On the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Giffords

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Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic nominee and gen...

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I haven’t written anything political on this blog for a very long time but today I’m very upset. Yesterday the Democratic Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head at close range, along with several other people, six of them killed. One of them being a 9 year old child.

Am I jumping the gun by saying this was an assassination attempt? Maybe I am. I’m sure people could accuse me of that since “the facts aren’t in yet.” But there are facts that are in. And some of those facts are that the person who committed this terrible act posted anti-government ramblings on a website (according to the New York Times).

Just a little observation here: I do wonder why the media isn’t immediately calling this an assassination attempt. If this were a male congressman would it be different?

These events have shed some light on something that has been in the shadows of our culture for a few years now. This culture of hate that has been lingering underneath the surface. It was brought to light yesterday in the form of an image that appeared on Sarah Palin‘s website earlier this year. It is the image of the United States of America with cross-hairs over those districts that Palin wants to “take back.” This image was accompanied by tweets that used violent rhetoric to make her point. Example:

It is interesting to note that Congresswoman Giffords, herself, commented on Palin’s crosshair graphic in an interview, and was concerned with what it implied.

“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” Ms. Giffords said last March. “But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that.”

Palin was caught in the beam of the light-shedding yesterday, and was the focus of it. But it’s not just Palin. It’s our media culture. It’s bigger than just Palin, though Palin should be held responsible for her actions. It is this idea that it is o.k. to incite the pubic in this way. It is this idea that it is o.k. to use violent rhetoric to make a point. Sure, most people can read Palin’s tweets and not go out and commit murder. But, obviously, there are people who take this language to heart and will go out and literally point the crosshairs at the target, aim, and fire. This is not acceptable. A fucking 9 year old child was killed yesterday.

So what is the answer? I don’t know. I’m angry and I’m not sure how to direct this anger. Obviously, spewing more hate is not the answer. You can’t get rid of hate with more hate. But the good thing about anger is that it does spur action. The question is, what action needs to be taken? How can we move away from this culture of hate that seems to be getting worse?

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Here’s something to be proud of: According to Forbes.com, Spokane is the Scam Capital of America! Yay! Welcome to Spokane! If you ain’t stealing you’ve been robbed!

An interview with the person behind the ALAsecrets twitter account.

Walter Cronkite and Frank McCourt died this week. I really liked them both. I am especially sad about Frank McCourt. I really loved Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis.

This re-working of Sarah Palin’s resignation speech by the Vanity Fair editors is great!

Un-freaking-believable.

Oh look! A book burning! ugh.

A word about Palin

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The GOP ticket, John McCain and running mate S...

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This is soooo last week but I’ve got to say it. WTF was McCain thinking with his V.P. Pick? I don’t understand it at all. I really don’t. I keep thinking that it has to be a joke, but it clearly isn’t.

Aside from the complete bizarre-ness of it, it is wrong and insulting on so many levels. Like I said, I don’t know why he did it (I don’t watch television and haven’t been keeping up with the talking heads) but if he did it to sweep in the Hilary supporters he’s very mistaken. Choosing Palin shows that he is absolutely clueless on women’s issues. People support Hilary because she has the experience and the intelligence to be president, not for the sole reason that she is a woman. As a woman and a feminist I am really insulted by this! Does he think that women are so stupid that we would blindly vote for someone just because she is a woman? Does he think that we don’t look at whether or not that woman is right for the job? Hillary would have been right for the job. Palin is not.

I read this post over at 10,000 Monkeys and it pretty much sums up my feelings on this matter very eloquently (and thanks to Dianne for pointing me to this blog!).

There are many other reasons to just be completely boggled over this choice. But I will give you one that is relevant to me as a librarian. Here is an excerpt from the article, “Mayor Palin: A Rough Record” in Time Magazine:

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving “full support” to the mayor.

This New York Times article says that Palin actually did fire the librarian:

The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support.

This is very disconcerting. Censorship should not be tolerated in this country and for McCain to pick somebody who has actively pursued it is very alarming.