Anyway, a couple of folks have now written more cogent and in-depth reflections on these matters than I was likely to manage. There were two NYT pieces, one an editorial and one a Krugman piece, which are discussed in this DailyKos piece.
It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman's act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge.The point that this language really comes exclusively from the right these days, despite the media's preference to talk about "the partisan divide" or "polarization on both sides" or whatever, is made very well in Gabrielle Giffords and the rightwing hate machine.
...The right’s messaging infrastructure, meticulously constructed and refined over decades, promotes an image of liberals as traitors and America-haters, unworthy of their country and bent on destroying it. There is simply no comparable propaganda effort on the left.I noted some of this previously when gun-toters started showing up at Obama events and the like; not feeling much more chipper about it now...
The imbalance is stark: Democrats and liberals rail against the right’s ideas; the right rails against the left’s very existence.