Six people were killed when Jared Loughner started shooting in Arizona on Saturday, while Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remains hospitalized. Sara Palin was also a victim and she wants everyone to know. In her first public statement on the matter, save a brief Twitter and Facebook posting, Palin only uses the word “I” seven times, but she’s the real subject of her own message. “No words can fill the hole left by the death of an innocent, but we do mourn for the victims’ families as we express our sympathy,” she writes. Then a thousand additional words, none of which add up to much.
Not an elected official, and not yet even a candidate, Palin responded with words and video because the salivating media wanted — even needed — her to. As a leader, she did not impress. For spectacle, she did not disappoint.
After the requisite sympath, Palin gets to her point: “Like many, I’ve spent the past few days reflecting on what happened and praying for guidance,” she writes. “After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event.”
Then comes the big one, to be quoted for days (at least — “death panels,” anyone?) to come. The emphasis belongs to us:
If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
Politicians used to work out issues “with dueling pistols,” she reminds us. We must condemn violence, but we must still fight, says Palin.
And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.
You can read the rest here or if you feel like looking at her face, watch the video above.
UPDATE: Salon decided to check the Wikipedia for “blood libel.” Palin’s choice of words is unsettling, at least:
Blood libel (also blood accusation) refers to a false accusation or claim that religious minorities, almost always Jews, murder children to use their blood in certain aspects of their religious rituals and holidays. Historically, these claims have-alongside those of well poisoning and host desecration-been a major theme in European persecution of Jews.