Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Targeting Maps

So there's been a major uproar about the use of targeting symbols on maps since the shooting. Understandable, and let's all thank goodness that we're at least having a discussion about violent rhetoric and violent behavior and if there is a connection. I guess the murder of Dr. Tiller wasn't violent enough for it, although many of my progressive friends have been talking about this connection ever since then.

But I digress.

Now, the conservatives are screaming in anger because Sarah Palin had a target map on her website and people are rightly, having said discussion. Why a discussion is so painful for them remains a mystery - I realize the press isn't the greatest entity for a thoughtful, interesting, nuanced conversation - but at least it has started one! They're saying that the Democrats do it too and that means they're just as violent and just as much to blame. I'll agree that both parties have wildly sunk to horrible levels of rhetoric.

But let's compare these targeting maps shall we?

Shall we start with the fact that only one has specific congressional districts?
Or maybe with the fact that only one has NAMES that are targeted, ie, people?

Perhaps we can talk about the context - how to win back states lost in the 2004 Bush election vs. how to get rid of Congresspersons who are Democrats and voted for the health care bill.

Which one is more specific? Which one is more disturbing? Which one invokes violence against a specific person and which one targets a state that needs to be won in an election (ie, anonymous voters) Does it even matter - probably not, since the discussion will, hopefully, turn to how violent rhetoric and symbols' use affect political discourse in the country. Which is a good thing.