Blue: The rhetoric that remains


Photo illustration: Logan Gaedke/Iowa State Daily

Columnist Blue writes that the crazed rhetoric coming from American politicians gouges a “trench between us … in pursuit of ratings.”

Brandon Blue

Friday marked the passing of four months since Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot. “Tone down the rhetoric,” the left told the right, kicking them surreptitiously under the table. Sycophantic as Eddie Haskell, they waged a brief war on unspecified instances of “heated rhetoric” coming from the right.

Time for another update as to how that all played out.

Starting with our own Vice President, the Daily Caller reported March 20 that Joe Biden found reason to draw hazy blame-the-victim juxtapositions between rape victims and Republican plans to cut taxes and reduce spending.

“Biden compared Republicans’ economic policies to insensitivity toward rape victims. ‘When a woman got raped, blame her because she was wearing a skirt too short,’ Biden said, drawing a parallel.”

What kind of reasonable person hears that Republicans want to cut taxes and lower spending and immediately thinks “Yep. That’s just like women being raped right there”?

On that point, Chris Matthews’ leg stopped tingling long enough Monday for him to link Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann and Donald Trump first to Terry Jones and then to the insane mob who killed UN personnel Friday over his Quran burning.

Said Matthews: “But they keep spreading this rumor on the right, people like Newt Gingrich and the rest of them. They are building the case for this Billy Bob character to burn Qurans. And then he‘s giving a case to Karzai to save his butt over there. This is a dynamic, dangerous kind of thing that does lead to wars. This is what happens in wars. Rumors lead to rumors lead to rumors and then only in the end, ‘I only responded to what I heard. It’s not my fault.’ That’s what you hear”

That’s Michelle Bachmann and the Tea Party for you, according to Chris Matthews: “building the case” for Jones to burn Qurans and for Afghani mobs to kill people over it.

Even worse, what kind of reasonable person thinks, when lawmakers pass laws with which he or she disagrees, “Man, I should not only kill my senators, I should email them to let them know I’ll do it.”

Such was the case last Thursday with Katherine Windels of Dane County, Wisconsin, charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors in relation to her messages. As the Milawaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

“‘I hope you have a good time in hell,’ she allegedly wrote in the lengthy email in which she purportedly listed scenarios in which the legislators and their families would die, including bombings and by ‘putting a nice little bullet in your head.'”

Less disturbing, but more immediately disgusting, is the bloody pig’s foot and rambling anti-Semitic note sent to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Monday in response to hearings he held on March 10 to address concerns of Muslim radicalization in America. Politico quotes an unnamed congressional source in describing the note: “I guess you have to interpret it as a threat. It’s certainly not a sign of affection.”

To paraphrase Einstein, hydrogen and stupidity are infinite, the latter moreso.

A staggering amount of stupidity is needed for one to believe that Sarah Palin was in any way guilty of Giffords’ tragic shooting; as is needed to believe that Terry Jones was in any way guilty of murdering UN personnel in Afghanistan last week; as is needed to believe that the IRS was in any way guilt of causing Joe Stack to fly his plane into the Echelon Building.

Much as it’s easy to believe the narrative that heated rhetoric is the cause of discord and that toning it down will save us from crazy people, the truth is much harder to swallow.

Crazy people will always be crazy.

The trench gouged between us by partisan politics is far too deep a rift for any kind of for-profit media empire to cease its exploitation in the pursuit of ratings. That they have the audacity to tell any of us that we’re the cause of such horrific acts of violence as Giffords’ shooting…

I told my roommate yesterday, “You’re as racist as the Tea Party. By which I mean not at all.” The Tea Party of course is no more racist than the Democratic Party.

But to be so blinded by talking points and ideology to assume a group with whom you do not agree is intrinsically guilty of racism, that such-and-such is fundamentally racist is beyond idiocy, even beyond ignorance.

This new trail of worthless and uninformed thought that one blazes with such opinions is so profound a swath as to rend brother from brother.

And for what? A damn vote.