Slate made an interesting analogy. He talked about the final scene in the movie Gladiator when the emperor breaks his sword and desperately asks someone to give him theirs – and no one will. It's that P.T. Barnum moment when you can no longer fool most people. Sure there will be a few who, out of misguided loyalty or intransigent stubbornness, will continue to be fooled – Pat Buchanan said he thought Palin “hit all the right notes” – but the rest of the crowd starts backing away.
For months, in fact years, I've been blogging about the destructive tone of hate that is ubiquitous these days. It is true we do not know what prompted Jared Loughner to go on a shooting rampage. He was a mentally ill man with a rapid-fire gun and lots of bullets. That all by itself is enough – he was crazy and dangerous. But you cannot remove any act from the context in which it occurred. Even crazy people have some awareness of the world around them. Maybe Loughner never even heard of Sarah Palin but he lived in a society where violent metaphor was an everyday part of the 24 news cycle with which we are all bombarded. And there are facts that cannot be denied:
- Sarah Palin posted a map on web site in which cross-hairs marked the home districts of the people she wanted to “target”. One of the “targeted” politicians was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona (above).
- In March Gabrielle Giffords gave an interview in which she said she was targeted in Palin's map and she was disturbed by the irresponsible imagery put forth in that map (below).
- On Saturday Rep. Giffords was shot in the head by a crazy man with a gun.
It is true that #1 did not necessarily lead to #3 but Palin's defensive, bitter speech which was loaded with patriotic buzz words and talking points, sounded more like the whiny protests of an adolescent trying to get out of taking responsibility than the compassion and inspiration of a leader – or someone who wants to be a leader.
As for her use of the term “blood libel” much has been written about that, none of it good. Palin's Number One Fan, by his own admission in his fawning interview of her, is Glenn Beck. Beck is best known for his ranting and raving about absolutely anything President Obama does and his constant, incessant use of Nazi/Hitler metaphors and images. These to the point that lead comedian Lewis Black to declare that Glenn Back has “Nazi Tourettes” in one of the funniest bits of comedy I have ever seen. So is it any wonder that Palin chose the “blood libel” metaphor to describe her abuse at the hands of the big, mean Nazi Wannabes that Beck has been warning everybody about? Beck has been warning us for two years now that the brown-shirts are coming. Doesn't it just follow that they are armed with a blood libel against his darling? The whole dynamic is revolting.
Will Sarah make a comeback after this disturbing incident? Well, she'll try. She is going on Sean Hannity's show in a few days. A safe choice for Internet Lady who has amply demonstrated she can't handle any media she isn't in control of. Will people continue to support her? Of course there will be a few who will because she's attractive and they like her and she uses all the empty, flag-waving buzz words she can pack into every sentence. But for those not deluded by such superficialities the silence has begun.
Thanks for reading.