Monday, January 10, 2011

You Know I Gotta Say Something

First, my deepest sympathies to all the families and friends of those who were lost in Tuscon.

My best wishes for full recoveries for those injured.

May you gather strength from those who love you, whether you know them or not.

I saw a brief tidbit I think on my Twitter stream shortly after the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and the others, to the effect of: "The left hopes it's a Tea Partier and the right hopes it's a Mexican or a Muslim."

And now, even that doesn't matter as we devolve into a childish morass of "your side does it too!" and "your side does it more!"

(Mom! He's touching me, make him stop touching me! Not touching you!)

The left, the right are treated like they are some sort of single minded Borg, every mind lock stepped with certain beliefs.

But, there are two things going on here:

1. The shooting.
2. Reflections on the shooting.

Okay? These are two completely separate things.

The shooting itself, and the information coming out about the young man who carried out this horrible crime, indicates that he was a young man in serious need of some mental help, who has been, for years acting out, essentially jumping up and down and screaming, "Hey y'all, I'm fucking crazy!".

And much like the young man who killed so many at Virginia Tech a few years ago, we wept, we gnashed our teeth, we rent our clothes and then promptly forgot all about what we said about needing more resources for mental health issues. (And these days, haha, good luck with that.)

The initial assumptions made in the aftermath of the shootings, linking it to Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" map that Congresswoman Gifford herself was uneasy about and other divisive political rhetoric and the tendency over the last couple of years to use more and more violent imagery in words and signs, may have been hasty applied to THIS YOUNG MAN.

But, even if neither left nor right rhetoric spurred him on, can we not discuss how awful it has become?

Just because it wasn't the reason he acted out, does that mean we can't say, hey, maybe this kind of violent imagery and demonizing fellow Americans could be, say, maybe bad for everyone's mental health and perhaps dangerous for those with mental disorders?

Can we just not say, yes, I'm guilty, you're guilty, let's stop counting how many times we each were guilty and start from here?

It's no secret that I lean to the left. But I have grown just as sick and tired of Olbermann and Maddow as I have of Beck and Palin. (And I have to give Olbermann credit for his speech apologizing for anything he may have said that used violent imagery, because we all know that apologizing in this country is one of those things we give lip service too - we pretend it's the honorable, noble thing to do, but once someone does, we think of them as spineless and caving in. So in my view, that earns Olbermann double points.)

But we need begin with stopping all the "the left does this" and "the right does that". We need to point to individuals who are saying violent and destructive things and tell THAT PERSON to stop. Don't click on that news story on whatever website you visit. If you are on mailing lists for pundits who engage in this type of behavior, ask to be removed. Look up your representatives' emails and when they say something destructive, write them. It'd take less time than you spend playing Farmville, I'm sure.

If you engage in political debate, consciously try to present your opinion without the code words that have become so common: libtard, conservaturd.

Let's act like grown ups people. And that means taking responsibility for yourself, your words and calling others on using destructive speech.

There is a vast difference between: I feel the tax cuts should be extended because...

and: All you libtards just want free money to give to welfare bums.

That's all I'm saying.

Thor sez: But doggies don't bury their poop!


Anonymous said...

Personalize responsibility ....... I consider myself a conservative HOWEVER...... As you so eloquently said there is plenty of blame to go around.....we ALL need to think before we speak.....and I don't mean "be politically correct".....just think before we is not a contest to see who can be the most sarcastic the fastest.....therre are many things we can legally say....but they may not be moral.....respectful....kind....or edifying....
Thanks for always making us think....God Bless,
Pam, South Bend

Susan said...

Amen. Manners all around and accepting responsibility for one's own actions...including what comes out of one's mouth.

Pat said...