“I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.” Really Senator?As Americans search for answers as to why a 22-year old would open fire at a political event, many politicians and pundits have pointed to the increase in violence-tinged rhetoric, mainly from the conservative end of the spectrum.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D) told MPR that the tragedy is an opportunity to scrutinize at the overly violent political rhetoric that has become a large part of the nation’s political climate:
“We’ve gotten so immune to it, and it doesn’t really rank in terms of priority because it’s just so ordinary, so regular,” Ellison said. “But we should never let it become ordinary. We should take these things seriously.”Ellison notes that back in early 2009, his colleague, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., called for Minnesotans to be “armed and dangerous” in response to President Barack Obama’s energy plans.
Ellison said that kind of gun imagery doesn’t belong in the political discourse.
“The political rhetoric has grown increasingly toxic, and making allusions (to) guns and reloading, and armed and dangerous, certainly contributes to a toxic political environment, and does have consequences,” Ellison said.Paul Krugman of the New York Times notes that there is room for debate in American politics, but not for “eliminationist rhetoric”:
The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.
It’s the saturation of our political discourse, especially our airwaves, with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.
Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from those with radical extreme views of the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.
To often the case we see republican colleagues applauding each other for saying toxic things:
Your colleagues pat you on the back and say 'boy that was good, you called him, you called her, such a good name' and that's celebrated," If you really are nasty to somebody and if you had a hidden microphone, you could hear people saying, "it's like, "good job" and "we've got to stop it".
A person who is an expert at rhetoric uses exaggeration as their tool to convince others of their viewpoint. In our blogs we have been accused of using rhetoric simply because our viewpoint was drastically different from that of the accusers. That, in itself, does NOT constitute rhetoric. We call it as we see it. As we have said many times, truth is relative.
We all observe facts differently and arrive at different evaluations and ultimately, different judgments. If we base our evaluations and judgments on FACTS and not OPINIONS, we stand a better chance of offering a convincing argument. We all see the ‘truth” differently and reveal it in our own way.
Using Glenn Beck as an example: NFTOS polled its readers, and they were asked why they listened too, or why they watch Glenn Beck. The reply:
“We watch and listen because we don’t know what he is going to say next.”This came from both people who liked him and hated him. This type of appeal is based on sensationalism. Ordinary people seeking extraordinary events by vicarious participation. This is exactly the goal of republican right wing toxic rhetoric.