Free Speech may be the First Casualty in the War on Violence

When I wrote yesterday that Democrats and Republicans would declare a "war on violence" this week, I was only half-joking, but it looks like this one is already coming half-true.  Today, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have begun to style themselves as born-again peace activists.  From Business Insider:
Beck was notably silent about the Giffords shooting over the weekend but jumped in to the deep end today on his radio show reading aloud some emails he exchanged over the weekend with Palin.  According to Beck he wrote to her saying: “Sarah, as you know, peace is always the answer. I know you are felling the same heat, if not much more on this. I want you to know you have my full support." . . . Palin responded via email, which Beck read out loud: "I hate violence. I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence."
Meanwhile, Democrat Robert Brady has stated that he is preparing a bill to criminalize speech offensive to the ruling political class.  From CNN:
Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.  [Emphasis added.]
Of course, given that warfare is the preferred policy solution of the Democratic and Republican parties on everything from poverty to drugs to terrorism, any statement from those quarters professing a hatred of violence and love of peace is highly suspect.  On the other hand, given that the Democratic and Republican parties have long been at war with constitutional rights, fundamental liberties and the  rule of law, any threat against the first amendment should be taken very seriously.  


Unknown said...

I have noticed far more on the right trying to politicize this event than I see on the left. Before you brought up Brady's proposed bill and I saw something about a bill banning extended gun clips this morning elsewhere, I hadn't even seen anyone on the actual left (elected officials, not media) say much of anything about it besides the typical "it's tragic."

I find it particularly telling that Palin felt guilty enough to take down the crosshairs website. I wouldn't even think to blame her until she did it. Republicans and right wing pundits and bloggers jumped on this from the first minute, however, with assertions that it should not be politicized, then in the same breath try to claim that if she had been armed, this wouldn't have happened (highly unlikely) or that the killer was left-wing (also unlikely, but irrelevant).

I have been relatively impressed with how Democrats handled it until now, but Republicans and right-wingers have been particularly vulture-like about the whole thing.

d.eris said...

"Republicans and right-wingers have been particularly vulture-like about the whole thing."

You might have missed all the comments from Democratic party activists in the immediate aftermath of the event then, from folks like Markos Moulitsas and his ilk, for instance. An early tweet by him simply stated something like, "Sarah Palin, mission accomplished." There is no doubt that the political vultures on both sides of the duopoly divide began feeding on the dead in this tragedy before the blood was even dry on the sidewalk.