Sunday, August 03, 2008

Just two dead liberals. Nothing worth writing about.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that nobody from the Rag's stable of local and syndicated pundits bothered to comment, even in passing, on the two murders committed inside a UU church while elementary-school children were performing last Sunday.

Nothing from Bill Shipp, nor Todd Cline, certainly not Darrell Huckabee nor was anything forthcoming from Nate, who surely loves his stepkids, but not enough to fret so much about anyone else's, I guess.

That nothing appeared from the desk of the AJC's Jim Wooten, on the other hand, actually kinda shocked me a bit. Nor from Cynthia Tucker, nor anyone else. As far as I was able to ascertain, there was precisely one (1) AP wire story published about the incident; not one mention about it on their editorial pages, no follow-ups, nothing more.

At the end of the day, though, these are just a couple of dead liberals, shot and murdered in a church for the crime of being liberal, in a state that shares a border with ours. Nothing worth fretting about, at least not locally.

According to the minds of my local print media, there is no point in asking what role the radical right-wing rabble-rouser class might play. No point in wondering what equating terrorism with liberalism, as Sean Hannity did in the subtitle to one of his best selling books, might do in the minds of those who've been less than financially and socially blessed in the past ten, twenty years. (The murderer owned a Hannity tome.) No point in questioning whether calling liberalism a "mental disorder", as does Michael "Savage" Weiner, might justify culling the herd in the mind of an actual sufferer of mental illness. (The murderer owned a Weiner tome.)

Fortunately Leonard Pitts, who lives in a state that also shares a border with ours, and who is widely published, did bother to ask. And it pains me that I have to go to a syndicated columnist, and not someone local, to quote a passage everyone ought to be intimately familiar with by now:

[I]t is increasingly the case that what we are being presented isn't a debate between competing worldviews so much as it is a morality play: righteous good versus unholy evil. Conservatives have cast themselves in the former role, leaving liberals the latter. It's a libel to which liberals have responded as the bug does to the windshield: splat.

Unable to say what they believe or to frame it any compelling way, they have allowed themselves to be defined instead from without, standing ineffectual in a mudstorm of invective. They are, the propaganda goes, effete, unpatriotic, unstable, un-American, anti-God, evil, and the source of a voter's every problem, down to and including the death of his goldfish and the breakup of his marriage.

It is so over the top, so patently ridiculous, it's almost funny. Until you remember that dehumanizing people inevitably has consequences.

That's what Knoxville is, a consequence.

No, conservatives did not cause this bloodbath. Jim Adkisson allegedly did. But in telling him ''liberals'' were the source of his every disaffection and woe, conservatives certainly validated the hatred and madness that drove him.

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