Wednesday, March 9, 2011



Robert Harkins

Arizona, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, in his harangue on the murder and maiming of Arizona citizens, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, revealed the poverty of compassion and reason that resides in the heart of demagogues. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country,” Dupnik shouted grimly to an empathetic mob, “is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

But is Arizona, land of friendly Americans and the exquisite saguaro blossom, the Mecca of prejudice and bigotry? While the saguaro blossom, white and yellow, blooms mysteriously only at night, the flower of bigotry blooms in the hard light of day. And so, we may well wonder at the unnatural passion that moves the likes of Sheriff Dupnik to quick, brutal and outrageous judgments. Arizona is home to six and a half million Americans. What shall we say of a man willing to defame over six million Americans and their home state as a Mecca of prejudice and bigotry?

Are Arizonians a people somehow alienated from the values of those Americans who reside, as our president believes, in the other “56 states?” And upon what proof or by what mumbled incantation has Sheriff Dupnik conjured from a macabre philosophy his revelation that conservatives have induced an apolitical sociopath, a schizophrenic pothead, to indulge in mass murder?

Are Arizonians really bigots? Has Governor Jan Brewer ever threatened, as has the president, to bring a gun to a knife fight? Has she ever suggested that she would permit Arizona Democrats “to come along for the ride” so long as they “sit at the back of the bus?” Is she, like our president really “itching for fight?”

Dupnik, incoherently malicious, leveled the accusation that conservatives who criticize the Obama Administration are directly responsible for the Arizona mass murders. Why? Because when “…you look at unbalanced people and…how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government” mass murder is the certain consequence. Who are these “certain mouths?” They are conservatives; they are tea party racists who “target” states for victory?

Dupnik, however, is an outlaw and oath breaker. Although he has sworn an oath to uphold the law, he has decided that he will enforce and uphold—just like the Wisconsin Anarchists— only those laws that he likes. He doesn’t like Arizona's new law targeting illegal immigrants and so—as he considers himself above the law—he has decided that he will not enforce it. Accordingly, he shouts that those who support this law are “stupid and racist.” He shouts that tea partiers are a collection of bigots. In all of this is a festering hatred that does not speak well of Sheriff Dupnik or those Leftists who shockingly, or perhaps not so shockingly, have swallowed whole a baseless libel raised out of the muck of hatred and bigotry.

That a political party and its acolytes have embraced Dupik’s theory in the vain hope that libel might somehow ameliorate the November 2010 Democrat catastrophe exposes more than a decline in civility. It reveals a country as Abraham Lincoln warned that is divided against itself and will not stand. It exposes the naked desperation of a party that senses in the rubble of its bankrupt state and in the ascendance of a new and conservative world paradigm the inevitable diminishment of its power and the nullification of its intemperate ambition.

Perhaps Sheriff Dupnik’s eccentricities should be forgiven even though his rhetoric smacks of antique, bitter and irrational enmities. But what shall we say of Americans who inebriated by Dupnik’s poisonous brew continue to pitch the libel that conservatives have induced a psychopath to the commission of mass murder?

When Hannibal defeated the Romans at Cannae, slaughtering in a three hour battle more than 60,000 Roman soldiers, strange events immediately followed. A vestal virgin, discovered in the act of sexual intercourse, was buried alive; lightening struck and killed on a day free of storms. A four-headed goat was born just north of Rome; and human sacrifice was revived to placate the gods.

We see behavior just as strange in a political party that has charged conservatives with a crime of demagogy so truculent that it prompted mass murder in Arizona. But who are our accusers? Democrat Rep. Michael Capuano, in a speech to a Boston union urged its members to spill blood in the streets. "I’m proud to be here,” he exclaimed, “with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going.

"Every once in awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”

Perhaps conservatives should forgive Rep. Capuano’s exhortation to violence, for violence, whatever may be his story over time, is precisely the conduct that he encouraged.

Wisconsin’s State Rep. Gordon Hintz became extremely angry with Rep. Michelle Litgjen for her vote on a pending Budget Repair Bill. Rep Hintz physically confronted this slight Republican woman and shouted,

You are F…ing Dead!”

A man, a politician sworn to uphold the law, and to conduct himself with grace and decorum, actually threatened a colleague, a woman with death. Rep. Heintz later apologized; still later, he will undoubtedly try to rework his threat into a metaphor or analogy. Perhaps he will recall that when he shouted at a woman, “You are F…ing Dead” he was speaking metaphorically about Republican prospects for 2012.

Not all that long ago men respected women. Such manly virtue was mandatory. Rep. Gordon Hintz would not have fared well among such men politically or physically. While chivalry has certainly declined it is still not too late in the day to write that Hintz should be ashamed of himself. He did not behave as a man must behave.

At the height of the union protests in Wisconsin, union members waved the usual signs, one depicting Governor Walker with a hand raised in a Zing Heil and another sporting a Hitler mustache. Fourteen anarchist senators, everyone one of them outlaws and oath breakers fled the state so as to shut down democratic government. As warrants were issued for their arrest and they were held in contempt of congress, they filed a baseless ethics complaint against Governor Walker.

There should be a moral principle to be found somewhere in the shouts, screams, the death threats and incendiary rhetorical hatred that passes for leftist rhetoric in America. For example, we should embrace a moral principle that, lest we forget, would take issue with the rhetorical style of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who repeatedly shouts this epithet at her staffer,

You Stupid Mother F..ker!”

And not just once, but “constantly,” recalls the staffer, “like, all the time.

And so it goes: A group in San Francisco is nailing up posters upon which an “artist” has portrayed Sarah Palin as physically ugly. Her face, barely recognizable, is luridly contorted with rage and hatred. Just beneath her picture is writ this epithet.

Enrage Them With Fear Until They Feel Justified in Their Violence.”

Many who approve of the poster are also calling for Sarah Palin’s death.

Still, there is justice. When we think of America let us forget the rhetoric of hatred and bigotry. And when we think of Arizona and her people let us recall the image of the saguaro blossom, Arizona’s state flower. The saguaro blooms mysteriously only in the night. Its petals are yellow and white.

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