Twenty People Were Shot and Some Fools are Still at it With the Demonizing.

8 01 2011

I’ve been following this on CNN.
That’s Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Three days ago she was sworn into her third term in Congress. Yesterday she read the first amendment on the floor of the House of Representatives. Today she was shot in the head by a nut. That nut apparently shot nineteen other people as well and six of them, including a federal judge and a nine-year old girl, are reported dead. It goes without saying that my thoughts are with the victims and their families. You’d think we as a nation would step back, take a deep breath and say “Dude, what the hell are we doing? Demonizing public officials only creates an atmosphere that sets volatile crazies off and then people get hurt. We need too calm down.”

Nope!

People are already trying to sniff out his political affiliation so they can add that to the long list of why everyone on the left or the right – wherever he happens to fall – should be despised, written off, imprisoned, stripped of citizenship, charged with treason, etc. They see this as the perfect time to ratchet up the vitriol to deliver the knockout punch. Yes, please, by all means, let’s make the country so polarized that every individual with an iffy grasp of their sanity goes off and shoots an elected official because that’s obviously what civilized societies do when everyone doesn’t agree. How much more wrong can they be and how much longer are they going to stay that way?

It isn’t a conservative/liberal thing. It’s the tainted nature of the discourse that’s the problem. Pundits on the left and right, I’m taking about you. I don’t care if this guy was a “Takin’ my country back,” or a “They’re trying to take my country away and turn back the clock to 1776,” person. The result was tragic, why make it worse. There is no dishonor in not calling someone evil. Since when does name-calling equal strength anyway?  I hope we learn how to disagree politically without disparaging each other to no end, but I’m hardly optimistic. We’ve had this conversation before and, if nothing changes regarding the way we treat each other and our elected officials, I feel we will be having this conversation again as more people will be hurt .

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7 responses

9 01 2011
A.J. O'Connell

This is a great post. The more fanatical people become, the more this sort of thing will happen, and that’s just horribly sad.

9 01 2011
discourseincsharpminor

The thing that bugs me is that plenty of noble nobodies like myself can write great posts on why the political power brokers on either need to step back and think before they speak or post something on facebook or twitter, but as soon as one does, it’s news because no one really cares what a nobody has to say. We’re going to have to wait for one of these wingnuts to have an epiphany about their words having meaning and consequences. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that one.

9 01 2011
A.J. O'Connell

You’re not a nobody. You’re a citizen with an opinion. You’re championing rational, reasonable behavior in this blog post, and that’s refreshing.

If enough of us champion rational thought, it will be harder for the fear-mongerers and knee-jerk demonizers to be heard.

9 01 2011
discourseincsharpminor

This is all I’ve got – my little patch of the blogosphere – and the those who traffic in off the wall, extreme partisan, incendiary language have large swathes of mass media at their disposal. It’s not really a fair fight. There is really only one person associated with political media (however loosely) that is calling for a normalizing of diplomatic relations between the right and left wings.

Yep, Jon Stewart, and you know it’s bad when the comedian is saying ‘Hey, back off a bit. You’re all acting a little crazy.’

10 01 2011
stacyx

Great post.

It doesn’t matter what his political affiliation is,
the rhetoric has gotten out of control. There is no
need to use violent imagery when talking about politics.
There is no need to talk of govt takeovers, overthrows
or anything else. Honestly, while the left has its windbags
the right of late is worse- sarah palin’s target list
was simply irresponsible no matter what she meant.

10 01 2011
discourseincsharpminor

Sarah Palin adores controversy. I think we will see a lot more of the gun imagery and “reload” slogans from her and her ilk. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if crosshairs started appearing on actual pictures of candidates she doesn’t support next time. She’ll take it a step or two further in the next few days and, thanks to the enormous megaphone of mass media she has, we’ll all be along for the ride. She’s the political version of Kathy Griffin – loud, obnoxious, and will take an issue, a stand, or a comment as far as she possibly can.

This whole argument of “is the political culture at the moment partially to blame” reminds me of the debate about whether the “heroin chic” look of the nineties had anything to do with the uptick in heroin use and drug-related deaths. The fashion industry insisted that it was in no way guilty and still kept cranking out ads full of rail-thin models who looked strung out all while saying no one in the fashion world condoned the behavior it was referencing. It’s the same here. If you have people talking about revolution and second amendment – I’m not sure of the quote – solutions, responses, something like that, yeah, 99% of the populations recognizes the political theater of it. However, there is that 1% who start believing it’s true and might actually think about arming themselves either to help “take back America” or to try to prevent the take back from happening. To deny that, whether that was this particular individual’s motive or not, is unwise and irresponsible. Speech like the whole SarahPAC “crosshair” ad, protected and legal though it is, is a time bomb. Somethings don’t need to be illegal to be a bad idea.

13 01 2011
Chaos, Snow, and the Merchant of Hate « Discourse in C# Minor

[…] too much going on in the aftermath of the shooting in Arizona, my previous post‘s topic not to go back to it and, since I couldn’t do much other than dig out […]

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