IN THE wake of Saturday's horrific shooting in Tucson, Ariz., of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 other victims, long-overdue attention is being paid to Republican Party heroine Sarah Palin's brazen use of violent language and symbols.
It's hard to recall a national political figure since George Wallace who played so fast and loose with images of gunplay, demonization and death. For me, it was last March when I wondered if "going rogue" meant going off the deep end. This was when Palin strayed from the realm of politics and directed a particularly toxic stream of consciousness into the world of sports.
At the time, Palin and other Republican Party members were facing criticism for using violent, inflammatory rhetoric against their Democratic opponents in the health care debate. In a misguided attempt to defend herself, Palin tried to show that violent rhetoric is used across American culture, most notably in the world of sports.
In a rambling response that evoked Jonathan Swift crossed with Larry the Cable Guy, Palin took to Facebook to offer satirical words of encouragement to the NCAA hoops teams in the throes of March Madness. She wrote:
To the teams that desire making it this far next year: Gear up! In the battle, set your sights on next season's targets! From the shot across the bow--the first second's tip-off --your leaders will be in the enemy's crosshairs, so you must execute strong defensive tactics. You won't win only playing defense, so get on offense! The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons--your Big Guns--to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win. Focus on the goal and fight for it. If the gate is closed, go over the fence. If the fence is too high, pole vault in. If that doesn't work, parachute in. If the other side tries to push back, your attitude should be "go for it." Get in their faces and argue with them. (Sound familiar?!) Every possession is a battle; you'll only win the war if you've picked your battles wisely. No matter how tough it gets, never retreat, instead RELOAD!