Politics & Policy

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!

#ad#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.


In short, you’re the curmudgeons and killjoys in favor of restrictions and rules that prevent us from fully exercising our Gaia-given panoply of rights, which are pretty much anything we say they are, especially if you’re against them.

You seethe with anger over the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama II, still believe along with the racist Framers that black people are only worth three-fifths of white people, and that women belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, unless they’re in the delivery room. On the slightest pretext you will reach for your guns, especially in a toxic atmosphere like this one, and, like that right-wing assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, you will commit any atrocity — even if it means “disguising” yourself as a Marxist and pro-Castro agitator just to fool us. There’s no end to your devilry.

#ad#So is it any wonder we immediately assume that you personally are responsible for everything bad that occurs in the world, you and Sarah Palin? Your very existence can only be an encouragement to nutballs, crazies, weirdos, and jackasses everywhere either to pick up a gun and start shooting, or to think about picking up a gun and start shooting, which to us is exactly the same thing. Like the somnambulists in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, we’ve drilled down so far into our dreams that reality and fantasy are indistinguishable, and we figure that if credentialed Ivy Leaguers like ourselves can’t tell the difference, why should you Dogtooth State Teachers College johnnies be any different?

Forget all that stuff we were saying about knives and gunfights and enemies and hanging Joe Lieberman in effigy, killing Henry Hyde, etc.; that was just our typical, high-spirited use of metaphor. Putting aside all the smashed plate-glass windows, the “Days of Rage,” and the photoshopped pictures of %$#@BUSH#$@! as the love child of Dracula and Hitler; we’re just a bunch of pot-smoking, fun-loving pacifist draft-dodgers at heart. This violence thing — we don’t really mean it, and you know it.

You, on the other hand, could be sitting on the sofa in your living room in your jammies, watching Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm with your dozens of dogs and children, slurping a Shave Ice and snuggling with the old ball and chain you’ve been irrationally tethered to for the past 20 years, and we would know — we would just know — that under the cushions you’ve got an AK-Uzi with 47 rounds in it, locked and loaded and on full automatic, or whatever, and you’re just itching to use it on us or one of our protected minority groups, all of whom you loathe because, after all, you are nothing if not haters.

Which is why I’m beaming. Because we lovers finally stood up to you swaggering bullies, who dominate every conversation even if there’s only one of you in the room against a dozen of us. We unleashed “The End Is Near” Krugman, foam-flecked Chris Matthews, dyspeptic Bill Maher, and every other arrow in our quiver to pin you against the wall, fill you full of lead, eviscerate you, decapitate you, burn your houses to the ground, rape your women, loot your treasure, and send your children into slavery. Like Sherman marching through Georgia, we sent our caissons rolling along, brought down the hammer and targeted you for —

Whoops! Got carried away with my martial metaphors there!

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter if the Tucson shooter was a garden-variety nut, allegedly apolitical (no one in our world is apolitical), fueled by anger against Representative Giffords, women, English grammar, the gold standard, and the educational system. He had a Glock, and that’s all the proof we need.

Come on, admit it: In your hearts, you know he’s Right.

— David Kahane himself is personally filled with love for all humanity, except for conservatives and Republicans. You can tell him how right he is to make those crucial exceptions at kahanenro@gmail.com, or become his friend on Facebook. He would appreciate it if you would read Rules for Radical Conservatives first, though, because there will be a quiz and a loyalty oath.

David Kahane — Since February 2007, Michael Walsh has written for National Review both under his own name and the name of David Kahane, a fictional persona described as “a Hollywood liberal who ...

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