Since Saturday’s horrific shootings in Tucson that left a congresswoman fighting for her life and 18 others dead and wounded, conservatives in America have been subjected to a vicious, almost Orwellian, campaign of slander and calumny from liberal and leftist politicians and pundits. Sarah Palin has been a particular target of this blood libel.
Governor Palin responded this morning in a video statement that, while forceful, is far more mature and responsible than almost anything coming from our so-called cultural elites:
(Click the image to go to the video.)
There’s a transcript at her Facebook page. While she is rightly critical of those who rushed to smear others in the hours after the event, I want to highlight another portion:
As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.
No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.
Just days before she was shot, Congresswoman Giffords read the First Amendment on the floor of the House. It was a beautiful moment and more than simply “symbolic,” as some claim, to have the Constitution read by our Congress. I am confident she knew that reading our sacred charter of liberty was more than just “symbolic.” But less than a week after Congresswoman Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that he would propose a law that would criminalize speech he found offensive.
It is in the hour when our values are challenged that we must remain resolved to protect those values. Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security. And so it is today.
That, my friends, is what a chief of state sounds like in a time of national trauma, and it stands as an irrefutable answer to those who accuse her of being shallow or criticize her as a lightweight for using social media. This housewife from Wasilla, this chill-billy with nothing more than a BA from the University of Idaho, apparently understands what her nation is about better than our political and cultural leaders in Washington and New York with all their Ivy League degrees. Unlike them, she gets it.
Today our actual Chief of State, President Obama, goes to Tucson to deliver an address to the nation. Let’s hope he shows he understands his country, too.
LINKS: ST weighs in. At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey is impressed with her response. So is Power Line. Moe Lane believes she has set a high bar for Obama. Charles Krauthammer: “Massacre, followed by libel.”
UPDATE: Sigh. How predictable. Now the reactionary Left (and some on the Right, who should know better) are going after Palin for her use of the phrase “blood libel.” Give me a break. While originally used to specifically refer to a horrid slander against Jews, the phrase has expanded in meaning to include any inflammatory slander inciting hatred of an entire group. On the contrary, it’s frequently used in our political
shouting matches discourse. Only yesterday, Glenn Reynolds used it in the Wall St. Journal. Jim Geraghty has a broad and growing survey of its use by both the Right and the Left. Ed Morrissey in an update thinks Palin’s use the phrase was appropriate. So does William Jacobson. My friend Jeff Dunetz at Yid-With-Lid asks “What’s the problem?” Finally, Alan Dershowitz, whom only a fool would describe as a conservative or a Right-winger, issued this statement at Big Government:
The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.
As far as I’m concerned, Governor Palin’s use of the phrase was apt, accurate, and powerful, which is why it’s driving the Left nuts.