Video: Olbermann: Violence and threats have no place in democracy

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    >>> finally tonight as promised, special comment on the attempted assassination of congresswoman gabrielle giffords of arizona today. we need to put the guns down. just as importantly we need to put the gun metaphors away and permanently. left, right, middle, politicians own citizens, sane and insane. this morning in arizona this age in which this country could accept the, quote, targeting of political opponents and putting bull's-eyes over their faces and of the dangerous blurring between political rallies and gun shows has ended. this morning in arizona this time of the ever escalating borderline ecstatic invocation of violence, in fact or in fantasy in our political discourse , has closed. it is essential tonight not to demand revenge, but to demand justice, to insist not upon payback against those politicians and commentators who have so irresponsibly brought us to this time of domestic terrorism, but to work to change the minds of them and their supporters. or if those minds tonight are too closed or if those minds tonight are too unmoved, or if those or too unmoved or too triumphant to make sure they have no further place in our system of government . pima county sheriff took the extraordinary step of reporting details of not the crime scene alone but the political and cultural climate. i think it's time as a country to do soul searching . i think rhetoric we hear day in and day out from the people in the radio business and some people in the tv business. what we see on tv and how our youngsters are being raised. it may be free speech but without consequences. arizona is the mecca of prejudice and bigotry. sarah palin 's website put scrubbed bulls eyes on her does not repudiate her own part and violent imagery, she must be dismissed from politics and repudiated from members of her own party. if they fail to do so, be judged to silently get the tactic. they must be dismissed by the responsible members of their own party. if jesse kelly, whose campaign against congressman giffords does not repudiate this and admit even if it was indirectly, it contributed to the black cloud of violence. he must be repudiated by arizona 's republican party . if alan west during his successful campaign told supporters to make his opponent afraid to come out of his own home does not repudiate those remarks and suggestions of violence and forced fear, he should be repudiated. if sharron angle who spoke of second amendment remedies does not repudiate that and urge those to think anew and again of what her words implied, she must be repudiated in nevada. if the tea party leaders took out of context a jefferson comment and do not understand tonight, now, what that really means and these leaders do not tell their followers to add hor violence and all threat of violence, they must be repudiated. if glenn beck who obsesses about gold and debt and who joked about killing michael moore and bill o 'reilly who said tiller the killer until it was burn sbo into the minds of their viewers. if they do not begin their broadcasts with an apology. then those commentators and the others must be repudiated by viewers and listeners, by all politician who is appear on their programs including president obama and his interview with fox on super bowl sunday and by the networks that employ them. if they are not responsible for what happened in tucson, they must be responsible for doing what they can to make certain tucson does not happen again. do not rededicate ourselves to our individual lens and suggestions of violence. however inver tent they might have been, we deserve the re repudiation of our viewers and our networks. here, once in a clumsy metaphor, i made an unintended statement of then senator clinton . it sounded as if it was a call of physical violence. it was wrong then, it is more wrong tonight, i apologize for it tonight. i urge people of every political conviction to use my comment as means to recognize the insidiousness of violent imagery that goes so easily and slip into one as opposed to violence as me how easily and pervasively and disastrously it can slip into the der ranged mind. if the alleged terrorist, jared loughner wanted to shoot into the crowd, we have, never the less, for years been building up to a moment just like this. despite the youtube videos of what refers to him referring to the eighth congress, gabby gifford's district. assume it's coincidence, the violence is not. the rhetoric descended past the ugly and past the threatening and the fantastic into the murderous. we will not return to the 1850s when a pro-slavery congressman nearly beat to death an antislavery senator and cut to death with broad swords. pro-slavery advocates. we will not return to the 1960s when an insane desire of fame or hatred, a president was assassinated. an ultraconservative was shot at and paralyzed and a leader of peace was murdered on a ball conmy. we will not. tonight, what mrs. palin and west and angel and beck and o'reilly and what you and i must understand was that the man who fired today did not fire add a democratic congresswoman and her supporters. he was not just a madman insighted by daily temptations by slightly less madmen to do things they would not condone. he fired into our liberty and our rights to live and agree or disagree in safety and freedom for fear it will cost us our lives or health or safety. the bulls eye will have been on kelly you or me. the horror would have been, could still be just as real and unacceptable. at a time of such urgency, we as americans conservative or liberal should pour our hearts and souls into politics. we should not, none of us, not gabby giffords or any conservative pour our blood. anyone who hints otherwise or stays silent now should have no place in our political system and should be denied that place, not by violence, but by being shunned and ignored. it is a simple pledge. it is to the point and essential that every american politician and commentator and activist and partisan take it and take it now. i say it first and freely. violence or the threat of violence has no place in our xhok si. i apologize for and repudiate any act or anything in my past which may have encouraged violence. for whatever else each of us may be we all are americans. good night and good luck.

    >>> due that mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. msnbc takes you behind the walls

By Keith Olbermann Anchor, 'Countdown'
msnbc.com
updated 1/8/2011 10:13:25 PM ET 2011-01-09T03:13:25
SPECIAL COMMENT

Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment on the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. We need to put the guns down. Just as importantly we need to put the gun metaphors away and permanently.

Left, right, middle - politicians and citizens - sane and insane. This morning in Arizona, this age in which this country would accept  "targeting" of political opponents and putting bullseyes over their faces and of the dangerous blurring between political rallies and gun shows, ended.

This morning in Arizona, this time of the ever-escalating, borderline-ecstatic invocation of violence in fact or in fantasy in our political discourse, closed. It is essential tonight not to demand revenge, but to demand justice; to insist not upon payback against those politicians and commentators who have so irresponsibly brought us to this time of domestic terrorism, but to work to change the minds of them and their supporters - or if those minds tonight are too closed, or if those minds tonight are too unmoved, or if those minds tonight are too triumphant, to make sure by peaceful means that those politicians and commentators and supporters have no further place in our system of government.

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If Sarah Palin, whose website put and today scrubbed bullseye targets on 20 Representatives including Gabby Giffords, does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics, she must be dismissed from politics - she must be repudiated by the members of her own party, and if they fail to do so, each one of them must be judged to have silently defended this tactic that today proved so awfully foretelling, and they must in turn be dismissed by the responsible members of their own party.

If Jesse Kelly, whose campaign against Congresswoman Giffords included an event in which he encouraged his supporters to join him firing machine guns, does not repudiate this, and does not admit that even if it was solely indirectly, or solely coincidentally, it contributed to the black cloud of violence that has envellopped our politics, he must be repudiated by Arizona's Republican Party.

If Congressman Allen West, who during his successful campaign told his supporters that they should make his opponent afraid to come out of his home, does not repudiate those remarks and all other suggestions of violence and forced fear, he should be repudiated by his constituents and the Republican Congressional Caucus.

If Sharron Angle, who spoke of "Second Amendment solutions," does not repudiate that remark and urge her supporters to think anew of the terrible reality of what her words implied, she must be repudiated by her supporters in Nevada.

If the Tea Party leaders who took out of context a Jefferson quote about blood and tyranny and the tree of liberty do not understand - do not understand tonight, now what that really means, and these leaders do not tell their followers to abhor violence and all threat of violence, then those Tea Party leaders must be repudiated by the Republican Party.

If Glenn Beck, who obsesses nearly as strangely as Mr. Loughner did about gold and debt and who wistfully joked about killing Michael Moore, and Bill O'Reilly, who blithely repeated "Tiller the Killer" until the phrase was burned into the minds of his viewers, do not begin their next broadcasts with solemn apologies for ever turning to the death-fantasies and the dreams of bloodlust, for ever having provided just the oxygen to those deep in madness to whom violence is an acceptable solution, then those commentators and the others must be repudiated by their viewers, and by all politicians, and by sponsors, and by the networks that employ them.

And if those of us considered to be "on the left" do not re-dedicate ourselves to our vigilance to eliminate all our own suggestions of violence - how ever inadvertent they might have been then we too deserve the repudiation of the more sober and peaceful of our politicians and our viewers and our networks.

Here, once, in a clumsy metaphor, I made such an unintended statement about the candidacy of then-Senator Clinton. It sounded as if it was a call to physical violence. It was wrong, then. It is even more wrong tonight. I apologize for it again, and I urge politicians and commentators and citizens of every political conviction to use my comment as a means to recognize the insidiousness of violent imagery, that if it can go so easily slip into the comments of one as opposed to violence as me, how easily, how pervasively, how disastrously can it slip into the already-violent or deranged mind?

For tonight we stand at one of the clichéd crossroads of American history. Even if the alleged terrorist Jared Lee Loughner was merely shooting into a political crowd because he wanted to shoot into a political crowd, even if he somehow was unaware who was in the crowd, we have nevertheless  for years been building up to a moment like this.

Assume the details are coincidence. The violence is not. The rhetoric has devolved and descended, past the ugly and past the threatening and past the fantastic and into the imminently murderous.

We will not return to the 1850s, when a pro-slavery Congressman nearly beat to death an anti-slavery Senator; when an anti-slavery madman cut to death with broadswords pro-slavery advocates.

We will not return to the 1960s, when with rationalizations of an insane desire for fame, or of hatred, or of political opposition, a President was assassinated and an ultra-Conservative would-be president was paralyzed, and a leader of peace was murdered on a balcony.
We will not.

Because tonight, what Mrs. Palin, and what Mr. Kelly, and what Congressman West, and what Ms. Angle, and what Mr. Beck, and what Mr. O'Reilly, and what you and I must understand, was that the man who fired today did not fire at a Democratic Congresswoman and her supporters.

He was not just a mad-man incited by a thousand daily temptations by slightly less-mad-men to do things they would not rationally condone.

He fired today into our liberty and our rights to live and to agree or disagree in safety and in freedom from fear that our support or opposition will cost us our lives or our health or our sense of safety. The bullseye might just as well have been on Mrs. Palin, or Mr. Kelly, or you, or me. The wrong, the horror, would have been - could still be just as real and just as unacceptable.

At a time of such urgency and impact, we as Americans - conservative or liberal - should pour our hearts and souls into politics. We should not - none of us, not Gabby Giffords and not any Conservative - ever have to pour our blood. And every politician and commentator who hints otherwise, or worse still stays silent now, should have no place in our political system, and should be denied that place, not by violence, but by being shunned and ignored.

It is a simple pledge, it is to the point, and it is essential that every American politician and commentator and activist and partisan take it and take it now, I say it first, and freely:

Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our Democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or any thing in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence. Because for whatever else each of us may be, we all are Americans.


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