Before I start, let me say that I’m pretty sensitive to this kind of thing. I always hate the way the media covers these tragedies. It’s always all about the scumbag who killed people, and the dead are just “the victims.” What was he thinking? Why did he do it? Where’s his Facebook page?
Having said that, and having written about the way blogs on both sides play politics with cooling corpses, I have to say that DailyKos frontpager Dana Houle and Kos himself have earned my “Unbest Individuals Upon the Earth” award (patent pending). So badly have they made me sick to my stomach that I am resigning as a DailyKos diarist and reader. Here’s why:
This is Twitter, so you have to read from the bottom. I snipped Houle’s Tweet because it was much earlier in the day.
Dana Houle is a Daily Kos frontpager, not some tinfoil diarist, and Markos is the public face of the liberal blogosphere. Granted, his influence isn’t what it used to be, but he is still the most recognizable, the most closely-associated liberal blogger out there.
When I saw his re-Tweet, I was stunned, and I hadn’t even heard about the Pittsburgh shooting yet. I thought he was talking about the shooting in Binghamton. When I looked back at Houle’s Tweet, and I found the story of the three policemen who were killed yesterday, I could not believe my eyes. As you can see, I tried to get Markos to explain his re-Tweet, unable to believe that these two would be joking about this at all, let alone hours after the tragedy.
DanaHoule With no Veep to shoot people, folks are taking things in to their own hands
DanaHoule “He said he’ll be ready if there’s ever an invasion of the United States and that he had stockpiled foods and guns…” Wolverines!!
markosmoulitsas When we were out of power, we organized to win the next election. Conservatives, apparently, prefer to talk “revolution” and kill cops.
I also sent Kos a Tweet letting him know I would be writing about this, to give him a chance to clarify. He didn’t respond.
Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I think this is shameful. This is the kind of thing I would probably delete at Political Machine. I don’t even see the humor in it, even setting aside the heartless ghoulishness involved.
More broadly, I’m starting to feel like a lot of the liberal blogosphere is forgetting what it means to be a liberal, or maybe I’m using the wrong word. After 8 years of mortal kombat with the right, we’ve swung too far, become too belligerent.
More and more, I find the left taking shots at targets that they ought to leave alone, or even reach out to. Take the Palin family, for instance. The same writer, Houle, goes Full Snarkal Jacket on the Palin family. Now, I am as staunch an opponent of Sarah Palin as there is, but I fail to see how her troubled family validates my policy disagreements with her. In fact, her family, and Levi’s, are precisely the people we should be reaching out to. Normal people have dysfunctional family members whom they a. don’t think represent themselves and b. they still love.
Aside from the political stupidity, taking stories like this and having a good laugh is not the liberal way. Levi and Bristol are in for a world of heartache, and Palin’s sister-in-law pretty obviously has serious problems. Where’s the compassion? Why is it funny that Palin’s family has problems? Did she put a hex on them?
Some would argue that these stories belie the “family values” she promotes. I disagree, and most Americans would, as well, I think. Failing to always live up to your values doesn’t, in ands of itself, invalidate them. Funding abstinence and abstinence-only education isn’t a bad idea because Bristol got pregnant, it just is a bad idea.
We’re supposed to be better than this, it’s why we fight. But when we engage in this kind of scattershot haymaking, we give up the right to say a fucking word about it when Ann Coulter trashes 9/11 widows, or when Palin accuses our President of pallin’ around with terrorists. We need to know where the line is. We’re not stand-up comics, or radio entertainers. We have a responsibility to our ideals that we ought not to betray for a cheap, barely-audible laugh.
Update: Caleb’s “healing” take.