Sunday, January 09, 2011

Rhetoric of violence corrodes entire political culture

In the aftermath of the shooting in Tucson, a lot has been inevitably been written about the vitriolic rhetoric of politics.

Blame has been laid on prominent Right-wing commentators such as Sarah Palin and her gun analogies, Rush Limbaugh and his demeaning smears, and Glenn Beck and his rants.

The political Right, of course, points accusingly at commentators on the Left.

The problem is much greater than either side would have us believe. The whole political establishment and the mainstream media are equally culpable for their own day-to-day rhetorical choices.

And we, the people, have become inured to them.

Without blinking, all political campaigns, Right, Left and everything in between, refer to (and the media blindly accept and transmit) “targeted audiences,” “war chests,” “the air wars” (TV ad campaigns), “sabotaging,” “counter-attacking,” “burying,” “sniping,” “war rooms,” “political bombshells,” "political cross hairs," and “ground troops.”

The list goes on and on.

Face it, much of American politics is defined by words of violence and war.

The unquestioning use and acceptance of such terms corrode our political culture.

Worse, the use of such words only increases the likelihood of terrible deeds like the shootings in Tucson.

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