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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nation of Bullies
Posted by Jill | 6:16 AM
Earlier this week we heard about nine teenagers who have been charged after their bullying of a fifteen-year-old led to the girl's suicide. Last week an eight-year-old in Houston jumped off a balcony at his school because he couldn't take the teasing and bullying anymore.

In the adult world, we're seeing the people who should be teaching kids not to bully other kids spitting on Congressmen, and campaigning by using the rhetoric of gun violence.

With all this going on, it's almost understandable that people no longer care who's right, they just want quiet. Almost. But when you have the kind of simmering rage, threatening to explode into widespread violence at any minute against anyone who disagrees with a small racist minority, it's disturbing to find indpendent voters, those low-information nimrods who dance at whatever new shiny object is dangled in front of them, deciding that the victims of teabagger bullying are as much to blame as those stirring the pot:

A new USA Today/Gallup poll out this morning shows that more Americans blame the Democrats more than any other group when it comes to the inciting the violence and vandalism that have spread across the country in the week since health care reform became law. Fifty percent said passing the bill was a "bad thing," while 47% said it was a good thing.*

When asked about the violence, 49% of the 1,009 adults surveyed over the weekend said the "Democratic tactics" are a "major reason" for the violent incidents. Forty-six percent said conservative media was responsible, and 43% blamed the attacks on the rhetoric of Republican political leaders.

The poll suggests that Americans are warming to the Republican view of the bill and the way it was passed in the days since President Obama signed the historic legislation.

While a widely-cited USA Today/Gallup poll taken the day after the House vote on the bill showed more Americans favored the legislation than opposed it, the poll released today shows that number has flipped back to its pre-passage split.

What this tells us is that there is a not inconsiderable segment of the population which believes that violence is an appropriate action to take against people with whom you have a political disagreement. For eight years, these same people stood by while George Bush and Dick Cheney trampled on the Constitution, lied us into a war, shoveled billions of taxpayer money into the pockets of their cronies, ran the economy off a cliff, spied on Americans, put people who disagreed with them on no-fly lists -- and these independents didn't say a fucking word. Now all of a sudden, the Democrats win an election, pass legislation consistent with that victory, and they are to blame for the death threats against them?

When George Bush swaggered around talking about "Bring 'em on" and "Dead or alive" and invaded countries that did nothing to us, he put a presidential imprimatur on bullying as a legitimate way to settle disagreements. We are still stuck with the Bush Doctrine in more ways than one.

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Blogger Nan said...
I have never trusted Gallup. The founder of the company was extremely right-wing, and for years their survey instruments had obvious biases built into them.