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William Rivers Pitt: Poor, Poor Sarah

Poor, Poor Sarah

Wednesday 12 January 2011

by William Rivers Pitt,

t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed


Sarah Palin. (Photo: sskennel)

So let me get this straight.

Twenty people were gunned down at a supermarket in Arizona on Saturday. Six were killed, including a nine-year-old girl. Fourteen others were wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was the main target of the attack, and who was shot through the head. She is currently lying in a hospital bed with half of her skull removed because brain swelling from her bullet wound could kill her.

Twenty people shot.

Six killed.

Fourteen wounded.

And guess what?

It appears Sarah Palin is the principal victim of the shooting.

No, really.

Don't believe me? Watch the video she posted to her Facebook page. There she sits, in front of a fireplace and beside an American flag like some cruel joke on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, wreathing herself in pity because people are coming to the conclusion that politicians like her - the ones who have spent the last two years talking about guns and civil war and reloading and such - should bear some of the blame for what happened in Arizona.

How on Earth could anyone come to such an irresponsible and reprehensible conclusion?

Hm.

In a message posted on her Facebook page Sunday afternoon, Sarah Palin reiterated her call for supporters to "reload" in the battle against health care reform, a term that provoked controversy last week after critics accused her of inciting violence against members of Congress. Presenting her message as an exhortation to college basketball teams competing in March Madness, Palin stood her ground in using firearm imagery against the administration.

"The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons - your Big Guns - to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win," Palin wrote. In the headline of her update, she mockingly predicted that the message would be "subject to new politically correct language police censorship."

(Emphasis added)

That was supposed to be about basketball, and as usual, all sorts of mean people jumped up and down on her for once again vomiting gun-violence rhetoric into the political debate. Yup, she was the victim then, and is now the victim once again.

Poor, poor Sarah.

Before you start spluttering and staggering in an attempt to comprehend the sheer galactic magnitude of this new round of idiocy - "Who the what the where the when the why the how the what?!" was my initial response - stop a second and remember that this is how people like Sarah Palin operate. This is how they get others to follow them. They make themselves out to be victims, and convince their followers that they, too, are victims.

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Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Savage, O'Reilly and the rest of the right-wing media machine have turned professional victimhood into a license to print money, and people like Sarah Palin are all too happy to jump on that bandwagon. You're losing your country, your rights, your guns, your family, your religion, the sanctity of your marriage, the supremacy of your heterosexuality, my God, you're losing Christmas, for the love of God! You're losing everything (...psssst...they're talking to White Christians when they say this stuff, by the way, which just cracks me all the way up...), and if you don't "take up arms" to stop it, well, it will just make the Baby Jesus weep bitter, bitter tears.

Speaking of "taking up arms," here is Palin's explanation for such rhetoric: "When we say 'take up our arms,' we are talking about our vote."

Of course. How could we have missed such an obvious reference? Silly us.

Poor, poor Sarah.

Since we're on the topic, here's another hoot from another professional victim: Sharron Angle, the only living human who can make Sarah Palin seem sensible and coherent by comparison. In her own comments on how awful it is that people who think her "Second Amendment remedies" talk might have something to do with politicians getting shot in the head, Angle said, "The irresponsible assignment of blame to me, Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement by commentators and elected officials puts all who gather to redress grievances in danger."

Let that one sink in for a second.

The twenty people who were shot on Saturday were gathered peacefully with their elected representative to petition for a redress of grievances when they were mowed down like grass. But they are not the victims. Angle, Palin, the Tea Party are the ones in danger here. They are the ones whose rights are in peril. They are the victims.

Or something.

Something else happened here, however, speaking of victims. In her puling, self-pitying video rant, Palin accused her critics of committing a "blood libel" against her. From the New York Times:

The term blood libel is generally used to mean the false accusation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, in particular the baking of matzos for passover. That false claim was circulated for centuries to incite anti-Semitism and justify violent pogroms against Jews. Ms. Palin's use of the phrase in her video, which helped make the video rapidly go viral, is attracting criticism, not least because Ms. Giffords, who remains in critical condition in a Tucson hospital, is Jewish.

So was Gabriel Zimmerman, who died on Saturday.

The geometry of all this is a little bewildering, so let me try to sum it up. The victims of Saturday's shooting have caused Sarah Palin and her ilk to become the real victims, so Palin decided to further victimize Saturday's victims by framing her own victimhood with the use of perhaps the sickest anti-Semitic slur ever to exist on the skin of this Earth.

But guess what? It wasn’t even her line. She used it, sure, but lifted it from a Wall Street Journal headline and article by right-wing columnist Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a.k.a. "InstaPundit." So she’s a victim as well as unoriginal. Contain your shock.

Poor, poor Sarah. We weep bitter tears for your travails.

Not. I will save my tears for the real victims here, for the living and the lost, and the America that people like Sarah Palin have been tearing apart for ambition and profit.

*************

William Rivers Pitt is a Truthout editor and columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence." His newest book, "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation," is now available from PoliPointPress.

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