Sarah Palin, Blame, and Responsibility - updated 1/16/2011

Sheila Musaji

Posted Jan 16, 2011      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Sarah Palin, Blame, and Responsibility

by Sheila Musaji

Sarah Palin posted a statement on facebook (full statement here ), and released a video of the statement.  She is concerned that some are attempting to apportion blame for the events, and defending herself and her past statements.  I believe that she is wrong to conflate a genuine concern about the possibility that inflammatory rhetoric might have some negative consequences and blaming that rhetoric for the actions of a criminal.

It seems that she holds remarkably opposing viewpoints at the same time, and posts those opposing viewpoints on facebook. 

In this statement she said:  “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. President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies … 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.”

It is interesting that Gabrielle Giffords herself was concerned about consequences, and said back in March “Sarah Palin has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district and when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action.”

A few months ago when she was a vocal opponent of the proposed Cordoba House in NYC she issued another statement (read her full statement here ).  In that statement then, she said:  “This is not an issue of religious tolerance but of common moral sense. To build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks.  ...  I agree with the sister of one of the 9/11 victims (and a New York resident) who said: “This is a place which is 600 feet from where almost 3,000 people were torn to pieces by Islamic extremists. I think that it is incredibly insensitive and audacious really for them to build a mosque, not only on that site, but to do it specifically so that they could be in proximity to where that atrocity happened.”

In this case Palin seems to be saying that any mosque near ground zero would be offensive, and this would mean that all Muslims must somehow be responsible for the actions of al Qaeda criminals.  However,  if the perpetrator of a criminal terrorist act is not a Muslim, then there are no outside influences that might have motivated or encouraged that action.  It is absolutely impossible to understand this logic.

As Dean Obeidallah notes “Sarah—If you are reading this, or having someone else read it to you—I have a question, and I’m not trying to “Katie Couric” you, but if this is your philosophy, how could you have opposed the proposed Muslim Community Center in lower Manhattan? The builders of the Mosque had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorists. It was the terrorists who committed an act of “monstrous criminality,” not the law abiding Muslim-American citizens who just wanted to “exercise their first amendment rights,” the exact type of rights you specifically defended in your new video ...  Sarah—you and your friends on the right can’t have it both ways. It’s either “individual responsibility” meaning that we only punish those who commit the crimes or collective guilt so you can punish Americans for the wrongs to which they have no connection. Which is it going to be? Or is there an exception to your views based on the race or religion of the American?” 

The most recent statement also holds internal contradictions, not just contradictions with a previous statement.  Read:  1) “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them.”  And, 2) “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.” 

Statements 1 and 2 directly contradict each other.  Either it is possible to incite violence or it isn’t.  If it is possible, then considering how we might tone down the rhetoric would be reasonable.  It is telling that Sarah Palin removed the map with the rifle crosshairs over particular districts from her site.  If such visual and verbal images have no effect, then why remove them?

Andrew Sullivan points out yet another contradiction or double standard:  “She has told us two things. She can see absolutely nothing awry in the inflammatory and violent rhetoric she and others have deployed so aggressively in the past two years. Nothing. The attempted assassination of a congresswoman after relentless demonization of her, after her opponent brandished an M-16 at a campaign rally, after a brick was thrown through her campaign window, after she personally complained about Palin’s own metaphorical cross-hairs on her ... this is an utterly, totally, completely irrelevant set of events:  “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them.”  Really? So why was it in any way relevant that Barack Obama was “palling around with terrorists”? If the acts of the radical left began and ended with them alone, why was Palin so insistent in the campaign on linking Obama to the Weather Underground - even though he’d met them decades after their crimes?”

Not to be outdone,  Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sharron Angle, Mihelle Malkin, and a host of other people have also been making statements defending themselves and their words.  Ted Nugent even wrote an article saying that “conservatives should turn up the rhetoric” and “Conservatives have liberals outnumbered and surrounded. Don’t play nice with liberal snakes. Don’t let them escape. Instead, do America a favor and crush liberalism.” 

Sharron Angle made a statement about the impossibility of anything influencing or encouranging violence.  William Rivers Pitt notes“Sharron Angle, the only living human who can make Sarah Palin seem sensible and coherent by comparison. In her own comments on how awful it is that people who think her “Second Amendment remedies” talk might have something to do with politicians getting shot in the head, Angle said, “The irresponsible assignment of blame to me, Sarah Palin or the Tea Party movement by commentators and elected officials puts all who gather to redress grievances in danger.”  Let that one sink in for a second.    The twenty people who were shot on Saturday were gathered peacefully with their elected representative to petition for a redress of grievances when they were mowed down like grass. But they are not the victims. Angle, Palin, the Tea Party are the ones in danger here. They are the ones whose rights are in peril. They are the victims.”

Paul Krugman notes that: “It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.    Last spring reported on a surge in threats against members of Congress, which were already up by 300 percent. A number of the people making those threats had a history of mental illness — but something about the current state of America has been causing far more disturbed people than before to act out their illness by threatening, or actually engaging in, political violence.  ...  It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of “civility,” the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. Politeness may be a virtue, but there’s a big difference between bad manners and calls, explicit or implicit, for violence; insults aren’t the same as incitement.    The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.    And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.”

As Arlene Goldbard notes“Yes, the hypocritical double standard is unmistakable. I have no respect for Sarah Palin and even less for Glenn Beck, the Koch brothers, and others who invest their considerable resources in inciting baseless hatred. I imagine I’m as angry as you are over their willingness to take America’s frail democracy from ailing to intensive care in the service of their own careers. But it cannot be said that they put the gun in Jared Lee Loughner’s hand, nor even that the hate speech and hateful images they’ve deployed in their dangerous game literally caused his orgy of blood-letting.    In fact, as compelling as the Arizona images are, as bright a flashpoint as Loughner’s deeds have become for the contest of blame, that’s how strong is my hope that we will not be drawn into a symbolic combat over blame for the events in Tucson that pulls our attention even further away from the very real challenges that should command our attention. My indictment of Palin, Beck, and the paranoid fringe that they promote is much larger than Jared Lee Loughner: that they are feeding a climate of baseless hatred in this country, that it is seeping into the broken places in individual psyches and in our communities, and that if we let them get away with it, we may destroy ourselves.” 

No one can be blamed as being the cause of the terrible acts of Jared Loughner, but to say that we ought to consider the possibility that inflammatory and violent rhetoric might just add fuel to the fire, or provide some encouragement for a deranged individual to act, or be a contributing factor is a reasonable position to take.  Certainly such rhetoric does not add anything positive to the political climate, and we might expect that public figures be able to carry out vigorous public debate, even on divisive issues without resorting to such hateful rhetoric.

We are living in a time when a number of stresses are affecting all of us.  Our economy is shaky, many are out of work and concerned about their future.  We are coming to terms with the relatively new reality of the internet and instant communication and social networking.  We are fighting wars that are not popular with a large part of our population.  There are a number of divisive issues that need to be considered - immigration, changing demographics, failure of our education system, globalization, etc.  Certainly, there is a need to consider whether or not there are consequences to inflammatory speech and to attempt to understand how and why some individuals become radicalized or violent, and whether or not violent rhetoric might influence individuals who are under stress.  In this age of the internet, and with easy availability of weapons, it might also be prudent to consider serious gun control restrictions and reform.

Sarah Palin is certainly no more guilty than many others on all sides of the political spectrum.  She shouldn’t be singled out.  Everyone, whether on the left or the right might do well to examine their own speech, and consider whether or not it might be contributing to further dividing Americans. 

We have all read about the 30’s in Germany, when social and economic problems and a leadership spouting fiery, demonizing rhetoric, played on people’s fears and provided them a scapegoat - ending in the Holocaust.

Those of us who remember the 60’s and 70’s and the Civil Rights Era have heard these arguments before.  Kris Kromm notes “Dr. King was especially adamant that Wallace and other Southern politicians who inflamed racist sentiments were complicit in the era’s trail of blood. On September 16, 1963—the day after four African-American girls were killed in a church bombing in Birmingham—King wrote
“The governor said things and did things which caused these people to feel that they were aided and abetted by the highest officer in the state. The murders of yesterday stand as blood on the hands of Governor Wallace.””

After the 1995 Oklahoma bombing Adam Gopnik commented in The New Yorker“We are all implicated in this: the intellectual writing for the Times who pretends that gangsta rap is part of a continuum with Baptist preaching; the frisson-seeking movie critic who wants his “Pulp Fiction” and cannot see that having might help explain why he cannot allow his children out after five o’clock in the afternoon; and the right-wing thinkers and politicians who have spent 15 years inventing a demonic abstract enemy called the federal government and now have to explain that they never meant to be taken literally. The American left is familiar with this problem, because it was the left’s trendily succumbing to the romance of violence that, more than any other thing, did it in in the late sixties and early seventies as a serious political force. The point of course, isn’t that Limbaugh or Pat Robertson or G. Gordon Liddy caused the killing. It is that they seemed never to have given a moment’s thought, as they addressed their audiences, to the consequences of stuffing so much flammable resentment into such tiny bottles. It is no great exaggeration to say that American Survival Guide is just The American Spectator with bazooka ads. The people who helped teach the militias to view the world as a set of easy abstractions, rather than as intricate arrangements made by human beings and inhabited by them, are under no obligation to take the blame for what happened. But it would be nice to see a little remorse.” 

And, after that same bombing, Bill Clinton said: ”“The words we use really do matter. There’s this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike.”

As I said in a previous article discussing the effects of demonizing language towards Muslims:  “How is it possible that we could have learned so little from our past mistakes, in spite of having access to so much information?  Perhaps people have the right to say whatever hateful things they wish, but the fact that we have a legal right to such speech does not mean that we are required to say such things.  More importantly, we have a right to not listen passively. If there are no condemnations of such speech, if toxic hate does not have the consequence of marginalizing the speaker, if society accepts such speech without remark then that is a loss of rights, isn’t it? Those who say such things are emboldened to continue and even to ratchet up the rhetoric, and this venomous rancor seeps into our media, our homes, our schools, our friendships.  ...  The reality is that we are all here on this planet at this time - people of all faiths, nationalities, ideologies - and we can either continue on this path that will lead us nowhere or learn to deal with each other in a way that reflects the core spiritual teachings of our respective religions, not the values of the extremists among us.  I pray that we find a way TOGETHER to learn from history and avoid something as terrible as a clash of civilizations.  I also pray that the extremists among all faiths will stop pushing for a war between the two major faith groups on earth and stop inciting the ignorant to hatred and mutual distrust and animosity - for the sake of all of humanity.”  This comment was made regarding religious demonization, but equally applies to political, ethnic, or any other group we see as the “other”.

Keith Olbermann is the only public figure I am aware of who has expressed regret for any past statements that might have added to an overheated political climate.  On a special Saturday edition of his Countdown program on MSNBC he issued a “Special Comment” in which he said, “The rhetoric has devolved and descended, past the ugly and past the threatening and past the fantastic and into the imminently murderous.  ...  Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or any thing in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence.”

This is the sort of self-reflection that is needed.  Olbermann is not accepting blame, but rather taking responsibility for the possibility that his words might have contributed to the current climate of hateful speech.  If there is even a possibility that violent rhetoric might add to actual violence, then we owe it to ourselves to consider the possibility and attempt to find ways of toning down that rhetoric.

I for one join Keith Olbermann in saying - Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or any thing in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence.  I will honor The Civility Pledge:  I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.  I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them. I will stand against incivility when I see it. 

We are all Americans, we are all in this together, and we need to find a way to bridge the many divisions in our very complex and diverse country. 

UPDATE 1/14/2011

It was reported today that:  “Meanwhile, mounting fear of Arizona’s violent political culture has crossed party lines—taking hold of state Republicans who fear that Tea Party extremists will target them for being too moderate. Four Republican politicians representing Arizona’s Legislative District 20 have resigned from office following the shooting on Saturday, Lauren Kelley reports at Alternet. The first to go, chairman Anthony Miller, said that he has faced “constant verbal attacks” from Tea Party members angry over Miller’s deciion to support Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) campaign over that of the avowedly anti-immigrant J.D. Hayworth. Soon after Miller announced his resignation, three other Republican officials followed suit: secretary Sophia Johnson, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson and district spokesman Jeff Kolb.    Their resignations highlight growing divisions within the Republican Party over the increasingly extremist positions of certain party leaders, especially in Arizona.”

Kate Hogan who serves the 3rd Middlesex Towns of Bolton, Hudson, Maynard, and Stow in the Massachusetts House of Represesntatives has issued a statement that includes:  “At any point in time, there are those in the general population whose grasp of reality is tenuous at best. Their understanding of our country, and their place in it, is shaped by their own personal demons. We have also reached a point in our history where those with access to media of all kinds believe that their right to say whatever they want to say, whenever they want to say it, without restraint, is how we operate as a free society. But if we can’t cry “FIRE” in a crowded theater, why should it be acceptable to frame a political opponent within the crosshairs of a rifle scope?    As Americans, we treasure our right to free speech. I think it is time, however, that we start thinking more about the responsibilities we have as citizens of a free society as well.  We need to begin taking—and asking others to take—responsibility for the power of our words, for their potential to harm, for their potential to serve as motivation to violence.    In the end, it is about respect. It is also about asking more of ourselves and our fellow citizens. Let’s work towards an America where we do not fear each other because we disagree. We should not seek to demonize the “other side” in all of our issues, large and small. Unless we can begin to do these things, I fear that the course we are on may circle us back to an earlier, sadder time in America, a time when senseless violence against leaders began to seem commonplace. Let’s not go there.”

50 faith leaders have issued a letter to the members of Congress encouraging civility.  You can view the signatories here.

Dear Members of Congress,

As Americans and members of the human family, we are grieved by the recent tragedy in Tucson, Arizona.  As Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders, we pray together for all those wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as she fights for her life.  Our hearts break for those lives lost and for the loved ones left behind.  We also stand with you, our elected officials, as you continue to serve our nation while coping with the trauma of this senseless attack.

This tragedy has spurred a sorely needed time of soul searching and national public dialogue about violent and vitriolic political rhetoric. We strongly support this reflection, as we are deeply troubled that rancor, threats and incivility have become commonplace in our public debates.

We appreciate the sacrifices you make and risks you incur by accepting a call to public service, and we urge you to continue to serve as stewards of our democracy by engaging ideological adversaries not as enemies, but as fellow Americans.

In our communities and congregations, we pledge to foster an environment conducive to the important and difficult debates so crucial to American democracy. In our churches, mosques and synagogues, we come together not as members of a certain political ideology or party, but as children of God and citizens called to build a more perfect union.  We pray that you do the same.

Sarah Palin’s office says she has been receiving increased numbers of death threats. 

A just released MPAC statement includes the following: “Many reports, including a recent Dutch study, demonstrate that three out of five lone wolf terrorists have some type of psychological personality disorder, yet their actions are not dismissed as a mere random act of violence. During a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing following the Ft. Hood shootings by Nidal Hasan, a telling exchange took place between Sen. Joe Lieberman and Brian Jenkins, an expert on terrorism at the Rand Corporation:  Lieberman: “The existence of mental stress or instability does not mean that that act carried out is not a jihadist or terrorist act.”    Jenkins: “Absolutely, these are not mutually exclusive categories. In many cases, we have individuals who are terrorists, or who are attracted to these extremist ideologies, because of their own personal difficulties and discontent.”    This tragic incident has taught us that as we as a nation will continue to face many challenges, and that we must face them together without marginalizing one group.”

UPDATE 1/16/2011

Rabbi Michael Lerner has also apologized for the tone of his initial statement after the tragedy in Tucson.  In this new statement, he says: “The problem with this debate is that the explanatory frame is too superficial and seeks to discredit rather than to analyze. I fell into this myself in the immediate aftermath of the murders and attempted assassination. I wrote an op-ed pointing to the right wing’s tendency to violent language and demeaning of liberals and progressives, and its historical tie to anti-Semitism and anti-feminism. Once I heard that the arrested assassin had a connection to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, I reacted from my own childhood pain at realizing that most of my extended family had been murdered by the Nazis. So I pointed to the current violent language used by the right-wing radio hosts and some of the leaders and activists of the Tea Party, and how their discourse helps shape the consciousness of those in pain and provides them with a target. But the problem really is much deeper, so I’m sorry I put forward an analysis that was so dominated by my own righteous indignation that it may have obscured a deeper analysis.”  Rabbi Lerner’s article is titled When Generosity, Love, and Kindness are Public Policy, the Violence We Saw in Arizona Will Dramatically Diminish is a reasoned analysis including suggestions for creating a caring society.

In an article After the shootings, Obama reminds the nation of the golden rule John McCain has also made an apologetic statement:  “Our political discourse should be more civil than it currently is, and we all, myself included, bear some responsibility for it not being so. It probably asks too much of human nature to expect any of us to be restrained at all times by persistent modesty and empathy from committing rhetorical excesses that exaggerate our differences and ignore our similarities. But I do not think it is beyond our ability and virtue to refrain from substituting character assassination for spirited and respectful debate.”

I would encourage everyone to sign on to Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion:

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

UPDATE 1/18/2011

Palin did an interview on the Sean Hannity Program in which she said “they are not going to shut me up”.  This is really disengenuous.  No one wants to shut her, or anyone else up.  They are simply being asked to stick to issues and ideas and tone down the rhetoric.

On the Laura Ingraham radio program last week, Rep. Peter King was asked what would have happened if Jared Loughner had been a Muslim, and he responded“The first statement [from the left after past instances of Islamic terror] was we have no right to judge an entire community by one person. This is a deranged gunman who in no way reflects what Islam stands for, and it would be terrible if Americans tried to even look at Islam as being responsible for this. It would have been a total defense of Islam, a total isolation of this person as an individual acting by himself, and an implied attack on anyone that would even question whether or not his religious beliefs were involved.”  Perhaps he needs to speak with Sarah Palin about her attack on anyone that would even question whether or not inflammatory rhetoric might encourage violence, and why only the deranged gunman is responsible. 


A defense of free speech by American and Canadian Muslims

A time for national soul-searching or …, David Kushma

Abuse of Language Threatens American Freedoms, James Zogby

American Muslims, First Amendment Rights, Reciprocity, and Collective Guilt, Sheila Musaji

Baseless Hatred, Baseless Love, Arlene Goldbard

Glenn Beck’s violent rhetoric

Can Representative Governance Survive the Growth of Eliminationist Rhetoric?, Dr. Robert D. Crane  and TAM article collection on this topic

Climate of hate, Paul Krugman

The Climate of Hate - Arizona Shooting, Habib Siddiqui

Dear Mr. President, are we still within the bounds of reasonable discourse?, Sheila Musaji

Do violent words cause violence? Lessons from the civil rights era, Chris Kromm

Free Speech and Civic Responsibility, Tariq Ramadan

God, guns, and politics: an unholy Trinity, Susan Brooks Thistlewhaite

Hate rhetoric is escalating into violence, Sheila Musaji (includes lists of violent incidents, and of violent speech)

Hate speech, propaganda alive and thriving, Scott Richard Lyons

How Religious People Must Help Prevent Political Violence, Gareth Higgins

Immigrants Targeted: Extremist Rhetoric Moves into the Mainstream 

In Martin Luther King’s Final Speech, Shades of Giffords’ Shooting,  Andrew Belonsky

Incitement to violence, Daud Abdullah

Intolerance breeds intolerance – no matter what religion or race you are, Michael White

Is Violent Rhetoric Behind the Attack on Giffords?, Nathan Thornburgh,8599,2041408,00.html#ixzz1AUCS0STV

Islamophobia and Arabophobia: Laying The Groundwork - Us vs. Them, Sheila Musaji

Jewish groups criticize Palin for use of term “blood libel”  and

Language and the Politics of the Living Dead, Henry A. Giroux

The language of the “guts” and racism, Tariq Ramadan

The Language of Islamophobia, Dr. Jeremy Henzell-Thomas

The “Lock and Load” Rhetoric of American Politics Isn’t Just a Metaphor, Marty Kaplan


The Murderous Era of George C. Wallace,  Howell Raines

My day in the courtroom of Judge John Roll, who lived and died in Arizona’s climate of hate, Max Blumenthal

Naw, There’s been no Right Wing Extreme Rhetoric, Juan Cole

Obamaphobia and Islamophobia Revisited, Sheila Musaji

Only One Side Needs To Be More Civil, Michael Bader

Palin Camp Caught in Lie on Bullseye—Not Tageting, Just ‘Surveying’
The Palin Standard, Dean Obaidallah

Palin’s Jewish Problem, Jordan Zakarin

Palin’s Test, Andrew Sullivan

Palin Cries ‘Blood Libel’: Can Words Harm Us?, Susannah Heschel

Palin’s Persecution Complex Culminates with “Blood Libel” Accusation Post,  Anthea Butler

Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama in 2008

The Paradox of Disarmament, Robert C. Koehler
Poll: Nearly 60% of Americans Don’t Link Political Rhetoric-Tucson Violence

Poor, poor Sarah, William Rivers Pitt

President Obama’s Tucson Speech: Original Text and Video

Rep. Peter King’s Muslim Phobia, Sheila Musaji 
SPLC hate map The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 932 active hate groups in the United States in 2009. Only organizations and their chapters known to be active during 2009 are included.

Rights come with responsibilities, Leo Gerard

SPLC Report: Anti-Immigrant Climate Fueling Violence Against Latinos in N.Y. County 

The Tucson Shooting’s Most Important Questions, David Sirota

US facing surge in rightwing extremists and militias discusses SPLC report

Tea Party Racism Finally a Concern, But Islamophobia Still Unquestioned, Sheila Musaji

Tucson Shooting Reshapes Explosive Immigration Debate

Tucson Tragedy Has Taught Us Many Lessons: Terror & Terrorists Can Be Found In All Places, MPAC

VIDEO:  Jon Stewart on Sarah Palin’s Hannity appearance

What makes Arizona’s killer just a loner, not a terrorist?, Mehdi Hasan

When did I become the other?, Dilara Hafiz

When Language Grows Darker and Darker, Sister Joan Chittister

Why Isn’t Jared Lee Loughner a Homegrown Terrorist?, Sahar Aziz

Words Do Matter!, Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa

Words matter, both in the Middle East and the United States, Hussein Ibish