Last week, in the land of gaffes, Keith Olbermann delivered another of his much-lauded (by some) “Special Comments” about Hillary Clinton’s use of the word “assassination” in this political campaign. While thought-provoking to a point, Olbermann’s Special Comments are obviously more of an Editorial than actual Journalism:
Senator, we cannot forgive you this.
“You know, my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.”
We cannot forgive you this — not because it is crass and low and unfeeling and brutal.
This is unforgivable, because this nation’s deepest shame, its most enduring horror, its most terrifying legacy, is political assassination.
Martin Luther King.
And, but for the grace of the universe or the luck of the draw, Reagan, Ford, Truman, Nixon, Andrew Jackson, both Roosevelts, even George Wallace.
The politics of this nation is steeped enough in blood, Senator Clinton, you cannot and must not invoke that imagery! Anywhere! At any time!
Our “deepest shame?” Our “most enduring horror?” Really? Someone lend Mr. Olbermann a history book. While political assassinations are an abominable instance that have recurred in our history, I can certainly think of at least two historical references that are much more shameful, horrible, enduring, and a “terrifying legacy.”
One of those is, obviously, slavery.
One other enduring, horrible legacy of the United States is that we idly stood by while Jews were slaughtered by the millions in WWII Germany. Not until our own physical security was breached at Pearl Harbor did we deign to go to the aid of the Poles, Jews, and Homosexuals that were systematically butchered by the Nazis. The fact that we waited so damned long contributed to the popularization of the phrase, “Never Again,” originally coined by Meir Kahane.
While I hate to offend Mr. Olbermann’s sensibilities, Meir Kahane was also assassinated. In New York.
And yet Barack Obama’s false assertion that his own uncle was part of the “American forces” that liberated not just any concentration camp, but Auschwitz itself, escapes Mr. Olbermann’s scathing comment.
It was the Russian army that liberated Auschwitz, not the Americans. And it has always been, to me, an unwritten rule that you do not refer to Auschwitz unless you know what the hell you’re talking about. While Bobby Kennedy’s assassination is indeed an enduring and horrible image, for many, many Americans, the gas chambers and ovens of Auschwitz are far more horrifying.