David Bromwich has a moving piece on Huffpo about the actual dangerousness of Palin's loose talk about Obama, linking him to terrorists. David Gergen has been saying this too. Bromwich says it's a form of delegitimation which we also saw with Kennedy:
An unmeasurable but well-recorded condition for the assassination of John F.
Kennedy was the campaign of delegitimation that preceded that terrible event.
Anti-Castro Cubans hated Kennedy because he had disappointed them at the Bay of
Pigs, and seemed to be a warm friend cooling. Many Southern white people hated
him for his indications of solidarity with the cause of civil rights. There are
other actors and reactions that might be added; but all shared the belief that
Kennedy was not a legitimate leader, that he didn't deserve to be given the
chance to go on governing. The hatred was especially virulent in the South.
Death threats were in the air and Kennedy had been warned against taking the
trip to Texas…
of us" dips so far below sanity that we pretend the rules and decencies aren't
in force any more–it is more than one person who is harmed. This loose way of
talking and thinking of violence hardens us against real responsibility if the
violent thing should happen. We are administering shocks to ourselves in
advance so as not to be surprised by the actuality. But such preparations are
in their very nature corrupt, and corrupting.
I'd note that the same thing happened with Yitzhak Rabin: the atmosphere of contumely toward him in the months before he was killed. He was compared to a member of the Nazi SS for wanting to give up land. And sure enough, a nut killed him. His widow accused Netanyahu of inciting murderous feeling. Lipstick-on-a-pitbull is giving me the willies.
P.S. Bad link. Here's Bromwich this week, on the New York Times giving attention to the Bill Ayres "Domestic terrorist" canard…