Opinion » Bill Cope

Both Sides? No!

Labrador licks the hand of equal culpability

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"We have to be careful not to blame one side or the other, because both sides are guilty of this. You have extremes on both sides. You have crazy people on both sides."

The preceding is a quote from Rep. Raul Labrador, the newest member of Idaho's Congressional delegation. He said it on Jan. 9 on Meet the Press, less than 24 hours after 20 people were gunned down in Arizona--with six never to rise again--and less than four days after he was sworn into Congress.

Lest we start thinking of Labrador as a some sort of analytical genius who can cut through the most convoluted national dilemmas with only four days of experience under his belt, it must be pointed out he was merely aping what he'd heard from the big kids in his sandbox. Republicans across the land had barely let the smoke clear from that Safeway parking lot before they were Johnny-on-the-job of pulling their fannies out of the accountability fire. It wasn't even clear whether or not Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had survived, and spinsters for the right (along with plenty of servile complicity from national newscasters) were spouting that if indeed it turns out the Tucson violence was incited by the toxic tone of current national politics, let everyone remember that "both sides are guilty of this."

Alrighty then, Congressman Labrador, let us see if you can put your memory where your mouth is. Let us say that you and the people you doggedly mimic are correct, that there is an equal portion of toxic tone coming from the left as comes from the right.

Of course, we both know there isn't. But for the time being, I will play along by conceding that for every Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, Michael Savage or Ann Coulter, there is a voice on the left spouting equally vile and fraudulent sewage.

I will, however temporarily, pretend that for every mob of gun-toting, race-baiting clowns dressed up like Ben Franklin, there is an equal mob of demented, hate-dripping leftists gathering in a public forum somewhere, screaming that Republican leaders are Muslims and anti-American and aren't even real citizens of the United States. I will agree, even though we know it isn't true, that the left has in its corner a network of propagandists every bit as dishonorable and dishonest as Fox News and the goons of talk radio.

So, Congressman Labrador, having come to your phony and contrived position that "both sides are guilty of this," it's your turn to do something for me. I ask you to name one Republican representative who is currently lying in a hospital with a bullet wound through his or her brain put there by a deranged leftist. Just one, that's all I ask. Because if you can do that, name one, then we are still equivalent, as I have a name to match yours. Rep. Giffords, whose bullet wound is compliments of a deranged asshole whose anti-government ravings put him, I think you would agree, more to your side of the ideological cut than mine.

Also, name one liberal who has stormed into a public museum and gunned down an employee on the basis of that employee's ethnicity, as in the case of James W. Von Brunn, a very un-liberal racist who attacked the Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2009 and killed black security guard Stephen Johns.

Name one progressive church group that plotted to kill a cop, then bomb the funeral in order to slaughter policemen en masse, as did a radical right Christian militia just last year.

Name one progressive who fired on a conservative congregation, killing two and wounding five, as did a Tennessee conservative on a progressive congregation in 2008 because, as the killer himself admitted, he objected to their tolerance of gays.

Name one figure in the anti-abortion cause who was murdered by a crusading Pro-Choicer, as was Dr. George Tiller, Barnett Slepian before him and six other abortion providers since 1993. And before we leave the subject, name one anti-abortion office or institution anywhere in the country that has been bombed.

We could continue, Congressman. There is an ever-expanding dossier of right wing terrorism, which we sure wouldn't want to call "right wing terrorism" for fear of upsetting right wingers. And I'm not even including the pervasive campaign imagery of guns and crosshairs, the rhetoric of "Don't retreat ... reload," the threats of "Second Amendment solutions" and using bullets if the ballot doesn't work, of watering the Tree of Liberty with blood, all of which erupted from your ideological soulmates during recent years.

But there is one incident I don't believe we can afford to pass over, Congressman Labrador, even if every right winger in the country gets his nose out of joint because I bring it up. So, final question, Congressman: name one Democrat, liberal, progressive, leftist, socialist ... whatever you wish to label my side with ... who parked a truck filled with hundreds of pounds of explosives outside a federal building--or any other building--and intentionally, willfully, blew 168 of his fellow Americans, including children in a day care center, to kingdom come.

The proof is in who pulls the trigger. Even if your party-line horseshit of shared culpability were true--which it's not--it's always my side that ends up with the dead people. And what are we to make of that, Congressman? That there is something about your ideology that attracts deranged assholes? Or perhaps the ideology comes first, then the derangement.