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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blood Libel: What Sarah Palin SHOULD Have Said

[j]ournalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible - Sarah Palin, responding to criticism leveled at her following the Gabby Giffords assassination attempt

The sound you hear is, of course, me banging my head on the table.

Blood Libel.

Of all the actions Sarah Palin could have taken, she chose to play the victim card.

Of all the things Sarah Palin could have said, of all the words in the English language, she chose the phrase “Blood Libel.” 

Jesus Hopalong Christ, you’ve got to be kidding me.

Blood Libel, for those one or two of you who don’t yet know, is just about the single most vile label Palin could have used.  Blood Libel refers to the persecution of Jews specifically by Christians. Not by crazy people. Not by Nazis. Not by pagans. Not by Muslims. Not by Kings or nations or terrorists.  No. Blood libel refers specifically to a heinous and evil story perpetrated by Christians and used to justify the torture and killing of Jews. No more. No less. It does not mean anything else and non-Jews don’t get to co-opt it for their own use. Blood libel specifically refers to a common Christian belief that began in the Middle Ages when the Catholic church began to spread a rumor that Jews tortured and killed Christian babies by recreating the Crucifixion, then drained the murdered child’s blood and used it to make their unleavened bread – which they then supposedly ate during Passover. As a result of this pervasive blood libel myth Jews were commonly harassed, persecuted, made outlaw, driven from their homes and villages, falsely accused of every single crime imaginable and few that weren’t (including, you know, child molestation and rape that was actually conducted by Church priests, but I digress), imprisoned, tortured, and brutally murdered all at the hands of Christians. The belief in blood libel and the resulting pogroms and purges went on for centuries – and, in fact, still continue to this very day in dark places around the world.  There is very good reason to believe that certain Christian churches and Christian leaders (churches and Christians that I shall leave unnamed) either turned a blind eye to, or even actively assisted, the Holocaust due to blood libel and a belief that Europe, indeed the world, would be better off without Jews.  And don’t get all smug thinking that it doesn’t happen in America, because it does. Today, right now, Holocaust Deniers use blood libel to justify their foul and noxious beliefs, spreading rumor and false accusations against Jews via modern communications technology. Do a Google search, use the terms “Elders of Zion” for starters and expand your search from there and see if I’m engaging in hyperbole – it didn’t take me ten search iterations to find blood libel screeds propagated right here in the United States by good God fearin’ morally superior Christians. Go ahead, see what you get.

For any Christian to assume this term for themselves, let alone a fundamentalist such as Palin in the context of her own victimhood, is disgusting enough.  For her to use it in this specific context – i.e. the attempted assassination of a Jewish Congresswomen, and murder of her Jewish intern – goes so far beyond the pale that it powers straight into the obscene on full afterburner.  Remember, this is a woman who spent two weeks and thousands of words telling the world how utterly “devastated” she was by the use of the word retard; her deliberate and hypocritical use of an anti-Semitic epitaph, especially this one in particular so laden with a very particular form of ethnic bigotry, followed by brushing off criticism for using the word - saying in effect, hey, it’s not my fault if you take it the wrong – is exactly, exactly, what sparked criticism of her in the wake of the Giffords shooting. 

Yes, the sound you hear is me continuing to bang my head on the desk.

The woman is either the meanest bitch ever to walk the earth, or dense as a block of solid neutronium.  My vote is on the later.

Given Palin’s track record I really want to ascribe her anti-Semitism to simple ignorance and her continued self-inflicted victimization (the woman is the political version of a cutter) but I can’t.  I just can’t.  I simply cannot believe that in this very specific context, given the cast of characters involved and the horrifying events that have occurred, that Sarah Palin did not use those very specific words and that very specific label without malice aforethought. No, given that both she and Glenn Beck attempted to co-opt the black Civil Rights movement for themselves, I have to believe that this is just one more example of her overpowering lust for attention and one more facet of her maggot ridden character.

This event, more than any other word she has spoken, should clarify in every American’s mind just how utterly unfit Sarah Palin is to occupy elected office. Any elected office. 

Here’s what a real leader and someone of character would have said:

First, allow me to offer my heartfelt condolences for the victims of this terrible tragedy.  I know that some of you don’t believe in prayer or a higher power, but I do, and I pray to that power to speed the recovery of Congresswomen Giffords and those who were so grievously injured. I pray that those who died find eternal peace according to their own beliefs, and even though I know that nothing can ever replace lost loved ones, I pray that the victims’ friends and families will find their own comfort in the coming days. I know that I am most likely the very last person they would take help from, but if there is anything I can do, I will.

Second I would like to address the criticism directed towards myself in the wake of this horrific event.  You may rest assured that I have done some deep soul-searching over the last few days. I regret certain things, but I honestly do not believe that I am responsible for the actions of Jared Lee Loughner. However, I can see how others might read the words I have written and listen to the words I have spoken and come to different conclusions.  I can see how certain unbalanced individuals could take my words, or the words of others, spoken in passion or in the heat of the moment, as leave to commit unconscionable acts and even if Mr. Loughner did not, others might.

This terrible event brings to light something I did not realize, or did not realize completely, and that is this: words have power, and power has consequences.  Because so many people listen to my words, I wield a certain degree of influence. I knew this, but did not realize it’s extent. I know that some feel this influence, this power, is unearned. I don’t agree with them, but they are entitled to their opinion. Regardless, that power exists. With this power comes a certain responsibility, one that I only fully realized after reflecting on recent events.  And while we do not know what ultimately motivated Jared Lee Loughner, it seems prudent to wield that power tempered with restraint. 

I cannot take back what has been said – modern politics and the Internet’s long memory make any attempt to do so futile. I’m not asking you to forgive me and I won’t apologize for what I or others may have said, many of you would doubt my sincerity anyway.  However, I can see now that those statements may not have been the wisest choice of words.  Accordingly, I promise that from this moment forward I will no longer use phrases alluding to or encouraging violence against my political opponents, even in metaphor, in even in jest. I will not allow those who speak for me to do so either. I ask that my fellow politicians, both Republican and Democrat do the same.  I ask my fellow journalists to do the same.  If I have even a small degree of the influence that people say I do, then I ask that all of us, every single American, do the same.  Let us bring back a degree of civility to American politics – and if, as some people say, such civility never truly existed, well then let us create a new era of respect for each other.  Let us remember that we are all Americans, both on the left and the right and in the middle, we are all Americans.

Today let us stand together as one and join our President in a moment of silent reflection, each according to our own beliefs, for the victims of this terrible tragedy.

Thank you, and good night.

23 comments:

  1. The crazy guy was apparently obsessed with grammar. I was going to put out a statement to deflect the blame from myself. And now I just can't. This woman makes me sick.

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  2. Amen, brother! I doubt that any of the overpaid spin-doctors and speech-writers could have put it better.

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  3. Jim, right on.

    But, I do take minor exception here:
    "The woman is either the meanest bitch ever to walk the earth, or dense as a block of solid neutronium."

    Some are mean, some are dumb, but there exists a substantial number of people who are measures of both.

    (And if anyone SP retains on staff to help her with this writey stuff is responsible, they are evidently her measured equivalent.)

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  4. Gee, and you're missing all the fun over that phrase over at Wikipedia (I'm an editor who rarely edits there.) There have been well over 100 edits on the blood libel article on the site today. Ol' Sarah sure can stir up the shit, can't she?

    And I think Sarah just doesn't give a good damn about what anyone who isn't a fawning sycophant thinks. And probably not about too many of them, for that matter.

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  5. Sarah's aim is to stay in the press. To that objective, her aim is true. So is yours. Well said, Jim. Well said!

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  6. My vision's going dark; that happens when my usual simple righteous anger takes a turn towards rage.

    Jim, we need to start a movement that will agree amongst ourselves to ignore *any* commentator, political candidate, or would-be Queen at the polls that uses the kind of violent turn of phrase that makes the lowest common denominators of our society roar with imagined power -- hell, let's call it what it is: "blood lust" -- that's what this woman and all her Tea Party NeoNazis have called out. And with her use of the term "Blood Libel", she has truly officially labeled herself and her followers as Nazis.
    Let's agree to change those channels and radio stations, and demand that businesses do the same in the interest of American brotherhood, rather than tune in, in continued attempts to incite violence. If the government fails to moderate speech -- and really, how can they without coming dangerously close to violating one of our most-cherished freedoms? -- then We, the People must "vote" with our ears and turn deaf ones on languaged designed to make people become violent slaves of their revolution. No Fourth Reich, Sarah Palin.

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  7. The woman is either the meanest bitch ever to walk the earth, or dense as a block of solid neutronium.

    I agree with ScottE. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    And she's already proven beyond any possibility of doubt that she has no class, no responsibility, no insight into her own behavior. Therefore the outcome was, to a certain degree, inevitable.

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  8. I watched the video earlier today and I've got to say I'm more amazed at her cluelessness than offended. Like you said, with the entire English language at her disposal, she chose "blood libel"? It really makes no sense.

    Ultimately, though, I think she just blew an opportunity to establish herself as a serious player. Instead, she's given her base something to cheer about and further alienated everyone else. She actually could have play-acted at "presidential" and she chose to tell the world how awful it is that people are calling her nasty names.

    Ultimately, she's just demonstrated conclusively why none of this is remotely like a dialog right now. She and her supporters are utterly incapable of conceiving how anybody could be troubled by the words and images she uses. And the rest of us are incapable of understanding what her supporters actually see in her. Not a lot of room for middle ground here.

    I'll fall back on the two-word review I left on a FaceBook thread earlier today:

    Ignorant Cow

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  9. Wait a second. OK, set aside the "blood libel" thing. Let's replace it with, um, "lie" or something. I'm still having trouble trying to see the logic in "[j]ournalists and pundits should not manufacture a [lie] that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn." Exactly how is saying, "Woman, you shouldn't have put congresspeople in crosshairs" INCITING hatred and violence? Or does she SERIOUSLY not see the difference between rational criticism and incitement of violence? Actually, I think she doesn't.

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  10. Some song lyrics come to mind about this today. Well, yesterday too.

    Mary Long

    Sarah, just go home...

    Thanks again, Jim.

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  11. I'm even more pleased than ever that I use "Phiala" around the internets, as it makes it less obvious that I share a name with that... ignorant cow.

    I can't decide whether I think she's that ignorant, or that malicious, or both.

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  12. "Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice" Hanlon's Razor

    I don't think she knew what she was saying.

    I'll go with whoever yesterday said she kind of remembered from the 5 years at 4 colleges, or however many of each, something about blood being an adjective that implied she had been wronged even more. Perhaps a mis-remembering of the old Republican tactic of Waving the Bloody Shirt.

    jurist - what Palin is afraid of.

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  13. The woman is either the meanest bitch ever to walk the earth, or dense as a block of solid neutronium.

    I think Palin's as stupid as Lady Macbeth -- and as dangerous. She's a conwoman extraordinaire.

    Time and again, Palin has shown that she doesn't need to be intelligent; all she needs to do is drop a few quips about the "lamestream media" and her followers eat it up, taking to the Internet to post comments about how liberals are afraid of her because she's a plain talker who understands "the people" -- Sarah's not some snooty educated elitist who thinks she's better than anyone else. (Of course, she's a millionaire, but she's still "just folks.")

    This is just more of the same. Her entire schtick seems to be: Look at poor me, victimized by the "lamestream media." All I'm trying to do is tell the truth to Real Americans(TM), but those anti-American liberals who hate America want to destroy America with their fascist socialism.

    (Still, some of the gaffes make me wonder if one of her staff isn't deliberately doing these things to make her look bad.)

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  14. One of my old Skippers broke it down for me:

    There are smart, energetic people: they get the work done.

    There are smart, lazy people:
    they get the work done... eventually.

    There are dumb, lazy people:
    they require close oversight and are easy to identify.

    SP falls into the 'dumb, energetic' category:
    they can be initially hard to identify, but they FUBAR things so badly that it causes 95% of the headaches and 100% of the frustration within the command.

    She can be counted on to open her mouth with the worst possible statements at the worst possible time and then fall back on the 'SODDI' and 'My words are being taken out of context' arguments.

    (SODDI = some other dude did it)

    re: 'Second Amendment Solution' style comments:

    I'm all for Second Amendment rights. I'm also all for Second Amendment RESPONSIBILITY.

    Can't have one without the other.


    In the end, I agree with Nathan:

    IGNORANT COW

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  15. Quite honestly, I think her use of the term was intentional. I am college educated and reasonably well read. I never ran across the term. In seven decades of living I can't think of a single time when it ever would have occurred to me to use those two words in the same sentence, much less side by side.

    I hope your brilliant "should have said" is copyrighted material because I'll bet before long it will be posted by her adoring ignorant fans as Sarah Palin Said.

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  16. Actually,I think her head is made of unobtanium :) Thoughts gravitate away from her head and new thoughts are completely not allowed... Consider the conundrum and implication and hopefully it will heal you from the bruises you currently have on your poor head...

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  17. Faux Patriot Palin isn't smart enough to know that proper American flag display protocol should have the flag on the left side of her stage area when viewed from the camera. At least she only had one flag. She did use "gunsight" targets, not the registration marks you sometimes see on maps or other graphics that use colors. What does she think people think when she tells them to reload?

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  18. cackles - Palin's normal mode of speech.

    I didn't have anything to say, but it just to good of one to pass up.

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  19. Left Coast Girl wins the internet:Actually,I think her head is made of unobtanium.

    I agree with Nathan on this one. She likely couldn't have pickled a worse phrase than "blood libel" in this situation and has (hopefully) shot any chances of any polical advancement. I believe in malicious stupidity, and this was a great example.

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  20. Stupid is as stupid does. (There should be a category of stupid, Palin would be at the bottom, wayyyy under retard, moron, head injured, etc.)

    Iron Bess

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  21. "(the woman is the political version of a cutter)"

    Hahahahahahahahahaha!

    To make such an eloquent, stateswoman type statement? She can't. She's just a country bumpkin who hit the big time. She doesn't understand enough and is too narcissistic to experience genuine empathy.

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  22. Well, normally I'd try to come up with something funny and witty to say about SP, but I'm reminded that my grandmother always told me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." So I'm going to keep my trap shut.

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