As I write (early this evening), Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her life after being shot in the head during a constituency event outside a grocery store in Tucson.
For most everyone, regardless of their politics — Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, Right and Left — this is a sad, horrific and tragic event. And in fact, if you look at most Twitter and blog feeds, you’ll see a widespread outpouring of prayerful mourning and concern.
One notable pundit, however, has had a different reaction. The reprehensible Matthew Yglesias of the Center for American Progress has rushed forward to try and politicize this event in a despicable attempt to score cheap political points for the far Left.
Disgustingly, Yglesias blames Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann for creating a political climate in which “violent rhetoric and imagery” apparently incite people to murder.
“A reminder that gun imagery and electoral politics don’t mix that well,” Yglesias opined on Twitter, while referencing a flier published by Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC. In the flier, Palin “targeted,” with crosshairs, 20 House Democrats for defeat.
These Democrats, the flier noted, voted for Obamacare and yet represented districts that had voted for the GOP presidential ticket in 2008.
Yglesias also referenced a Huffington Post article in which Rep. Bachmann reportedly said, “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous” to block global warming legislation.
That sounds ominous, doesn’t it? There’s only one problem: Bachmann clearly was using “armed and dangerous” in a metaphorical and political, not literal and violent, sense. In fact, she quite clearly meant “armed and dangerous” with information, not bullets.
See for yourself. Here’s the full transcript of Bachmann’s remarks.
Really now in Washington, I’m a foreign correspondent behind enemy lines. And I try to let everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington.
But you can get all the latest information on this event. This is a must-go-to event with [the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s] Chris Horner. People will learn. It will be fascinating.
We met with Chris Horner last week, 20 members of Congress. It takes a lot to wow members of Congress after a while. This wows them.
And I am going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax: because we need to fight back.
Thomas Jefferson told us, “Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing.” And we the people are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.
And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of changing freedom forever in the United States. And that’s why I want everyone to come out and hear [Chris Horner]. So go to Bachmann.house.gov and you can get all [of] the information.
Reid Wilson, the editor of Hotline, then reported, via Twitter, that Bachmann said, “My tears are flowing, and I am stunned and angered that Gabby Giffords was savagely gunned down.”
To which Yglesias responded: “If Bachmann is “stunned and angered” by [this] shooting, why did she call for “armed and dangerous” resistance to Waxman-Markey?”
My, my. Talk about intellectual dishonesty. Have you no sense of decency, Sir? At long last, have you no sense of decency?
Of course he doesn’t. Yglesias is a tool of the rabid Left. He sees people only in political, and not human, terms.
As the Washington Examiner’s David Freddoso insightfully pointed out last spring when the Left again was trying to score cheap political points off of Palin’s “targeting” of House Democrats:
Our political lexicon consists almost entirely of references to war.
We talk about “battleground states” and “attacks,” “trenches,” “blitzes,” “war rooms,” “showdowns,” “target-rich environments” and “firestorms.” Even the word “campaign” is a term of warfare.
We watch political television shows with names like “Crossfire,” “Frontline,” “Hardfire,” and “The Firing Line.”
“The Situation Room” mildly implies warfare, whereas more direct references come in politics with candidates who “blast” one another, commit “political suicide,” and engage in the sort of “murder-suicide attacks” that make Kerry’s 2004 nomination possible.
Every stump speech threatens violence in some subtle way, as when President Obama promised to “fight” 19 times in one speech, and as his remark from the 2008 campaign should suggest: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
That’s not a big deal for me. Nor was Obama’s incitement to followers to confront their McCain-supporting neighbors — “I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”
But congressional Democrats, as they cast standard political rhetoric as if it were violent in order to raise money, are not just practicing hypocrisy.
They are also counting on you not to understand the difference between the rightful anger that accompanies political dissent, and the nut jobs who actually threaten their congressmen or commit violence against public officials.
Their attempt to conflate the two, and to connect the two, is really an attack on the idea of political dissent and the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Freddoso’s superb essay ought to be required reading for every left-wing pundit, such as Yglesias, who is now aiming to score cheap political points off of the attempted murder of Rep. Giffords. Don’t go there. It’s wrong. It’s both substantively and morally wrong.
The truth is that people commit murder because of their own internal demons. And our tough-minded political rhetoric, which embodies the language and imagery of war, has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
God Bless Gabrielle Giffords and her family; and God Bless all of the victims of today’s senseless murder spree. We don’t care about your politics. We care only about your lives and your souls. We are with you as a nation mourning and in prayer.
And oh yeah: Fight the bastard or bastards who did this and bring them to justice. And if using such “violent political imagery” angers Yglesias and the far Left, then so be it. There’s a time for righteous anger and even righteous violence. And bringing a murderer to justice is precisely one such time.
John R. Guardiano is a writer and analyst in Arlington, Virginia. He writes and blogs for a variety of publications, including FrumForum, the American Spectator and The Daily Caller. Follow him at his personal blog, ResoluteCon.com, and on Twitter @JohnRGuardiano.