About ten minutes after the Tucson shooting, when little information was available and few knew what had happened, the narrative was quickly written by the left: Sarah Palin was responsible. She had posted a map with cross-hairs targeting the Congresswoman and now the Congresswoman had been shot. The connection couldn't be clearer.
Any attempt to argue that perhaps we should wait until all, or even some facts were released about the shooting were met with truly vile responses. If Sarah Palin is responsible for the murders, and you're defending Sarah Palin, then you are complicit too! Any attempt to use arguments to show the same type of rhetoric and imagery had been used by the left was deemed "politicizing" the shooting. Liberals wanted conservatives to be quiet and accept being accused of murder. They wanted Sarah Palin tarred, feathered and removed from the national stage. They would accept nothing less.
As information trickled out and it turned out that the shooter was an atheist, pothead, 9/11 conspiracy theorist, some people altered their "Sarah Palin did it" theories, but only slightly. The popular position on the left became "she may have not been responsible directly, but her rhetoric permeates our political conversations and so she is still ultimately responsible." Despite having zero to do with the shooting, Palin's accusers called on her to, wait for it, apologize. The best part? When Palin finally spoke out, to defend herself from these disgusting, inaccurate and crazy accusations, she was accused of inserting herself into the story and vilified for correctly pointing out that she was being blood libeled. There was just no winning.
Today, six days later, most of the liberals who hysterically pointed fingers at Palin are fairly quiet. Some still sputter about "rhetoric," mostly because they went so far out on a limb with their blame that they're finding it hard to climb back down. I have come across none that have apologized for their despicable actions and none that have realized that it was their rhetoric that causes our country's divide. Instead, there is a call for civility, to put all this behind us and to accept that we're all Americans and we're all in this together.
That's not going to happen.
If the past six days have shown anything it's that most liberals consider conservatives their actual enemies. People I never would have imagined would embrace lunacy and blame Sarah Palin, or me, for the actions of a mentally unstable person opening fire into a crowd did just that and did it so with such venom that I can't imagine ever looking at them the same way again. Now they want to come together and pretend that none of this happened? Now they want to move forward as a country? I don't want to move forward with people who would behave this way. I want to use Obamacare to get them all counseling for their troubled, sick minds. I want apologies for their divisiveness in the face of a tragedy for us all. I want them to see that their finger-pointing prevented us from grieving as a country and getting through this together as a country. I want these people to feel shame that they projected their hatred of Sarah Palin onto an atrocious act by a sick person. And finally, I want all the liberals who didn't speak up and call out their political bedfellows on their twisted accusations to finally do so. I appreciate that not every liberal called Sarah Palin a murderer, but where were most of them in disciplining the ones who did? If a conservative says something outlandish, a line of conservatives instantly forms to denounce them. Where were all the liberals doing the same thing?
If we're going to move forward as a country, all of the above needs to happen first. No thirty-five minute speech by President Obama is going to change that. No conservative is going to forget what happened during this terrible week and the country will not heal until those who caused this deep divide regain their sanity, take responsibility and show some remorse.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.