Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred.-FDR

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Keith is Wrong

This is what Keith Olbermann said after the Jared Loughner shootings:

“We need to put the guns down. Just as importantly we need to put the gun metaphors away and permanently. Left, right, middle — politicians and citizens — sane and insane. … If Sarah Palin, whose website … scrubbed bulls-eye targets on 20 representatives, including Gabby Giffords, does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics, she must be dismissed from politics. She must be repudiated by the members of her own party, and if they fail to do so, each one of them must be judged to have silently defended this tactic … And if those of us considered to be ‘on the left’ do not re-dedicate ourselves to our vigilance to eliminate all our own suggestions of violence — however inadvertent they might have been — then we, too, deserve the repudiation of the more sober and peaceful of our politicians and our viewers and our networks. … I say it first, and freely: Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our Democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or any thing in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence.”

I rarely disagree with Keith, but he’s wrong to say this. I feel he’s being too defensive about his own rhetoric, he needs to stay on the offense. I mean he’s right to go after Palin and conservatives, but he shouldn’t blame fellow liberals too. This isn't a two-sided thing Keith, you aren't Jon Stewart. His enemies on the right will surely use this to comb through every word he says now and forever and call him a hypocrite if he even says something like “shooting the messenger.” The right will use this as an attempt to censor Olbermann.

He's also wrong when he says "Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our Democracy." Yes it does. To name a few examples, police when they aren't being abusive and doing their jobs use violence and the threat of violence to maintain the peace. Violence was also used to tackle the shooter by the heroes who prevented more shots from being fired. Of course speaking as a peaceful (not to be confused with pacifism) person who has opposed a lot of US wars, violence is necessary to stop people like Hitler in World War 2. Even peaceful movements like civil rights and union movements as columnist Ted Rall has pointed out have contained some violent aspects that have made them work. There is different kinds of violence, good and bad. But you don't equate a bully punching you in the face with punching a bully back.

But to fix Keith's rant, there's a certain kind of violence that doesn't belong in the United States or elsewhere and that is conservative violence or the threat of conservative violence. We need to remember that.

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