Archive for January 9th, 2011

Who’s Next?

When I heard of the Arizona shooting of 18 people, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, that left 6 dead, I was shocked.  Shocked, but not surprised.  If anything, I was surprised that this next shoe had not fallen sooner.

Maybe Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik at the site of the shooting  has it right when he says, “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.  And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

How can anyone be surprised that people with an unbalanced mind respond violently especially given the manner in which demonization of our political opponents has taken place in the past few years.  I mean, you’ve got Sarah Palin literally targeting Giffords in an ad for the 2010 election, placing her district in her gunsight.  You’ve got entire news networks devoted to destroying one agenda while propping up another, endlessly spitting out hatred without a moment’s rest. 

 Hyperbole rules the day.  There is no nuance, no gray area in our political discourse.  Compromise has become a word to be avoided, a sign of weakness rather than the virtue it once was with politicians of the past.  Think of  Henry Clay who was  called admiringly The Great Compromiser.  That is a thing of the past.  Now, if you’re not with me, you’re against me.  I am trying to save America, you are trying to destroy it.

Is anyone truly surprised that a person, especially one with an unhinging in his mind, who feels as though his voice is lost in the ever more shrill universe he knows ultimately picks up his gun and does the unthinkable?  One who believes every bit of  rhetoric and every caricature of their supposed enemies put forth? 

Are you really surprised?

You will hear a lot of politicos over the next few days and weeks trying to lay aside any responsibility that their words or actions may have contributed to this atmosphere.  They will try to lay the blame solely on this one individual’s unstable mind and try to gloss over the environment they have fostered.  And maybe this is simply a senseless, horrible act of violence with no connection to anything political.  Maybe.  But I doubt it and the least they should take from this is that this may not be the last such scene. 

And that is a sad thing for our country.

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