This, taken from a speech today from Barack Obama, isn't just ignorant, it's exploitative and offensive:
"There's also another kind of violence that we're going to have to think about. It's not necessarily the physical violence, but the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways," he said, and goes on to catalogue other forms of "violence."
There's the "verbal violence" of Imus.
There's "the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job is moved to another country."
Ugh. Words aren't violence. And to suggest they are betrays a nonchalance about the First Amendment that's rather disturbing (but not surprising given the generally hysterical reactions to Imus). After all, if words are as bad as guns, if Imus' comments were even remotely comparable to the Virginia Tech slaughter, then words, like guns, should be heavily regulated, right? Or even banned?
The outsourcing line was even worse. No one has the "right" to be paid by someone else for their labor. Employment in a free market is peaceful and voluntary, on both sides. So is the decision to stop that agreement, both for the laborer, who may find a better job, or for the employer, who may find someone who can do the job better, or cheaper, or both. There's nothing remotely violent about any of it. To compare a business decision to employ cheaper labor to the senseless slaughter of innocents--even if by way of tortured, nonsensical metaphor--is really reprehensible. It reeks of exploitation. "See, the people who are really upset about this massacre, the people who really care about the victims, they vote for me, and take the same position I do on controversial issues."
Also, does this also make the poor people in developing countries who take outsourced jobs complicit in the "violence?"
Jesus. Couldn't the politicians wait a full 48 hours before propping up the dead for campaign speeches?
Ben Smith suggests this speech showcases what many people love about Obama. To me, it shows that the guy is still bush-league.