Once More unto the Breach of Civility
Who’s to blame for Tucson? Why, Sarah Palin and you, of course.


One of the tropes you wingnuts try to pin on us all the time is this: You just can’t help yourselves. By which you mean that, when a good Emanuelian crisis comes along and it simply cannot go to waste because it fits the narrative (two legs, good; four legs, Republican swine), we invariably expose ourselves as the sneering, sadistic little cultural sappers we are.

And you know what? You’re right!

Like many of us stalwart men of the Progressive-Media-Entertainment Complex, I have never been so beamish. As the president explained so eloquently Wednesday night, what happened in Tucson was a tragedy and all, but watching the wild-eyed Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman, pin the Glock on the elephant in the pages of the New York Times was simply wonderful. Based on nothing more than the loud voices coming through the fillings in his teeth, our bearded, pot-bellied superhero leapt into action the day after the Tucson shootings and started pointing the finger of blame where it always belongs: at Sarah Palin and the “climate of hate” she has brought down from Mystery, Alaska, to torment us here in the Lower 48. Naturally, a few of you protested that there was no actual evidence that the hated succubus who haunts our fever dreams and saps our purity of essence had anything to do with the gunman. Nor did any of the other right-wing crazies on our (symbolic!) hit lists — and you Limbaugh-loving teabaggers know who you are.

It’s true that Obama said: “But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.”

But so what if he did? In the fantasy world in which we dwell, the only thing that counts is what’s inside our heads, and in our heads is where Sarah Palin lives and where she willfully continues to insert herself into the national conversation. Raised on relativism, psychiatry, and sociology; on values instead of morals; on transactional relationships instead of “absolute truths”; on heavy-metal music, atheism, and abortion on demand — we long ago slipped the moorings of empiricism and have ascended to the rarefied heights of Cockaigne and Cloud Cuckoo Land. Black is white, up is down, in is out — this is our world and you’re not welcome to it. Because it’s not for you to say what you do and do not stand for — we’ll be the judge of that. And here’s what we know about you:

You’re racists. You’re anti-Semites. You’re homophobes. You hate progress. You hate when people (i.e., us) have fun doing things you don’t like or, worse, doing things that deep down inside you really do like but don’t have the guts to actually do. You hate Metallica, Miles Davis, Mozart, and Marx. You think we’re something out of Petronius, licentious Roman poetasters, juvenile-delinquent voluptuaries peeling grapes while Alaric and Odovacar wait outside the gates. Meanwhile, you play the role of a disapproving, mocking Juvenal, satirizing our pagan ways.