Monday, January 10, 2011

Breaking The Silence

Six people are dead. A little girl born on THE September 11 is one of them. A woman is fighting for her life and facing recovery from a horrific brain injury.

"It's Sarah Palin's fault!" screams the left.

"The shooter was a Marxist!" screams the right.

The shooter is a disturbed, most likely schizophrenic man. He is clearly sick. What happened in Arizona is not the fault of Sarah Palin or Karl Marx. The toxic rhetoric in this country may have focused this man's disorder on politics, but it could have been anything. It could have been a church, the Safeway grocery chain, an army base, anything that captured his diseased imagination. If we're going to focus on hate speech as the sole cause of this tragedy, then let's be honest. We are all guilty. We don't get to define hate speech as only what the other side spews.

Much has been made of the Sarah Palin hit map but no one has mentioned the Democrat Leadership Committee's 2004 election map. Which is which?

Is it hate speech to hang Sarah Palin in effigy? Or does that get a pass because Palin is odious? How about punishing your enemies at the voting booth? Or bringing your gun to the knife fight? Or blowing up Rush Limbaugh's brain?

My friend Pete pointed out that the media coined the term "battleground states." Politics is war. Not just here, but everywhere. In the US we are lucky to have a reasonable expectation that when we engage in the business of politics we will not be killed for it. We take this for granted and speak in hyperbole with the understanding that people know we don't intend physical harm to George W. Bush when we put his visage in the center of our dartboard. I don't think this guy actually believed that someone would really assassinate our president based on his work.

Hate speech is not the sole vehicle of the right. Both sides engage in violent imagery. Both sides make inappropriate jokes about assassinations and putting the enemy in the crosshairs.

But while we engage in this national debate about who talks the ugliest and how this might have affected a mentally ill young man, six people are dead. A little girl born on THE September 11 is one of them. A woman is fighting for her life and facing recovery from a horrific brain injury.

Stop it. Stop pointing fingers and yelling at each other. Stop looking for problems and start looking for solutions.


  1. Excellently said. It's heartening to read your and Janet Reid's posts tonight. Thanks!

  2. Yes. I scoffed at the "surveyor's marks" at first, 'cause it sounded so lame, but then I went and actually checked, and sure enough, that's what they look like.

    All this blame-before-the-facts is exactly what Sherlock Holmes warned about: "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

    I try not to even listen to it anymore, 'cause whatever happens, including a friggin' tsunami, people in politics use it to bash the other party/country/religion and get knee-jerk reactions out of people. Anything to gain an upper hand while people are actually dying.

  3. I checked out, too. If all anybody wants to do is list grievances, it will go on forever.