Home > Reality Check > Sarah Palin Breaks Her Silence About The Tucson Shootings

Sarah Palin Breaks Her Silence About The Tucson Shootings

I hate to jump on the bandwagon of lets give Sarah Palin more ink, but I couldn’t help but react to her finally breaking silence about the recent shootings in a mall outside of Tucson, Arizona. The violent tragedy led to the deaths of 6 people and 14 others wounded including Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition after being shot in the head. It was a “kinder, gentler” Palin who appeared in front of a fireplace with the American flag beside it during a video statement. The video, “America’s Enduring Strength,” can be found at Vimeo.

I even noticed that on the Tea Party Patriots’ web site there was a call to pray for Congresswoman Giffords and the shooting victims and their families as well as for the safety of Congressmen, Senators, President Obama and other elected officials in the aftermath of this shooting.

During her video statement, Palin took offense with her critics for saying it was the rhetoric of the GOP, the Tea Party and Palin herself that contributed to an atmosphere of violence that may have pushed 22-year-old gunman, Jarred Lee Loughner, into shooting Rep. Giffords. Palin accused journalists and pundits of manufacturing a “blood libel” that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. “That is reprehensible,” she said. Right away some groups including the Anti-Defamation League took issue with the “blood libel” term because of its historical reference to the false accusation that Jews murdered Christian children for their blood, which was used to justify the persecution of Jews.

Last March, Rep. Giffords’ district was included in Palin’s map of Democratic elected officials targeted for defeat and marked by a rifle’s crosshairs (the map was removed from Palin’s website after the shootings). The Arizona congresswoman had received threats as a result of her support of healthcare reform and for her not supporting the immigration law passed last summer.

During this time of violence and political crisis, everyone from elected officials to pundits from both the right and left have all pointed fingers and spun their side of the story. Is heated political rhetoric to blame for what Loughner did? His actions may not have a clear political motive but it was an assassination attempt on a representative of the Unites States Congress. That makes it political.

Now there is a national call for civility. Our political leaders will play nice in the Congressional sandbox. Well, at least for the next few months. There will be less name calling, less bullying, less posturing, less tattle telling, and less finger pointing.

In her video statement Palin also claims that “we will come out of this stronger and more united in our desire to peacefully engage in the great debates of our time; to respectfully embrace our differences in a positive manner; and to unite in the knowledge that though our ideas may be different we must all strive for a better future for our country.”

President Barack Obama reiterated this sentiment during his tribute to the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shootings. He urged Americans to change the nation’s vitriolic public dialogue by “talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” He went on to express his hope that the deaths will usher in more civility and honesty in our public discourse to help us face up to the challenges of our nation.

In an ideal world all discourse would civil and all disagreements cordial. That’s the way Palin sees it. It is her belief that America’s Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. “If men and women were angels there would be no need for government. Our founders’ genius was to design a system that helps settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways.”

Since the election of President Obama, there has been more talk about The Constitution of the United States and the Founding Fathers then I can ever recall hearing throughout my K-12 years attending elementary and high school. Just a week ago Congress read out loud The U.S. Constitution, which they refer to as our sacred charter of liberty. It was a censored version—the part about the slavery thing was left out.

Palin asserts that Americans settle their differences at the ballot box and that political debate had always been heated historically. She does have a point. After all, the nation’s Founding Fathers heatedly debated slavery. Many resisted emancipation not out of pure hatred but because they did not want to relinquish the wealth slave sales poured into their coffers. Some founders from the southern states were stark proponents of slavery like Abraham Baldwin, Pierce Butler, and Charles and Cotesworth Pinckney. Others did not favor the institution of slavery although they owned slaves, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and George Washington. Still other founders actively opposed slavery like John Jay, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, and Benjamin Rush, who were in fact members of societies for ending slavery.

Historians note that southern states would have not signed the U.S. Constitution without protections for the institution of slavery, which included the clause that counted a slave as three-fifths of a man for purpose of congressional representation. Although many of the signers of the Constitution acknowledged during those early Continental Congress that slavery violated the core of the American Revolutionary ideas of liberty, their commitment to private property rights, principles of limited government, and intersectional harmony prevented them from making a bold move against slavery.

The ill wind over slavery and sovereignty did not blow over. The Civil War was fought because of economic and social differences between the North and the South, state rights versus federal government control, tensions over whether new states admitted to the union would be slave or free, southern states opposition to tariffs (or taxes) that they felt was unfair; and southern hostility that had arose from the election of President Abraham Lincoln. The Confederacy wanted to protect state sovereignty and the right to nullify federal laws. The South was fighting for the right to secede and to form a nation that protected individual rights (which included their right to own slaves). The major goal of the Union was not to end slavery; the North was fighting primarily to preserve the union.

The GOP/Tea Party opposition to everything Obama and the federal government along with their win in November’s election has invigorated a new Confederacy in America.

The hot button item on their Congressional agenda is the repeal of Healthcare Reform (the Obamacare baby killing law as many conservatives call it). I was somehow mistaken into thinking that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 were a comprised version between Republicans and Democrats. Will such healthcare reform repeal be a victory for all Americans or will it be another mark in American’s history of a select group doing what is in their best economic and political interests.

During this perceived peaceful cease fire of no hateful words and imagery by all political parties, I only can wonder what concessions will be made to appease certain groups in order to maintain intersectional harmony and preserve our more perfect union. Why do I still have a nagging feeling that it is “We the People” who will suffer? Maybe I am a cynic and that the outcome will be long-lasting civility. Or maybe the tragedy in Tucson is simply writing on the wall that inevitably “There Will Be Blood.”

~Carolyn M. Brown

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Categories: Reality Check
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