by Glenn Littrell:
When you use fear or hate to motivate people to act you are pushing them to act in a manner that might be less than rational. Fear and hate are emotions, and emotions often lead to irrational thought processes and actions. When you include rhetoric that is less than truthful, peppered with innuendo, or dependent on misinformation or faulty conclusions you loose control of your message, allowing it to be co-opted by those that might be inclined towards your position but with a level of emotion that keeps the proper perspective, your more focused and more objective prospective, from being held in check by rational thought. The end result is that those you may have influence on, who look to you for leadership, may not always pickup on your sarcasm, irony, or other forms of making a point as being subtle wordplay. Because you have them on the edge of their emotional chair hanging on to every fear laden word you utter they may see your references like 'second amendment remedies' as anything but subtle.
This 'Upcoming Event' with Jesse Kelly may not have been intended to suggest violence against his opponent by a rational person, but Mr Kelly was running for Congress, a leadership position. Whatever his point was with this event, campaigning on messages that provoke emotions tends to expose his point to a wide spectrum of interpretations. Palin with rifle cross-hairs on her political 'targets', "don't retreat, reload" , Beck with his inflammatory references to Stalin, Hitler, etc., O'Rielly with his Islamaphobic characterizations, Bachman with her Democrats are anti-American and should be investigated, Limbaugh with his spineless rhetoric,and so forth and so forth.
Now look at Mr. Kelly's "Upcoming Event" and tell me what its all about!
How many times have we had to hear about how anti-America Obama is based on 'connecting the dots' or vague 'patterns of behavior' as proof from the above mentioned idiots. Well let's play connect the dots with the above demagogues and this "Upcoming Event" and the other references above and below!!!!!!
“Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.” Voltaire
Unfortunately the right wing is going to spin this atrocity away from their doorstep. They'll ignore their own claims that hateful Islamic rhetoric caused the Ft. Hood tragedy and chalk this shooting up to just another wacko.
There should be little doubt that whether this guy is associated with right wing hate groups, or even turns out to be a left wing wacko, or someone who came to his delusion without ever seeing FOXNews or hearing Rush, he did not live in a vacuum.
If he was anti-Rush, or a disillusioned liberal, he may have seen the right wing’s cries for violence as a threat to himself; if he was a right-wing fan who believed the claims of death panels he may have feared for his elderly grandparents; if he never watched TV, listened to the radio, or went on the internet he may have been exposed to hateful rhetoric, unfiltered by anyone outside of his little circle of friends.
I don't believe that Rush, Sarah or O'Rielly can talk anyone into murder, but I believe people who are in a position of leadership, influence or authority can scare people into over reacting out of fear and hate. Rush, Sarah and others make millions of dollars influencing people. Their stations charge millions of dollars to sponsors that know just being associated with their shows can result in increased sales. Marketing/advertising is a billion dollar business based on influencing and directing people daily.
When their self-righteous fear-mongering stirs up mob mentalities [Tea Party] then they share the blame.
They raised cane when Obama used the word 'enemy' in a speech and cried racism when he used a 'back of the car' reference, but they routinely hurl words like socialist, target, anti-americanchristianwhatever, 'take out Harry Ried', reload, second amendment remedies, etc., etc.
This incident is going to do little to make them back-off the hateful rhetoric, its too valuable to them, they'll rationalize this away and then things will be worse not better. This incident will be the greater divide not a wake-up call.
After the Arizona shootings a spokesperson for Palin tried to say the ‘bulls eye s’ were not gun sights but ‘surveyor pins’.
But in the screen capture [right] of a Palin Tweet she refers to the graphic and the “bulls eye icon” herself.
We can’t shout fire in crowded theater for a reason. It is ill-advised to do so even when there is a real threat of fire. The reason is not because a warning isn’t important because it is, but how we alert the crowd to the fire is important to how they react to it. Rational people will react in an orderly manner, will access the situation and keep their heads, allowing for an orderly exit. Some people, perhaps less rational or prone to panic, may become anxious and panic. I think that we can all agree that how we deliver the message may determine the level of panic. To shout fire nearly guarantees that the few who might panic will and their panic becomes contagious. On the other hand a hurried but controlled announcement may keep the majority calm and the ones likely to panic may find the lack of panic in the majority calming.
NOTE 3: 1-13-2011 More examples of Fearful Rhetoric are listed on the ‘part 2’ post of this article. All future updates will be posted to the ‘comments’ section there [TOTW: Other Examples Of Fearful Rhetoric]. Feel free to post your own comments here or on Facebook. Comments are not moderated before showing, but they are reviewed for civility. Please do not use the ‘Anonymous’ option, use the ‘Name/URL” option with a nickname if you wish to remain anonymous. This will allow responses to you in the comments section to not be confused with anyone else. Thank you: GlennDL.
For full text of Robert Kennedy’s speech “Mindless Menace Of Violence” click here.
Part 2 of this post: [TOTW: Other Examples Of Fearful Rhetoric]