Plato’s Cave And Political Speech Review

Plato’s Cave And Political Speech

Plato’s allegory of the cave is applicable to many situations and events and has been used to comment on the political state of unions throughout the history of time. The most recent and tragic event of the assassination attempt of Gabrielle Giffords, amongst others, brought to light the ignorance of controversial politician Sara Palin. In articles by Mort Rosenblum and Cathy Lynn Grossman following the shooting of Giffords, a call for action against Palin and mindless calls for violence is analyzed.

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Rosenblum points out Giffords political stance on several issues, which often differ from the popular view and opinion of Arizonan politicians. Rosenblum notes the irony of two of Giffords’ political priorities, “sensible gun control and public healthcare for the mentally fragile” (Rosenblum 2011). It is a lack of support on both these issues that led to Giffords’ shooting by Jared Loughner. Giffords attack my attributed to political reasons as Palin often advocated the use of violence to convey political ideas and ideals. Palin is quoted to have approved and advocated the political message, “Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly” (Rosenblum 2011). If the power of speech, especially one of a person of power, presence, and authority, is any indication of how people interpret ideas and messages, real or imagined, then Palin should have realized that her comments have consequences.

Those people enamored by Palin’s political views and positions had a harsh awakening. Much criticism and blame was also placed on Palin and her response, or lack thereof, to the event. When Palin did finally make a statement regarding the tragic event, she denied any responsibility and claimed herself a victim of a “blood libel.” What Palin does not realize is that she brought the blame upon herself through political speech that incited political action through violence. Furthermore, Palin had a map on her website, which was taken down after the Tucson shootings, in which Tea Party targets were identified by name and location with cross-hairs placed over the cities which they represented. Palin’s aide Rebecca Mansour states, that they “never, ever, intended it to be gun sights. It was simply cross hairs like you’d see on maps” (Grossman 2011). While it is true that a cross-hair icon is sometimes used on maps, the on Palin’s map were specifically designed to look like gun crosshairs. If her and her political party’s intent was to simply identify where these districts and representatives were located, why not simply use a dot?

Only time will tell how the public will respond to Palin’s choice of words, political strategy, and ability to accept some sort of responsibility. The utilization and comparison of Plato’s cave analogy will hopefully bring to light the faults present within her political “plan” and let the people mindlessly following and accepting her ideologies. People such as Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, the president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership points out that it is Palin’s own “violent political language” that endangers people and that her words are “affirming exactly what her critics charge” (Grossman 2011).

It is the responsibility of those in charge, those with a voice, to watch what they say or what they do. It is ignorant of them to think that their words have no bearing or power especially if they are advocating action.

Reference List:

Grossman, C. (2011). Sarah Palin’s ‘blood libel’ claim stirs controversy. USA Today.

Retrieved from

Rosenblum, M. (2011). In Giffords shooting, ironies abound: Gun control & health care for mentally fragile among priorities. TucsonSentinel.com. Retrieved from

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