American politics

First off, I am a Canadian, so I obviously am not involved in American politics in any way. However, Canadians and Americans share a lot of tv channels and the vast majority of the North American continent. We’re neighbours whether we like it or not.

Also a lot like neighbours, it’s hard not to notice when things are going on next door.

Admittedly, Canadians don’t like to be mistaken for Americans – there are a lot of American stereotypes we don’t want to be associated with, but we’re usually good natured about it. We’re all people, after all, and we can usually find common ground. We have a decent fence, which the Americans usually respect (except in the Arctic and a few odd things like the Pig war). We can respect each other’s differences, and move on.

However, the tea party fears me with fear. They’re exactly the kind of neighbour you don’t want. In a weird way, it makes me think I’m living next to a couple with an abusive child. Most of the time, not much happens, but you can see the way the abusive child treats his (or her) parents. There are derogatory remarks, there’s a constant shifting of blame, and a serious disrespect for the family members. And, of course, there’s the occasional screaming match when the child threatens violence.

In this case, the tea part is involved in exactly the same relationship with it’s political opponents – and when the violence starts, there’s a serious denial of responsibility. It’s always the parents fault – they shouldn’t have made the curfew that the child broke! And, if they’d just given the child the money he (or she) wanted, then they wouldn’t have had to hold up the gas station…

Right. Anyhow, you get the idea. Honestly, I feel that your right to free speech ends the moment it incites violence against someone else – a crime that the tea party is guilty of, regardless of how you want to interpret “2nd amendment remedies”, or painting cross-hairs on an opponents face. No matter how much you want to hide behind your rhetoric, you are responsible for your actions – and your words.

Anyhow, I hope some of the more violent members of the tea party come to their senses with the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. When you suggest violence, even if your hand isn’t on the gun, you are promoting a crime – as the “hate-radio” broadcasters in Rwanda found out. (I suggest Ferdinand Nahimana as a case and point.) Your responsibility for your words doesn’t end when someone else does what you tell them to.

Before this goes any further, I hope my American neighbours can rein in the violent talk long before it boils over.. any further.

In the meantime, I hope Gabrielle Giffords pulls though and is able to recover and continue her work.

7 thoughts on “American politics

  1. Hi Anthony,

    I would put even more emphasis than you on the "When you suggest violence, even if your hand isn’t on the gun, you are promoting a crime". The people who scream loudest about how gun control is a violation of their rights and abortion makes Jesus cry want other people to follow what they are saying, and for others to behave and believe like they do. Otherwise, why would they shout that loud? So when a nutter actually implements what they are saying, it is highly hypocritical of them to backtrack, e.g. Sarah Palin with her "Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!" campaign. I can see how this might be seen as rhetoric, but in a country with such high weapons ownership as the US, and with a long history of political assassination, it is extremely irresponsible. And in my mind, irresponsible people shouldn’t be put in, er, positions of responsibility, but that’s up to the US electorate to decide (note, ELECTORATE, not BULLETS, for the hard-of-understanding out there).

    There were a couple of posts about it over at Occam’s typewriter, including one by Cromercrox, have you had a look?

  2. The “tea party” is as more of a product of “liberal media establishment” needing an enemy: angry fat white people. The people that pay the most attention to them are liberal blogs and MSNBC.

    Nobody else cares that much. Our 1st amendment free speech breeds a lot of a “whatever” reaction among Americans to strident language. If the Canucks get peeved, then I guess that “pissing off the world econoic-cultural elite” might provide a little satisfaction to the Tea Partiers. Otherwise the college educated elite being shocked by high school drop-out populism is an old tradition in American politics.

    Go ahead. Feel smug, though. Canada’s a free country, too.

    • The big difference between “Canadian Free Speech” and “American Free Speech” is that Canadians recognise that there is a limit to how far it should go. Inciting hatred, genocide or promoting violence isn’t allowed here because your rights to say whatever you want end when it has a serious irreparable harm to someone’s life, liberty or happiness. There’s no smugness here – just a lot of shame that our neighbors next door fail to understand that overindulgence in anything can become a bad thing.

      At any rate, you’re welcome to your own opinion, and if you think Sarah Palin is no more than a liberal conspiracy, well, I suspect that is a strong statement about what you really believe – and that you and I are unlikely to find much common ground.

      • strong statement about what you really believe

        Sorry. The “leftist radical shoots a moderate democrat congresswoman therefore blame Palin and the Repubs” is just a little out of hand. There’s plenty of responsibility on both sides for the escalated rhetoric . This “well you must believe in the opposite of me [ and be really a bad person]” is kind of silly.

        • To start, I’m not sure why you think the shooter was “leftist”, as I’ve not yet heard anything to say he was. I was reserving judgement until the facts are in, but if I were to hazard a guess, it wouldn’t have been left. (Unless you’re saying he was far-left, as in fascist, which he clearly wasn’t, as all of his ranting has clearly been anti-government, which is the opposite of being a “leftist”. Thus, if the shooter was anything, it was not far-left. Small government is typically a talking point of the right, so I would have to say he was aligned with the republicans, even I hadn’t seen his registered affiliation with the republican party (here).)

          As for the rhetoric being out of hand on both sides, there’s really no evidence to back that up. I think Melissa McEwan did a great job of discussing that in her blog here. I don’t need to repeat her points, rather I suggest you read what she has to say.

          And, of course, I never said OR implied you were a bad person – simply that we disagreed on this point. That is clearly a sign of the escalating (for lack of a better word) idiocy in the united states that equates disagreeing with being a bad person. OF COURSE I don’t think you’re a bad person, and implying that I meant it really isn’t helping you make your point.

          Please, if you want to defend your point, do it without trying to make me look bad for something I didn’t say.

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