Without a hint of true regret Sarah Palin released a video on Facebook which barely acknowledged the full tragedy of the event on Saturday which involved the killing of six people, the wounding of many others and an assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords which has left her critically injured. Within hours of the shooting, significant criticism was directed at Sarah Palin’s 2010 election campaign “Take Back the Twenty”. The campaign comprised of bombastic statements such as “Don’t Retreat, Reload” and a map with symbols that resembled gunsight icons on it which was swiftly removed from SarahPac’s website shortly after news of the shooting broke. Since Saturday the suggestions in the media have been that heightened political rhetoric employed by Palin’s campaign may have resulted in a charged atmosphere which encouraged violent action against a politician. Sarah Palin flatly rules out such implications by stating that the responsibility for the violence belongs solely with “a single evil man” and that crimes are the responsibility of the person who commits them. No one else is to blame.
After a brief expression of sympathy for the victims and without referencing Rep. Gifford’s present critical condition, Sarah launched her denial. She made sure that she had her prop flag and her prop flag pin in place. Ronald Reagan, The Founding Fathers and American exceptionalism were invoked and the media soundly rebuked. She stated that she had spent the last few days “reflecting what happened and praying for guidance”. Mouth set and eyes fixed on the teleprompter she quickly took a swipe at the criticism that she has faced since the shootings when she said “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.”
Moving on, Palin voices the concern that the media has conjured up false allegations about her that amount to a “blood libel”. “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.” This is a somewhat curious accusation against her critics that suggests that she is being falsely persecuted and that she too is a victim. I find the suggestion that Sarah Palin is a victim in this situation reprehensible. Why does Sarah always have to make every situation about her? Why is it so difficult for Sarah Palin to accept any amount of responsibility for her actions? Does accountability mean nothing to her?
Sarah Palin had the opportunity to present herself to the American people as Presidential material; instead she retreated into true Palin victim mode. She could have accepted the fact that perhaps she shouldn’t have used symbols that appear to target people and manufacture images of violence because there will always be some people who may take her at her word. She could have accepted that she is a politician and as such she is responsible for the imagery that she promotes and that the media and the American people will hold her accountable when she does so. Until she understands that humility is an honourable virtue and a true trait in a leader then she should never consider offering herself to the American people as a possible Presidential candidate.
Andrew Sullivan explains what is so menacing about Sarah Palin+++