1) Everyone seems to agree to that more civility, a more measured tone, is called for in our political culture. This evidently means that progressives must accept most of the share of blame for the deterioration in our public discourse even though it is primarily personalities in the formerly fringe/now mainstream right wing who promulgate hysterical rhetoric. While I find this to be an odd development--that we must accept at least the half the blame for their douchebaggery--it has made me consider my own speech. I've decided that for the time being I will refrain from some of the more negatively-toned political statements that I make from time to time here and elsewhere. I will, however, still periodically identify closeted homos (like Bryan Fischer of Focus on the Family) when they advocate their homophobic agenda, and I will still maintain my stance that everyone who voted for any Republican for any office in any recent election cycle voted, in effect, for bigotry.
2) While it may be true that Giffords' shooter is "crazy," I find it odd that everyone seems to have agreed that his action had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with politics, no politics at all, no way, nothing to do with it. Instead, everyone has agreed with the bizarre premise that mental illness exists in a total vacuum, completely divorced from any possible influence or interaction with the "sane" world, a mental singularity into which no real-world considerations can possibly enter and propagate. Hence the point of view, which no one seems to have the will to dispute, that "crazy people are just gonna do crazy shit. End of story." But these are the uncomfortable facts: he was evidently preoccupied with crazy anti-government conspiracy theories; he was fixated on Giffords; Giffords is the most prominent member of the government where he lives; he went to a town hall conducted by Giffords and shot her. He did not just go to some random location and shoot a bunch of unknown civilians for purely "crazy" reasons. The shooting of Giffords was a political assassination attempt regardless how "crazy" the shooter was. The other night I listened to people on NPR fall all over themselves to make it clear that that no way, no how are there any politics entwined with this story. None. And this on NPR, the public radio network that the Fox News founder describes as "Nazis." If even the liberal, commie Nazis of NPR aren't going to identify an assassination as an assassination, then I guess no one will. A pattern is forming. We saw an example when that other crazy dude flew his little plane at that IRS building. Again: no politics, no terrorism. Because it's only politics if a leftie does it, and it can't be terrorism unless it's from a Muslim. And we have had for a long time the ugliest example, the OKC bombing, which has also been whitewashed of its political associations. Yeah, he was just crazy, not political. Not at all.
3) Progressives who are shocked and outraged that Olbermann is gone from MSNBC might want to reconsider how the political left ought to behave. I didn't watch Olbermann very much because I don't think that progressives ought to conduct themselves like right-wingers. I didn't like the Air America radio network either for the same reason, and wasn't sad when it folded. To rant and rave like a Limbaugh or a Beck is not going to advance our causes. Indeed, it creates the very situation we're in now where we somehow are being made to share the blame for the bad political culture that is the stock-in-trade of the right. While I probably share most of Olbermann's views and would acknowledge that he traded in facts rather than just making up shit out of whole cloth like his Fox counterparts, his act wasn't really any better than theirs.