There’s an old Bill Cosby routine, called “Shop”, on the album Why Is There Air? that is quite apposite to the events of the past two days. In it, Cosby describes how his junior-high-school shop teacher tricked the guilty party into tacitly confessing to having put a bullet in the shop class furnace — and without directly accusing the kid or even so much as saying his name. With the right-wing attacks on Pima County, Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, we’re seeing something rather similar play out.
Just as Cosby’s shop teacher didn’t directly accuse any of his students of being the one who put the bullet in the furnace, Sheriff Dupnik, without naming persons or ideologies directly, blamed the political climate in Arizona for making possible the shooting of Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several others. And, just as the kid who put the bullet in the furnace inadvertently revealed himself — “I didn’t put the bullet in the furnace, and stop talking about my mother!” — the attacks by conservatives on Sheriff Dupnik, who never once said the words “conservative”, “Republican”, “Tea Party”, or “right-wing” when discussing the creation and creators of the climate of bigotry and prejudice, stand as a tacit admission that they know full well they are responsible for having created it.
First off, we have the nuttier of Arizona’s two nutty far-right senators, Jon Kyl, who said this on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday morning:
First, I didn’t really think that that had any part in a law enforcement briefing last night. It was speculation. I don’t think we should rush to speculate. I thought that the report that we just saw from Tucson seems to have it about right: We really don’t know what motivated this young person except to know he was very mentally unstable as was pointed out in the piece.
It’s probably giving him too much credit to ascribe a coherent political philosophy to him. We just have to acknowledge that there are mentally unstable people in this country. Who knows what motivates them to do what they do? Then they commit terrible crimes like this. I would just note Gabrielle Giffords, a fine representative from Tucson, I think would be the first to say don’t rush to judgment here.
Um, except the sheriff didn’t do any of what you claim he did, Senator. Unless you’re going on the record as approving of Arizona’s becoming the capital and mecca for prejudice and bigotry? . . . Read the rest of this entry →