The Echo Chamber Rules
"We will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us":
Person Carrying Assault Rifle At Event In Phoenix, Arizona,
Where President Obama Touted Health Care Reform, 2009
David Kurtz writes at TPM that for newly-elected members of the House of Representatives, "their first week on the job will forever be marked by the attack on Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)". That another line had been crossed with that event, and how the new House reacts to it is anyone's guess.
"Beginning in August 2009 [Kurtz writes], when the tea party movement began disrupting congressional town halls in districts across the country", Democrats experienced a sudden, in-your-face attack by people with no anger management skills and every intent to intimidate the Democratic politician being 'targeted'.
I remember news coverage of various Democratic Senators and Representatives, in video clips showing them standing, trying to talk reasonably with people who had been sent to Town Hall meetings to be angry -- to "shout out", disrupt and dominate, any of the Democrat's Town Halls with the Righteous Anger of True American Patriots: the so-called tea party movement.
It was to provide a focus for Nightly News video, which everyone knows follows the loudest noise or shiniest object. Television news viewers across America and the world saw clips of angry people, shouting at a Democratic politician (on some occasions, even inches away from their face, as happened to Senator Arlen Specter), publicly accusing them of being a "Socialist" with "Washington's Socialist Agenda" for "Socialist Health Care".
'Rocking The Town Hall', 2009; Shown By Fox As Just "Concerned
Americans", Only Exercising Their First Amendment Freedoms
Spread out in the hall... towards the front, stated an organizing memo, "Rocking The Town Hall", written by one of the 'founders' of the Tea Party movement, Bob MacGuffie. The objective is to put the rep on the defensive with your questions and follow-up... The The rep should be made to feel that a majority... [of the] audience opposes the socialist agenda of Washington... The goal is to rattle him, move him off his prepared goal and statements... stand up and shout out... Look for opportunities...
This wasn't about promoting actual discussion of an important issue at the community level. It was a beer-hall tactic, to derail discussion and provide images to be spun over and over on television. It was to give an impression that a majority of people in America were angry over a "Socialist" Health Care reform plan. It was about silencing, not promoting, constructive debate.
(Right Principles PAC memo by Bob MacGuffie, a founder of the Tea
Party Nation, June 2009. Photo/Text: HistoryCommons.org)
Most people sighed, watching such clips (rebroadcast over, and over on CNN and the Little Rupert channel, which was exactly what the Rightist PACs wanted), and shrugged... it's all getting so crazy; but, what're ya gonna do....
At that same time in 2009, the number of violent threats against Democratic House members rose sharply. "Despite Republican claims that Democrats were milking the threats and exaggerating them for political gain," Kurtz writes, "the threats were deeply troubling to Democrats privately. They were forced to rethink holding town halls and to recalibrate the risks associated with being a public official."
Unlike the House leadership, regular Members do not receive security details -- and from that perspective, Democratic Representatives were shaken by the tea party crazies. They saw Rising Crazy on the Right as leading to some kind of an incident, where they were were targets vulnerable to physical harm.
"But things had calmed down for the most part since the passage of health care in the first part of 2010. As the ...midterm campaigns heated up, the political tenor grew sharply more volatile again," Kurtz wrote.
Little Sarah, Plain And Tall, With A Treasured Friend
During the Health Care Reform debate in 2010, if an attack on a Democratic House member had occurred, Kurtz stated, "or [in] the run up to the elections, no one would have been shocked. But [after the midterm election] the heat of the moment seemed to have dissipated."
Kurtz noted that the kind of community meeting which Representative Giffords held yesterday in Tuscon is the "bread and butter" of a Member of the House when they are away from Washington. It's considered essential, a duty of elected office. However, the entire House of Representatives (including the 94 newly-elected Members) now knows from their first week on the job that unless they pay for their own security, they are vulnerable to The Crazy.That in the future, any one of them, or their staff, could be a target.
No one knows whether what happened in Tuscon will make Representatives without security less likely to meet, up close and personal, with their constituents in future -- and whether that makes the political process more, not less, centered on the insular little riverside village where America concentrates its politics.
Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old gunman apprehended at the Tuscon shooting yesterday (indicted on charges of assault, murder, and attempted nurder today), is already being described in the Rightist blogosphere as a Leftist crazy -- primarily because the Tea Party wants to put as much distance between themselves and Loughner as possible.
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee made an unsolicited comment to the press today, saying, "What we know about [Loughner] is that he was reading Karl Marx, and reading Hitler, and burning the American flag. That's not the profile of a typical tea party member if that's the inference that's being made."
(It's a theme on the Right, by the way, that Hitler was a leftist -- that 'Mein Kampf' was a 'Socialist' tract, and that the National Socialist German Workers' Party was a leftist movement. It's true; they really want to believe that.)
Obligatory Cute Small Animal Photo In Middle Of Blog Rant
With all this a prologue, my prediction is, after some kind of interval (not necessarily decent) following yesterday's shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, that there will suddenly be a rise in announcements by Republican House Members -- all talking about threats against themselves and their families... from Leftist crazies.
It'll be the same type of claim the Right has made, falsely, for two decades: That the mainstream media is owned and dominated by liberals and the Left.
As if to prove that old claim a lie, Little Rupert's Fox will pick up this talk of New Threat From The Left, and broadcast it; spin, and repeat... Broadcast; spin, and repeat. Broadcast; spin, and repeat; the claim that the Right is more threatened by the possibility of an armed Left. And, it'll be picked up by Lard Boy, Bill-O, Drudge, Little Glen Beck, and the rest of the Echo Chamber: Broadcast; spin, and repeat. Broadcast; spin, and repeat.
By the Autumn of this year, Gabrielle Giffords will have become the new Rethug poster child for fears of violence -- from the Left, when none exists. It will be just another step in the Echo Chambers' process of demonizing anything Liberal or Progressive, confusing public understanding of the realities we're facing, and further polarizing American society when we can least afford it.
But as I've said, Little Rupert and the rest of the Echo Chamber could care less for all the harm they're doing by fabricating and escalating conflict and division. It's all about money and profit, for them; nothing more.
So; what're ya gonna do. Sometimes I think that as Americans, we deserve everything we're all going to end up getting. Collectively, we're that stupid.
But, I'm only a Dog, and no one listens to me.