The guy being led away by Tennessee’s finest here is the most important man in recent American history. I’ll tell you why after the jump.
Jim D. Adkisson, pictured above, could turn out to be a lot more important than you think, at least in terms of cultural history. He’s the guy who, yesterday, walked into a Unitarian church in Tennessee and opened fire, killing two, during a children’s performance of Annie.
See, Jim was down on his luck. He had been unemployed since 2006, and all the engineering jobs were gone. He’d been all around the country looking for work, couldn’t catch a break. You know how it is. Bad economy, Republican government letting big corporations get away with outsourcing and downsizing and screwing over the little guy. He’d been on food stamps, too, which were keeping him going, but then they took away his food stamps. Jim was mad at the powers that be for kicking him around, and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.
So, Jim decides to get himself a gun and…. go kill some liberals. Because everything is obviously their fault.
That’s why he picked the Unitarian church, which believes in evil commie pinko shit like social justice and being nice to people. Bunch of goddamn Marxists, obviously. They were probably the only liberals Jimmy boy knew of, so obviously they had to suffer. Like I said, this was during a production of Annie that the kids were doing. It’s fair to say that Jimbo knew who was responsible for his hard knock life.
If I sound glib about this whole thing, then I’m sorry. Two people were killed, including one guy who basically threw himself in front of a bullet to save others. It’s not something to be mocked at all. It’s gravely serious, but it doesn’t surprise me, either. Not at all.
Conservative talk radio definitely has its place, and it certainly has its audience, and that’s fine. You may consider it a skewed and wrong-headed perspective on the world, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. What isn’t fine – what is actually dangerous – is their One True Enemy approach to the world. Every single goddamn thing that goes wrong in the world, according to Sean Hannity and Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, is all the fault of liberals. Oh sure, they may look like a bunch of bike-ridin’ granola-eatin’ whale savers to you, but in actuality they pose a grave threat to this nation.
The radio folk draw the line at saying “and therefore they should all die.” But, really, what exactly do they expect is going to happen when their message is, basically, “You aren’t unemployed because some greedy jerk decided to downsize your company, you’re unemployed because of liberals. We aren’t losing the War on Terror because of a series of policy blunders and downright stupid ideas courtesy of the Neo-Cons, we’re losing it because liberals want us to lose. Some kid broke your window with his baseball? Bet his parents are liberals.”
Progressives are guilty of this, too. I have to keep reminding myself that not everything in the world is George W. Bush’s fault. For instance, the other day I got a nasty blister on my foot because I thought it would be a great idea to go jogging in brand new sneakers while not wearing socks. That, dear reader, was not George W. Bush’s fault, and it would be unfair to accuse him of such. However, liberals differ in two important ways from their conservative counterparts:
1) We’re totally smarter.
2) They have all the guns.
I kid, I kid. Actually, the big difference is that the liberal end of the media spectrum – while it certainly wears its bias on its sleeve – does not dehumanize their opponents in the same way that the right-wing media does. Keith Olbermann might tell the President to “shut the hell up!” or imply that Dick Cheney should be impeached, but he has never advocated shooting either of them. There’s also a marked difference in the way most liberal commentators talk about the leaders of the conservative movement versus how they talk about their followers: the leaders are evil, but not stupid; the followers stupid, but not evil. According to the right, however, all liberals are both evil and stupid, be they Barbara Streissand, Bill Clinton, Daily Kos, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, you, or me.
Michael Savage has said that “liberalism is, in essense, the HIV virus.” Ann Coulter says the best way to talk to a liberal is with a baseball bat. And all across the nation, there are local radio squawkers who spew even worse stuff day in, day out, dehumanizing their “enemy.” Well, gang, consider the propaganda catapulted.
Here’s something blogger David Neiwert said back in 2005 on his blog Orcinus:
I’ve been talking for some time about the course that eliminationist rhetoric on the right would eventually take by the force of its own nature: pretty soon we’d go from talking about liberals as traitors to overtly wishing for violence to be visited upon them and discussing locking them up, followed in due course by such violence and incarceration becoming a reality.
Well, it is now becoming a commonly spoken sentiment on the right to wish for violence against liberals and to simultaneously suggest they and all “traitors” (including Muslim Americans) should be locked away. We’re firmly into Phase II now.
What happened in Knoxville – the case of a man getting beat down so much that he lost his grip on reality, believed the lies of a select and powerful few, and started attacking the wrong people – is unfortunately the story of America in a post-9/11 world. Jim Adkisson is not only the inevitable product of a hate-mongering mediatocracy, he is a walking metaphor for what happened in Iraq, and a symbol of the ridiculous things we believe. There were WMDs. Obama’s a Muslim. Liberals hate America, and should be punished.
Like I said, he’s more important than you think.