we hear or read views from Joshua Frank, Alex Cockburn, Glen Ford, Ted Rall, Chris Floyd, et. al. on these mainstrean media outlets? Where’s Wayne Madsen on these media outlets? Max Keiser? Keiser is the go-to guy to explain the mess that is Wall Street and the US kleptocracy. Democracy Now does good reporting but their pundit list does not include enough voices like those pundits I mentioned.

    These so-called liberals Brasch defends may not shout down opposing views of the right but it’s because they’re too busy protecting the Demoplutocrats by suppressing those on the Left who challenge the bullshit and offer REAL solutions.

    Another commenter wondered what precipated Olbermann’s sacking. Who cares? Good riddance to poser trash. Keith is one of the Lefty haters I describe who bust a blood vessel slamming Republicans while ignoring the blood on the hands of their Democratic abetters. Let’s hope they can Rachel Maddow’s sorry ass too.

  24. Don Hawkins said on January 22nd, 2011 at 5:38pm #

    Beverly great point’s.

  25. Hue Longer said on January 22nd, 2011 at 5:39pm #

    good post, Beverly(I take one exception and that’s allowing Liberals to be defined as “Left”)! Liberals hate leftists as much as mush as right wingers hate Liberals.

  26. hayate said on January 22nd, 2011 at 6:31pm #

    Mary

    “What has precipitated Olbermann’s sacking? I see here that he was a donor to Giffords….On Olbermann I have just read that Comcast have taken over the NBC side of MSNBC.”

    That probably has something to do with it, or maybe he decided to quit the program for other reasons, but is content with that impression. Apparently he wasn’t getting along with some of the “higher-ups”

    Beverly

    “Another commenter wondered what precipated Olbermann’s sacking. Who cares? Good riddance to poser trash. Keith is one of the Lefty haters I describe who bust a blood vessel slamming Republicans while ignoring the blood on the hands of their Democratic abetters. Let’s hope they can Rachel Maddow’s sorry ass too.”

    Agree, obermann is ziofascism/fascism lite of the typical “pseudo-left”, as Deadbeat terms them. Nice rant, BTW.