Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sarah Palin and blood libel

I listened to Sarah Palin’s response to the Tucson shooting at lunch today and did so again this evening. When I first heard her use the phrase “blood libel” I shuddered. I know the term. It’s an artifact of history that I’ve sited as a low point in Christian history many times before. I scratched my head and wondered what she meant by its use. It’s easy for me to jump to the conclusion that Palin is simply dull and does not know what her words mean. But then - she has speech writers. Her use of blood libel was deliberate. If she is trying to paint her position as similar to an innocent Jew accused of murdering children to use their blood, then she’s way off the mark. She’s not an innocent bystander. She’s a player. Her game is influence. She’s spent the last two years trying to influence others, and so did her Tea Party movement. When the press (and bloggers) starting making links between vitriolic rhetoric, gun site graphics, and political violence, they naturally pointed to the source, Sarah Palin.

Is Sarah Palin to blame for the horrible events that occurred in Tucson last Saturday? Did she guide the actions of Jared Lee Loughner? Did she help point the gun that killed so many innocent people and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords? I say no, Sarah Palin is not directly to blame. She cannot be held directly responsible for the actions of a man who appears to have mental health issues and may well be a complete and total nutball. However, I think Sarah Palin may be indirectly responsible. The term I’m looking for is “partial culpability”. How culpable? I don’t know. Is she 10% culpable or is it 50%. We will find out as the investigation unfolds. I think we may find some level of culpability, even if it is simply vilifying Giffords. Palin promoted the climate of hate the fed Jared Loughner. She pushed the lunatic fringe to action. She called for a revolution, why is she surprised that somebody answered?


Anonymous said...

Blogger Driftglass has dubbed her video as the Pettysburg Address. I second that emotion, squared.

vjack said...

"She called for a revolution, why is she surprised that somebody answered?"

You nailed it. It isn't like violence was much of a stretch from what she has been saying since running for VP.

Anonymous said...

Mega-phone loud incessant vitriol towards fellow citizens, dog whistles coded messages, 2nd Amendment remedies and politicians like Gramm who said Democrats should be hunted with dogs, Limbaugh says theu should be killed but leave 2 on campuses as living fossils, Coulter says they need to be killed so they know they can be killed....the lists go on and on but suddenly "who, me?...lone whack job...not our fault!" when more murders in headline.


There's a man behind bars - given death sentence, later commuted to life sentence in California. He never killed anyone but inspired/instigated others to kill many....a nation celebrates caging his ability to instigate others to kill.

That man is Charles Manson. The Right Wing insists their words screamed into our airwaves are not responsible for the deaths of 90+ people these last 2-years . . but they will insist Charles Manson is responsible for the deaths he instigated with his words.

What a conundrum?

Vol-E said...

If anything is going to permanently hobble Palin's political career, I hope this is it. It would be fitting. For some Jews, the whole blood libel issue is a very raw wound. I had long discussions with an orthodox Jewish neighbor about this, years ago (when I was a Christian). She firmly believed that blood libel was something taught by every Christian denomination in Sunday school -- that every Christian child was required to learn it and therefore to hate Jews. I'd heard of blood libel from a Jewish perspective (being half Jewish) but not from the POV that she was convinced of. Certainly she was obsessive and more than a little delusional, but this was your average middle-class wife and mom in Atlanta. I know mistrust of gentiles runs strong in a great many Jewish communities, (Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, and can only imagine what Palin's careless language has stirred up, even among those who support the Christian right because of their loyalty toward Israel. I wonder if Palin felt so confident employing that phrase because she imagined she had unshakable backing from the Jewish community. Wonder if she's had any second thoughts. Nah -- that would require a level of insight.