A cousin of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, an abortion rights advocate by the name of Lynn Paltrow, posted what I found to be a very reasonable letter to Sarah Palin today. I’d encourage you to read the whole thing, but here’s how it ends.
…Your response so far, has been to defend the images and language you use. In an e-mail to Mr. Glenn Beck you said, “Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence.”
Ms. Palin, the moment calls for more than this. I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment and of your right to defend your words and to challenge those who seek to connect them to the assassination attempt and murders in Tucson, Arizona. I also know that there is often a very long distance between words and actions.
But even if your map and your language had nothing to do with these murders or any others that might occur in the future, a compassionate response would acknowledge that possibility and indicate a willingness, in her honor, in honor of the people who died, to consider this concern.
Whether or not you are willing to take this concern seriously, it is, nevertheless a critical moment to clarify your beliefs and principles. Now is the time to answer these questions and lead.
Do you believe it is appropriate to bring about political change in America through the use of or threat of violence?
When you suggest targeting candidates, use gun-sight crosshairs to do so, and speak repeatedly about guns, locking and reloading do you mean that violence is or could be properly used to encourage or ensure certain outcomes of elections or legislative votes?
If you do not mean literally that elected officials should be targeted with rifles and threatened by political activists armed with loaded weapons, what do you mean? What should politically frustrated Americans do when their views are not prevailing?
Throughout the course of history people have demonstrated that the most effective change comes through non-violent action. Many of us believe that the most courageous leaders and activists are those who are willing to be attacked for their beliefs not those who threaten to attack.
Ms. Palin, if you are among those who believe that political change can come about non-violently, without hate, violence, or the threat of violence, now would be an excellent time to say so.
Speaking of the horrible events of this past weekend, I’m not sure what it says about the world we live in, but word is that sales of Glocks are way up in Arizona. Yes, apparently quite a few saw the handiwork of this deranged Glock-wielding madman as a persuasive testimonial, and the guns are flying off the shelves.