I’ve been accused of having wished for Sarah Palin’s death and/or threatening her life because of this tweet:
Now. Anybody who knows me, has read my books, has read my blog, has read my Tweets, has breathed the same internet air I breathe knows I’m a Reagan-conservative-moving-swiftly-to-libertarian Mormon with a side of objectivism to spice things up.
Thus, it didn’t occur to me that my tweet, made in conversation with someone else, in response to my utter disgust with the immediate blaming of Sarah Palin for Saturday’s shooting of a Congresswoman would be taken as a threat against Palin and/or a wish for her death.
It smacked me in the head last night when I was tweeted that I was “scum” who had threatened her, with a link to a YouTube slideshow of a collection of tweets that actually DID wish her dead. Mine and one other tweet were vague enough that they didn’t belong in the collection in the first place. I’ll not defend the others except to say that my first reaction on seeing them was, “They’re blowing off steam like everybody else.” Which is, I think, a reasonable thing to conclude.
Let me tell you what I was doing Saturday when I was watching all the Palin-blaming go down on Twitter: I was at a packed roller rink with my kids, in the middle of loud music and people-chaos, barely listening to their whining, looking at my Twitterstream for news on the Congresswoman’s status…and crying.
For the country. For what it means for political discourse when some nutjob pops his cork for no reason other than he’s a nutjob. For “my” side, which is being blamed for everything from eating their boogers to nuclear winter.
But mostly I was crying for Congresswoman Giffords, who was out doing her job and a guy with a mental illness decided to kill her, for the six innocent people including a 9-year-old girl who died, and the other 18 wounded.
If you are coming here because you saw that video or saw whatever random tweet in which some nutjob on “my” side put me in that list, and you actually are taking the time to find out who I really am, know this: The people who made that video and who are blindly tweeting make “us” look bad.
There is nothing that will kill an ideology or a movement faster than the nutjobs co-opting it: Because the reasonable people who can disagree without being disagreeable, who can let the slings and arrows go by like mature people, who can get “our” things accomplished, who can discern the nutjobs on the “other” side—people like me—will simply walk away quietly because they don’t want to deal with the nutjobs.
And in reference to my tweet in particular, even taken on its face: If you don’t get it, you need to learn nuance, sarcasm, irony, hyperbole. Buy a clue, rent one, steal one, I don’t care. GET ONE.
This is not conservatism. This is its formerly disenfranchised nutjobs peeing and shitting in its swimming pool.
God help us all.
UPDATE (2011-01-12 10:00 a.m. CST): Mike Cane has documented the conversation that led to my tweet. Thanks, Mike.