clarence dupnik

Standing with the Sheriff

There may be a politically active extremist serving as a sheriff in Arizona. But it’s not Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. On the day of the horrific shootings in Tucson that killed 6, critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and injured 13 others, Sheriff Dupnik, visibly shaken, decried the vicious tone that politics has taken recently, especially in his state. He blamed nobody for the murders but the murderer. But, he said, it was time for some national “soul searching.”

When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.

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Let me say one thing, because people tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it's not without consequences.

Many on the Right saw these remarks and reacted not with an honest discussion of responsibility in political speech, but with a campaign to demonize the sheriff. People For’s Right Wing Watch blog has been reporting these reactions…from statements that Sheriff Dupnik was “politicizing” tragedy to implying that the sheriff wants the killer to go free.

People For’s president, Michael Keegan, responded to the smears on Sheriff Dupnik in the Huffington Post yesterday:

Unfortunately, "civil discourse" is exactly what's lost when calls for honesty and responsibility are demonized and belittled. Nobody but Loughner can be blamed for Saturday's violence. But that does not absolve any of us from the duty to consider the impact of our words and to approach political discourse with honesty and responsibility. Sheriff Dupnik deserves to be thanked, not demonized, for telling that uncomfortable truth.

Those who talk openly and honestly about the dangerous strains in our national political discourse and work to start a more responsible political debate aren't politicizing tragedy--they're working to prevent it. Political figures owe this to all of us who want to participate in democracy without fearing for our safety: those who denounce violence should also denounce the rhetoric that can incite it.

We’re asking those who want to stand in solidarity with the sheriff to sign this letter of support: http://site.pfaw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=sheriff
 

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clarence dupnik Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/13/2011, 12:00pm
After President Obama called for more civility and reconciliation in politics and asked Americans to remember the late Christina Taylor Green, saying, “I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it,” right-wing blogs came out swinging and swiftly responded with their predictable enmity. RedState’s Erick Erickson wrote that Obama was the one to atone for his ties to Bill Ayers, and also said that progressives were plotting Sarah Palin’s murder: This is, after all, a man who got his political start in the home of a terrorist who’d dedicated a book to Robert... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 01/13/2011, 12:00pm
After President Obama called for more civility and reconciliation in politics and asked Americans to remember the late Christina Taylor Green, saying, “I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it,” right-wing blogs came out swinging and swiftly responded with their predictable enmity. RedState’s Erick Erickson wrote that Obama was the one to atone for his ties to Bill Ayers, and also said that progressives were plotting Sarah Palin’s murder: This is, after all, a man who got his political start in the home of a terrorist who’d dedicated a book to Robert... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 01/12/2011, 1:46pm
While Sarah Palin tries to make herself out as the real victim of the shootings in Arizona, even going so far as to compare herself to Jewish victims of “blood libels,” the right-wing echo-chamber has been busy spinning the shootings in Tucson. After Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips called Jared Lee Loughner “a liberal lunatic,” conservatives eagerly promoted his claims. NewsMax claimed that Loughner has links to “left-wing politics” since his favorite books include “‘The Communist Manifesto’ by Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler’s... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/11/2011, 12:30pm
After calling for politicians and political commentators to tone down violent and hateful political rhetoric, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is now experiencing himself the force of right-wing hostility and rancor. Dupnik never suggested that the deeply disturbed shooter was directly influenced by political debate, but called into question the use of vicious rhetoric and violent imagery that has become all too commonplace in political discourse today. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country,” Dupnik said, “is getting to be outrageous.... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 01/10/2011, 1:21pm
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s impassioned plea for greater civility and tolerance in politics following the shooting in Arizona has spurred a backlash among far-right politicians and commentators whose campaigns and careers are centered on divisive and indignant rhetoric. Dupnik, who singled out no political party or ideology, condemned the extreme language that could provoke an unhinged individual into violence: “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred,... MORE >