Blue: Hyperbole is the greatest thing ever

Brandon Blue

I hadn’t followed the news very well Jan. 8. When I finally read about the Tucson shooting in the Des Moines Register the following day, I sensed that the credence lent to then-fringe claims of conservative rhetoric causing death would snowball into a media congratulating itself on catching the real culprit.

Rarely correct on anything — particularly points made in my opinion articles — I was surprised to see the media carnival unfold as I’d predicted into a flappy-headed shouting match across networks reminiscent of “South Park’s” version of Canadians.

Honestly, my ears retract into my head when I hear someone attempt to draw a link between Sarah Palin’s so-called hateful rhetoric and the tragedy in Tucson. Anything to drag her into it, eh guys?

Naturally, the media, so quick to indict Palin as a Manson-esque mastermind, ignores near-constant infractions of their manic condemnations from anyone to the left of the former governor and her ilk.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an email recently, reading in part, “The GOP budget is a dagger in the heart of American families,” and “[B]loody Republican primaries offer opportunities to turn red Senate seats blue.”

Michael Capuano, D-Massachusetts, said during the budget fight in Wisconsin, “Every once in a while you’ve got to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”

And, most recently, President Obama invoked firearm imagery when discussing oil prices, claiming that “there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.”

And I, for one, support liberals who talk like this. Hyperbole, and in particular violent imagery short of calling for actual violence, is a hallmark of political speech since the Enlightenment.

My friend Andrew and I constantly jibe one another over our respective viewpoints. He ascribes to a more liberal philosophy while I fall generally to the right.

However, there is some overlap. I fully support same-sex marriage; Andrew supports across-the-board spending cuts, including those from Planned Parenthood and PBS.

When we discuss the issues, even as voters, hyperbole is just part of our repertoire. So to see the media’s panties get tied in a knot around their other pair of already-knotted panties — that knot is due to the fact that some people still don’t accept anthropogenic global warming — made my head spin.

Why do they insist on cutting out the heart — there’s that rhetoric — and soul of American political discourse? What is political speech without hyperbole? It’s a couple of namby-pamby losers trading points and respecting each other’s viewpoints without getting a damn thing done.

I’d go so far as to ask of what use political discourse is without violent imagery, without thoughts of bullets and blood and other rich metaphors that instinctively motivate people. “La Marseillaise” is still France’s national anthem for good reason.

Constituents aren’t so stupid as to think, if you said “bullet” one time, that it’s alright if you shoot up a mall. If someone does shoot up the mall and says it was because a congressman or pundit made some hyperbolic statement, they clearly have other problems.

Love her or hate her, I can’t recall a time when Palin told conservatives to gather en masse and open fire on people of different political persuasions. That’s right, she never did. Until political figures openly, or even indirectly, call for violence, we do ourselves a disservice to ignore the richness and intensity such imagery offers our speech.

I support fully the rights of, and look forward to politicians using, violent imagery and gun metaphors in the elections and legislative sessions to come.

Otherwise, C-SPAN would be unwatchable.