When you think about it, the Tucson Massacre on January 8th had to happen. It was just a matter of time. There has been so much violent and vile rhetoric flying through the airwaves and the internet that it was only a matter of time when it would be bullets instead of words whizzing through the air.
Last year Sarah Palin published a map on her Facebook site which “targeted” twenty members of Congress for defeat. In “targeting” these elected officials she cunningly used the visual of the crosshairs from a rifle scope. For those who still didn’t get the point, she exhorted her followers to “reload” as they went after their prey.
One of the twenty “targets” was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who received a bullet through the brain as eighteen other citizens, including a nine year old girl, were mowed down in a hail of bullets. Having the misfortune of falling afoul of the self-proclaimed Momma Grizzly, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head.
Almost before the gun smoke cleared, right wing of the right wing apologists flocked to microphones to proclaim the Tucson shooter to be a lone “madman”. A representative of Sarah Palin stated that “we never, ever, ever” intended the crosshairs targeting elected officials to encourage someone to shoot anyone. Others urged patience until it could be determined what the actual motive of the killer might be.
Sarah Palin has been winking at calls to kill President Obama that are shouted by her adoring beige shirts. She endorsed and supported Sharron Angle’s candidacy for United Senator in Nevada even after Ms. Angle called for “Second Amendment” solutions to reform government and urging her followers to “take out” Senator Harry Reid.
No one will ever know what has been coursing through the mind of Jared Lee Loughner. No one will ever really know what went through the mind of John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald or Mark Chapman or James Earl Ray or the Son of Sam. What we do know is that the toxic and gun-tinged rhetoric of Sarah Palin and her ilk has contributed to an environment in which the misguided can take her metaphors literally. The undeniable result is the Tucson Massacre.
Sarah Palin cannot be allowed to wink her way out of this. Her irresponsible use of her celebrity has created a cadre of gun toting, Bible beating, Constitution waving followers who actually believe that she has real answers for the real problems in their lives. And while she basks in their adulation she is also cashing in big time with her books and television shows and speaking engagements.
I have to wonder whether, in the quiet moments just after midnight, Sarah Palin considers the possibility that her words and deeds could have, in some very real way, contributed to the madness that was the Tucson Massacre. While we will all grow old and die waiting for a mea culpa from her, I wonder if she feels any guilt, any responsibility, any remorse.
Could Sarah Palin really go to the astronaut husband of Congresswoman Giffords and convey her sympathies without a twinge of regret? Could she speak to the parents of little girl who was killed and look them in the eye? Could she be so devoid of shame? No one could be that shameless.
It is clearly time for Ms. Palin to exit the public stage. Just as the comet of publicity brought her into view a little more than two years ago, it is time for her to just disappear in the very same, rapid fashion.
She has lost what little credibility that she ever had by reason of her irresponsible language and her inspiration of the worst emotions that dwell in American society –bigotry, prejudice and fear, always fear.
Talk of her running for President of the United States or even having influence over who is chosen will start drifting away just like the gun smoke in the Tucson parking lot.
She is condemned to be a latter day Lady Macbeth. She can wash and wash her hands forever, but the blood of the Tucson Massacre victims will be on her hands.
Just as it was with Lady Macbeth – no one else can see the blood, but it will always be there for her.
It is a punishment that she deserves.