Petitions Proliferate: Stop the Violent Rhetoric!

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    There are petitions popping up all over the place, demanding that the media and other irresponsible parties – Sarah Palin is named repeatedly, but of course there are many others – stop the violent, hateful, incendiary rhetoric. A few examples:

    1. The Coffee Party writes:

    We, the undersigned, accept our civic duty to end this era of violent rhetoric and the politics of division. It is our responsibility – as citizens, politicians and the members of the media – to encourage civil and informed political engagement. We recognize that civility, tolerance and understanding are values that form the foundation of a stable, prosperous, democratic society.

    2. CREDO Action says:

    As if the crosshairs weren’t clear enough, Jesse Kelley, Rep. Giffords’ Republican opponent in a hard fought race for reelection held an event two months later that makes the stakes all too clear. He asked supporters to donate $50 in order to “shoot a fully automatic M16” to “get on target” and help “remove Gabrielle Giffords.”6 Sarah Palin subsequently praised Jesse Kelly on Fox Business News saying: “I don’t feel worthy to lace his combat boots.” 7

    Tell Sarah Palin: Threats of violence have no place in our democracy. End the use of shooting images in rightwing political rhetoric and stop validating political figures who use violent metaphors in their political calls to action.

    more on the flip

    3. MoveOn

    We don’t know what motivated the individual or individuals who committed this atrocity. And, if reports are true, it’s deeply troubling that the suspected shooter displayed so many signs of serious mental illness, and our public health institutions failed to respond.1

    But the terrifying fact is that this act of violence falls into a pattern that has emerged over the past two years in America and in Gabrielle Giffords’ district in particular.

    4. Change.org says:

    Even if you do not intend harm, your violent rhetoric has serious consequences.

    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) & 11 others were gunned down in a senseless act of a violence. Though you’ve since deleted the page, Congresswoman Giffords was on your “target list” before the election, and you placed cross-hairs over her district.

    Please stop the violent rhetoric that puts lives in real danger.

    Any others your seeing out there?

    • klaph

      I would be very opposed to any legal codification of what can and cannot be said, beyond what already exists. What we need is a social response…we should shun (and not vote for, what a concept) people who use this rhetoric, and denounce it whenever we run across it.  

    • but they’re weighing in as well:

      We do not yet know all the facts behind this senseless act, and it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to rush to judgment or point fingers of blame at the moment, as some sadly have already done.  This is no time for self-aggrandizement or partisan point-scoring — that’s part of the problem, not the solution.  

      It is clearly, though, a time for self-reflection, as Sheriff Dupnik eloquently put it.  Based on the immediate and intuitive reactions of so many Americans, we know enough to say that something is deeply wrong with our political discourse — and that with this incident, a dangerous line has been crossed.  As we grieve for those who died and pray for the recovery of those who were injured, we hope this moment of mourning will lead us to engage each other with more civility and respect and see each other not as opponents or enemies but as Americans.

    • I think this guy’s a racist, bigot, anti-Semite, you name it, and I almost NEVER agree with him, nor do I think he should be given a platform on TV or legitimized in any way. But this time, amazingly, I do agree with Pat Buchanan. Which just goes to show you how extreme some of the voices in the rightwing are right now, saying that vitriolic political rhetoric has nothing to do with anything, doesn’t need to be toned down, whatever. That’s as wrong as jumping immediately to label the crazy shooter a “liberal” or a member of the “Tea Party” (no evidence that he was either).