Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sticks and Stones

So.  Sarah Palin says it's not her fault.  For the first time since she was foisted into the national spotlight, she just might be right.  Partly, anyway.

After Charles Manson sent his stoned-out minions out to start a race war, the fact that he was inspired by a Beatles song created all sorts of discussion.  The Beatles denied responsibility, and rightly so.  What Charles Manson read into the ambiguous lyrics of that song could not have been predicted.  He was a total nutter then, and still is, by all reports.

However.  The fighting bullet points (sorry) of the extreme right may be intended as political metaphor...and sane people can see it that way.  Sara Palin's crosshairs...Sharron Angle's "Second Amendment solutions," and the radio blatherers' frequent exhortations to kill or otherwise "take out" members of the political opposition...these statements are a bit different from pop music lyrics.  I don't think an individual has to be nearly as screwed up as Charlie Manson to see an invitation to mayhem in those words.

I was shocked and alarmed when the Second Amendment crowd showed up at political campaign gatherings, visibly armed.  I understand why nothing was done at that time...the President was fighting the health care fight, and couldn't afford to take on the gun group.  There's no winning that one.  Still, I expected there to be some sort of legislation attempting to control the carrying of arms in the vicinity of the President and other government officials.  Maybe that will happen now.

I am all for Free Speech.  However, people, especially those who have a large public platform, need to exercise a little discretion.  In my opinion, it is out of line to suggest that this or that proponent of an opposing view deserves to die.  Who knows how many warped individuals there are out there who will take that literally?

So, the question is one of intent, really.  The Beatles wrote nothing into that song that was intended to be inflammatory.  Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the rantings of the "wingbags.*"

*Thanks to Jan for coining the phrase.

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