Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking at rhetoric after Tucson and now

After the tragic shooting in Tucson last month, the world watched as Sarah Palin was blamed unfairly for the actions of a lunatic. Writing for the BBC in the UK, Mark Mardell wrote on Monday, January 10th,

"That is difficult for Ms Palin and her ambitions. As a self-described pit-bull with lipstick, her appeal is in her ferocious attack. But it is hard to believe she will ever again talk of reloading or even targeting opponents. Her trademark bite and bark may ill fit a newly chastened public mood. It may make her less appealing to Republicans, who are already worried that she can't appeal to the centre. Or this moment of concern may pass quickly and it will be back to business as normal before the month is out. Still, I will be listening to her tone very carefully when she makes her next public speech." (read more at

While most agreed that Mrs. Palin was not at fault, it is important to note that most people also agreed that the violent imagery and vitriol in American politics had gotten out of control. President Obama's speech at the memorial service in Tucson that followed was haled a tremendous success in helping to heal a nation that was in a state of shock. Rhetoric was toned down, senators and congressman sat side by side for the first time during the President's State of the Union address and political pundits claimed innocence in having spurred on the violent actions of anyone.

Time has pass quickly and less than a month later some are practicing the same vitriol that put them in hot water in the first place. I hope that Mr. Mardell is watching as Mrs. Palin speaks again, this time at the Safari Club in Reno, Nevada where the Reno Gazzett Journal reported that Mrs. Palin has toned down her infamous "don't retreat, instead reload" changing it into "don't retreat, stand tall". Sadly, that credit was misplaced as Palin's own spokesperson corrected: "The governor actually did use the phrase 'Don't retreat, reload,'" Mansour told POLITICO ( in an email. "She also said, 'Don't retreat, stand tall.'"

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