Sunday, January 09, 2011

Captain Hindsight Meets Captain Obvious

Amazingly, it appears congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will recover from her head wound, though how full a recovery remains to be seen. Her shooter is apparently a paranoid schizophrenic, and none of the voices in his head turned out to be Sarah Palin's, though her PAC has taken its infamous "target list" down from its Facebook page anyway. Given how many thousands of blogs have copied the list since yesterday, I'm not sure what they hope to accomplish.

Whatever your political leanings -- left wing, right wing, whatever -- here's something to consider when publishing opinionated columns, graphics, maps or what have you: If someone commits a horrible crime against one of your political opponents and you feel the need to delete old Facebook status updates, blog posts or anything else which, in retrospect, makes it sound like you endorse that crime, maybe you shouldn't have published that blog post or Facebook update in the first place. It's like posting a video of yourself naked, picking your nose and using the pickings to spell out obscenities on your stomach: yes, you do have the legal right to do this, and I firmly oppose anyone who'd attempt to take that legal right away ... I'm just saying you should pause long enough to ask yourself "Has this the potential to reflect badly on me?" (Hint: the answer is "yes.")

ADDENDUM: After reading the comments, I fear this post might be misinterpreted. So allow me to clarify: I'm not calling to ban anything, and my argument here is a "public safety" matter. My advice is not intended to prevent future assassination attempts, but to spare future writers from feeling ashamed of themselves in the aftermath of future assassination attempts. I say this for the benefit of anyone who regularly expresses strong and heated opinions (including politicos and would-be politicos like Palin): if you feel compelled to delete what you wrote, you probably shouldn't have written it in the first place. "Don't embarrass yourself," is what I'm saying.

As I think more about it, Sarah Palin would have my grudging respect had she kept her target list posted on her Facebook page (fond as she is of her guns, she should try sticking to them), and posted a new message not merely offering condolences to the victims and their families, but soundly denouncing any American who'd use violence rather than persuasion to affect political change (segue here into something inspirational about free speech and the first amendment). Or, conversely, had she taken the target list down and explained that she no longer wanted her name associated with it. But taking the list down while saying nothing about it, and ignoring it as much as possible?

Given how she handled her governor's job the second things got tough, I don't know why I'm so surprised by such cowardice. I stand behind everything I've ever written and published under my own name; Palin lacks the same courage.


Blogger Chris said...

While I understand where you are coming from on this, I have to totally disagree. Inflamed political rhetoric is about as rare as acne or seasonal colds. It's a normal, regular feature of the political scene & I'd be willing to bet that many of your favorite political figures use it regularly. Jack Shafer wrote an excellent column to this effect.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Don't misunderstand me, Chris: I'm not calling to ban anything, and this isn't even a "public safety" sort of thing. This is for the benefit of anyone who regularly writes or regularly expresses opinions (including politicos and would-be politicos like Palin): if you feel compelled to delete what you wrote, you probably shouldn't have written it in the first place. "Don't embarrass yourself," is what I'm saying.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Charles Pergiel said...

Ah! Foresight! What a wonderful thing! Too bad no one has it. If people would just think, but hey, we're talkin' 'bought 'merkans here. We doan hav te think!

On another not, I saw a TSA game on Shockwave.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

A TSA game? Awesome! Is that like "Grand Theft Auto," where the more psychopathic your behavior, the more points you get? Lessee: five points if you drop your pants and take a dump on the fourth amendment, ten points for groping the genitalia of a rape survivor with PTSD, twenty points and a commendation if you goad the rape victim into freaking out so you can arrest her and make her miss her flight?

11:17 PM  
Blogger Windypundit said...

Now if somebody uses explosive shampoo bottles to kill a TSA agent, boy will your face be red!

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is ironic to bring up "how she handled her governor job". The national Democrat committee asked/forced the Alaskan Democrats to use a massive program of dirty tricks against Palin. She was hit with numerous phony lawsuits with the intent of destroying her and bring her governship to a crawl. She choose to quit so that Alaska would not be brought to it's knees by Democrat dirty tricks. Yet you and others have the gall/ignorance to accuse her of being a quiter! Clearly she put her state ahead of herself in this and that is far more then the Democrats did. The real shitheads in this little incident are the national and Alaskan Democrat committees. If you resent my use of "gall/ignorance" then please tell me either that you knew what the Democrats were up to but choose to mischaractorize Palins actions anyway OR that you were ignorant of the Democrat actions. Your choice, which is it?

1:53 PM  
Blogger Jim51 said...

I think that you will find upon closer inspection, that the Alaska Republicans had also largely rejected Gov. Palin prior to her cut and run for the money.

5:56 AM  

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