Republicans and their tea-drinking acolytes have been in a self-righteous uproar over the two weeks since the Tucson amoklauf, convinced that the liberal rush to judgment that blamed the shootings on right-wing rhetoric portended a campaign against freedom of speech. The right wing will be silenced, many seem to fear, on the ground that forcefully expressed anti-statist rhetoric is an infallible incitement to violence. Much of the narcissistic defensiveness voiced over the last fortnight insists on the right to state one's mind as bluntly or harshly as the situation and principles dictate, without fear of reprisal.
One of the first to offend the rightists was the sheriff of Pima County, who within hours of the amoklauf had blamed it on talk-radio "vitriol" and an atmosphere of bigotry in Arizona. Strong words, those, and sharply stated, albeit highly debatable. And now the local Tea Partiers want to recall him from office. For "politicizing the shootings" and offending reactionaries in the course of speaking his mind, the sheriff should lose his job. So the people who say that the right should be held to account for what they say should be held to account, but the right shouldn't be held to account. Do I understand this correctly? As the tag says, there's an irony here, but there are also stronger words to describe it.