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 .





Old Enmities, New Violence

13 07 2010

There was violence in the streets in Belfast yesterday. It was the same old grievances being acted upon by a new generation of fighters. I just don’t get it.

As a small child, I remember watching the news as Ireland and North Ireland fought bitterly on the screen. It really upset me because the place where the fighting was going on didn’t look very “foreign” to me. The buildings and homes looked just like areas of the city in which I lived at the time. The people didn’t look very “foreign” either with their jeans and sweatshirts and baseball caps and sneakers. I asked my grandmother why they were fighting and she tried to explain the split between Protestants and Catholics and how two groups who were so similar could hate each other so much and for so long. She did a pretty good job, but that didn’t make the fighting any more sensible to me. I must have been being a pain because my grandmother finally looked at me and said “Every little boy and girl in the world is born the same. No one is better or worse than anyone else. Those people weren’t taught that.” I remember that so well I can almost hear and see her saying it.
Time marches on – I’m now an adult, or should be anyway, with a great interest in world events and foreign policy and my grandmother has been gone for several years now, but this conflict makes no more sense to me now than it did all those years ago in the kitchen of our small, old house. It’s so senseless and it’s been going on as long as I’ve been alive and for ages before that. There are plenty of conflicts that are older than me – Israel/Palestine springs immediately to mind – but, while I find it hard to justify any of them, this one strikes a particular chord with me. I’ve read about it and talked about it and learned about for years, but at the end of the day, I’m just as confused and disgusted as I was when I was following my grandmother around our kitchen peppering her with an endless stream of questions.

There are some articles from the BBC here, here, here, here, and here. I’m sure there will be a statement made by someone of governmental importance and I’ll update with that once I find it.





Beware the Righteous Indignation of Asshats – When “Tea Party” Meets WWF

22 03 2010

Ok. At 11:something pm Sunday, the healthcare reform bill passed the house 219-212. That isn’t in any way an opinion or me being an evil, liberal, ideological, [insert string of politically motivated invectives here], it’s a fact. I like some things about the bill. I don’t like some things about the bill. That’s not what I’m here to fuss about at the moment. I’m here to fuss about wingnut asshats, however, I feel I must first define the term asshat. This definition is from Wikitionary.com and can be found here

Asshat – n. From the slang expression having one’s head up one’s ass, thus, wearing the ass as a hat.

Now that we all know what the word means, let’s look at some current events. Vandals broke windows at the offices of some Democratic Representatives and one Democratic Committee headquarters in New York’s Monroe county. In one of these incidents, a message tied to the brick used to break the window quoted Barry Goldwater’s 1964 speech at the GOP convention – “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” I don’t know about you, but I find that statement frightening, not patriotic. Also, there are reports of racial and anti-gay slurs being directed at democratic members of Congress and the Senate. Apparently some of the representatives were spat at as well. Let’s hear it for civil discourse. While I’m on the topic of civility, I have to also point out the misdeeds of the left as well for the sake of fairness and because this is equal to the others in terms of the capacity this story has to leave me asking “what the hell are people thinking?” Back in September, at a healthcare bill rally in Thousand Oaks, CA, a anti-healthcare bill had his fingertip bitten off during a fist fight with one of the bill’s supporters. I do believe in the right to protest and that dissent is the highest form of patriotism, but spitting, biting, and busting out windows are things I can not condone. That is not dissent. That is not protest. It is pure thuggery committed by hyper-political, over zealous asshats. I do hope that incidents like these stop, but I’m not overly optimistic. Knock it off, people!