Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Poor Palin, she's the victim here

Sarah Palin has responded to accusations that her fiery, aggressive and militaristic political rhetoric contributed to the weekend's shooting of a congresswoman and murder of several citizens as a 'blood libel'.

If you're not familiar with the term, it originates in two possible places: the Christian anti-semitic accusation that the Jews were collectively responsible for killing Christ or more widely, the long-held Christian belief that Jews murdered children as part of their religious rituals.

"Journalists 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."

So, not obviously a sensitive and proportionate reference. Jews were expelled, marked, murdered and discriminated against for 2000 years. Sarah used gunsights and violent metaphors to express a dislike of somebody else's politics, and is receiving some long-overdue criticism. Clearly she's just as much the victim of a lynch mob as multiple generations of Jews. Her years of incitement goes unremarked, of course.

And oh yes, Gabrielle Giffords, the injured congresswoman, is Jewish.

Palin then goes on to expound her depressing ideology:
"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle."
Really? So Hitler bore no responsibility for the individual acts which made the Holocaust? Racist thinkers bear no responsibility for the actions of violent racists? If we follow her logic, we shouldn't be pursuing Osama Bin Laden: after all, responsibility for September 11th lies solely with the hijackers. The Taliban are clearly innocent and (as I personally feel) the Afghan people collectively are absolved of any blame and should be left alone.

On the other side of the debate, her argument implies that there is no society of any sort: that individuals are always isolated. By that logic, good deeds can never be ascribed to God, or good parenting, or social instincts. Instead, we're all alienated organisms with no social ties or responsibilities. Nobody is ever influenced by anyone else, for good or ill. There can never be any mitigation for acts: by her standards, the mentally-ill criminal is fully responsible for his behaviour, as is the starving man who steals to stay alive. Societies with collective wills, hegemonic ideologies, public debates - however they're structured - just don't exist for her.

She wants to be President of the most powerful country on earth. Oh dear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

She wants to be the President of China?!

Joking aside, I couldn't agree more (with you, not her). Scary woman. Or, in Robin William's words, kinda like a Volvo with a gun-rack.