1) It is often used to negate the blame for something (usually embarrassing or personally offensive) that the speaker has just said as it should be obvious that it is true and needed to be said; as in: "He's a worthless, lazy, two-faced, prevaricator. Bless his heart!"It is my belief that this phrase is probably being used all over the south today in the second context with regards to a certain former half-term governor of the state of Alaska. I sometimes wonder if she is quite all there.
2) It is sometimes used to indicate that the speaker believes that someone is just not quite up to snuff mentally; as in: "She just keeps touching that wet paint, bless her heart!"
3) It is also sometimes used to indicate that the speaker believes you to be beneath contempt and is done speaking with you; as in "Well! Okay then! Bless your heart."
There are any number of reasons one might make this assessment. The one that caught my attention today was part of the video she posted basically disavowing herself of any blame for the shootings in Arizona. It is not as if people are blaming her for buying the shooter the bullets. The arguments I have been hearing (and the ones I have been making) is that she is a part of the problem.
It is the overall vitriol of the political discourse these days that I (and others like me) object to. But Ms. Palin fails to see that the acerbic rhetoric comes from BOTH sides of the argument. She seems to be oblivious to the fact that the overall level of the public discourse has sunk to such a level that the gutter would be sever steps up! She does not seem to understand that pundits (oh, and Sarah, there is only one 'n' in that word… the word is not 'pundint.') on both sides have gotten further from civil as the years have gone on.
But the argument that was laughable in her statements today was when she sarcastically asked what more civil time we (those of us suggesting that the political atmosphere really needs to calm down a bit.) might want to go back to. She suggests in a rather snarky manner that we might want to return to a time when political disagreements were settled with dueling pistols.
Aside from the fact that it was generally personal disagreements rather than political ones that were settled this way, it is really missing the point. No, Sarah, we're not suggesting we return to the days of deuling. We're also not suggesting that we return to the days when Todd would have proposed by hitting you over the head with a club and dragging you by your hair to his cave. (Though with some of your professed beliefs, I am not entirely sure that your engagement didn’t begin this very way.)
There was a time in our country when the political discourse was at least covered in a veneer of civility. Do you remember the days when presidential debates were actual debates where candidates answered questions about the issues and didn't just use them as platforms to spout spurious charges and to repeat their talking points ad nauseum? Do you remember when debate was debate and not a slanging match?
I'm tired of tuning to one network and getting noting but the republican talking points, turning to another and hearing only the democratic talking points, and turning to a third and hearing only conjecture. What happened to the days of Point/Counterpoint where the network presented both sides of the discussion and allowed the viewers to make-up their own minds?
Those days have been swept away in a tide of partisanship on the major news networks. Bloviating passes as reporting. Debate has been replaced by yelling, finger-pointing, and pontificating. I'm sorry to single you out, Ms. Palin, but you seem to ignore the fact that YOU ARE a part of the problem. The problem exists on both sides of the political discourse; you seem to be the most vocal is decrying any responsibility. Being centrist, I will be the first to say that pundits on both sides are responsible. When one goes too far off center, they have still gone too far regardless of which way they have gone.
I now step down off the soap box. PLEASE dial it down a bit. Everyone!
Wherever you are today, whatever your political views, I certainly hope that you will do your part to return civility to the public discourse!
Don Bergquist - January 13, 2011 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA