Palin and the President – Tucson Tragedy Sees Them Continue Past Political Patterns

Posted on January 12, 2011

Both Bill Maher and Hillary Clinton have seen the extreme right in the actions of Jared Loughner in the Tucson killings.  No one is waiting for his diagnosis.

Many looking for the very roots of Loughner’s actions have looked to Sarah Palin and her use of hunting imagery that grows from her Alaskan lifestyle that depends upon  on guns.  They say that her rhetoric has fueled division and caused anger in the nation.

But in an unfortunate choice of timing, Palin chose to answer her critics by posting  a video address to the nation the day the President came to Arizona to partake in a national  memorial service for the victims of the shooting.   In that address she did what she always has: defend her actions and lash out at her detractors – primarily the press.  But what about the pain of the victims of the shootings and their families?  That was not her focus.  Her feelings and the role of the media in trashing her were.  To deliver such an address prior to a memorial service in Tucson, was patently self-serving.  It could end not only a possible run for the White House but her ability to leverage situations in the future.

Later that day, the President spoke at the memorial service about honoring the memory of the victims by engaging in civil discourse and behavior.  Because he followed Palin, his words only served to make her an image of incivility. She had done what she had always done during campaign 2008 – take on the President and lash out at the press and other detractors. In speaking on the same day as he, she was clearly taking him on.

To be fair, Obama was in it to raise his image as well.  He had a golden opportunity to function as the President of a nation in need of comfort and to ramp up the impressive oratory for which he is famed.  But as much as Obama begged us in his address to remain civil and eschew politics, both he and Sarah evoked shades of the past and perhaps set a course for future encounters.

Palin and the President are addressing a floundering nation.  Many are convinced that unless things turn around soon, we will devolve into a nation in an armed civil war.

To their own selfish ends, all sides have sought to raise fears in the public.  Perhaps the most insidious fear is the more liberal view that allowing private gun sales to comply with the right to bear arms will encourage more violence.  This widely voiced view has caused people to absolutely stockpile arms.  It is way too late to pass a law that will curb the right to bear arms.

The insidious fear on the political right is that we will become a Communist nation.  But our men fighting in the Middle East are not fighting for Communism.  It just will not get that far.  How close is another question.

This intense campaign on the part of both parties has only served to cause the fears to become more real where it counts:  in the minds of the people.  Both sides need to cease and desist but they will not – even with the President’s quasi campaign speech encouraging us to be civil. The die is cast.  Palin and the President have been constructing this house divided for the past few years.