Submission by “Sarah4Prez”:
This morning, on the front page of my paper, The Albuquerque Journal, there it was – the much-anticipated blame Sarah, blame the Tea Party, blame political rhetoric article by a local liberal columnist, Leslie Linthicum. I can’t find a link to this opinion piece (which was printed on the front page as if it were news), but in part, what she said was this:
“On Wednesday, Sarah Palin weighed in with a defense of her repeated injection of gun metaphors into American political debate…and then she ramped up the incitement (incitement?) a notch by accusing those who question her rhetoric of ‘Blood Libel.’”
I was incensed enough to call Linthicum and leave a very passionate voice mail. I also followed up with what I hope is a well-reasoned, if not passionate email to her, which I would like to share with my fellow C4Pers:
Leslie, this is a follow up to what I know was a rather emotional voice mail I left you. I’m sorry if I sounded upset, but the truth is, I am. Not just at you, but at the liberal media in general. You and I have actually met, although it was several years ago. I think it was 1996, you had written a Front Page article about the Walker family in Arizona who were living in the shell of an old school bus. They slept on dirt floors and used an old crate for a table. They had a 3 year old son, Rolidon, who had never slept in a real bed (until the family traveled to Albuquerque to pick out their trailer and they slept overnight at my home). Do you remember a man who, after reading your article, started a state-wide fund raiser, with the help of the Salvation Army to buy that family a trailer to live in? That man was me. This morning I’m writing to voice my very strong disappointment with your article seeking to continue the game of limiting free speech, or otherwise putting blame where blame does not belong!
Ever since this terrible tragedy, people are being accused of “hate speech” that is not deserved and political rhetoric and political passions are being blamed where no blame rests. You should really be ashamed of yourself for continuing this nonsense. It is a tactic some use that was promoted by a very bad man named Saul Alinsky in his book “Rules for Radicals” to shut up political opponents! Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, and just about any conservative with a microphone, as well as my wife and I as Tea Party members have been smeared through the mud and implicated in this terrible shooting and I’m sick of it!
Conservatives who are passionate about their country are constantly accused of “hate speech” by liberals simply for having and expressing strong opinions about things that matter, like our country. We as Americans have always been passionate about our politics – it’s our history; it is who we are! Passionate debate is what made this country as great as it is – that’s a fact! Other countries don’t have the freedoms we often take for granted (and I’ve been in many of them)! But what has to stop in my opinion, Leslie, is people demonizing their political foes, or demonizing speech they don’t like, in an effort to shut them up! No one side has a lock on it, but I will tell you that the left is far more adept at using this despicable tactic than anyone else. Having to listen to every liberal talking head all weekend long try to blame Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh, or by association with the Tea Party, myself and my wife has been very disturbing and frankly I find it deplorable!
Many people (mainly on the left) are suggesting that certain speech should not be allowed, or in some cases even be illegal (as one Democrat Congressman has proposed). In fact, I just heard on the news that the Governor of Rhode Island has banned any public employee from interviewing on Talk Radio – wow, way to be open and transparent, eh? That kind of nonsense and calling for speech to be banned that some people find offensive is having a chilling and corrosive effect of our country!
You say “there is yet no evidence…” as if you are expecting there will be! And yes, I know you also mentioned Obama’s use of terms like “they bring a knife and we bring a gun,” so you could claim to be fair, but it was clear that your real target (if I am still allowed to use that metaphor) was Sarah Palin and those who opposed the Health Care bill that was crammed down our throats without a single Congressman having read it!! Well, to listen to friends who knew him, none of that had anything to do with what that young man did or why he did it – and for you to continue this asinine meme is despicable!
For your information, Ms Linthicum, military lingo and gun-related lingo has been a part of our election lexicon for as long as there have been elections. Sarah Palin is a hunter – she grew up with guns and views guns, as I do, as just another tool – in her case a tool for obtaining food. Her use of a gun-related metaphor was not intended to be a literal call to arms and any reasonable person knows that. You then accuse her of “ramping up the incitement a notch by accusing those who question her rhetoric of blood libel.”
For your information, a very prominent (and very liberal) Jewish attorney named Alan Dershowitz, and several other prominent Jews have defended her use of the term, as it aptly applies to the unconscionable smear of a good, Christian woman by the radicals in the left-wing media. The media started this crap within 5 minutes of this tragic shooting! Well heck Leslie, how would you feel if people in the media started blaming you for your use of the term “crazy” and suggesting that the young man might have just gotten tired of people using such hurtful terms? How would you feel if, for your words, you were relentlessly raked through the coals and blamed for this terrible tragedy?
The left in this country has been beating up on Sarah Palin since the moment she stepped onto the national stage – and you know I’m right! Now, they think they have a narrative that they can really smear her with and they waste no time in doing just that. But then you are all twisted up in knots because she dared to defend herself against these horrible and unfair smears! Good grief lady – put yourself in her shoes – how would you like to be blamed for inciting something because of YOUR WORDS, which were not intended to cause any harm? Really, think about it – how would you feel? And oh, but the way, it appears that due to this relentless blaming of Sarah Palin, she is getting an unprecedented number of death threats:
Now, if something God forbid were to happen to her, can we hold you to account for continuing this completely baseless blame game? Tell, me – will you take responsibility?
Unless you have hard evidence to the contrary, you’re right – taking those metaphors seriously is silly. Unless someone actually calls for people to go and kill someone, there is nothing wrong with their use. Some people, such as your self, may not like the fact that guns are a part of our culture and our history and guns and military metaphors have been used for as long as there have been political debates as a result!
Because I have a relative with a serious mental illness, I am a volunteer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Teach a 12-week course to families with loved one’s suffering mental illness. In your article you used the term “you’d have to be crazy.” How would you feel if I suggested you should not use terms like “crazy” because it belittles and demeans people with mental illness (and by the way, it does). I know you did not mean to use a term that is hurtful to the mentally ill, but you used it as a metaphor to make a point. That is exactly what Sarah Palin did and Barak Obama, and a thousand other people throughout history – used metaphors!
The real problem here is that we have a mental health system that would allow a young man who is so obviously mentally ill to fall though the cracks! We already have laws that would have prevented him from legally obtaining a gun, if only some of the obvious warning signs had been acted upon by law enforcement or by people in his college who knew something was seriously wrong with him. The problem is not the political rhetoric, or the use of time-honored metaphors that have always been used by both sides, or talk radio, or Sarah Palin, or a lack of gun laws! The problem is a mental health system that is broken in the country. As a NAMI instructor, I actually know of what I speak. Now, my request to you is – in the future, don’t dream up blame for terrible actions by an individual because of your own fears and biases – please just stop it!