The attack was an assault on every American and every aspect of American life. It was not an act of violence against Democrats, Republicans, whites, blacks, Southerners, New Englanders, Muslims, Christians, heterosexuals or homosexuals. It was not an attack upon any of the too many divisions that we differentiate each other by. It was simply an attack on life as we know it.
Yet in what has become an increasing tendency to divide and take sides, many factions on the political left have chosen to exploit this national tragedy and use it to score political points in a game that tries to conquer by dividing. The bodies of six victims were barely cold before individuals tried to make the right a target of accusations. We hardly knew the name of the innocent nine year old girl who was shot and killed before extremists on the left uttered the name Sarah Palin and tried to connect political discourse to senseless violence. We hardly knew the full number of victims before some exploiters tried to turn human tragedy in to political benefit and hypocritically enhance the divide that defines the ideological discourse that exists in America today.
What I found most surprising in the immediate fallout of the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gifford was how the majority of our political leaders acted unusually more responsibly than much of the public. Instead of being political, our political leadership acted responsibly and compassionately, while certain sectors of the public acted with sharp tongued political precision. Be it Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner, ideological division was replaced with a call for respectful condolences.
But since then , the public debate driven by the left has been based on a storyline that claims political discourse has turned into public violence because of conservative sentiments. Some fronts claim that political violence is on the rise because of racial intolerance of our nation having its first African-American President. Other quarters claim that political violence exists because of rising conservative oriented anti-government sentiments.
Yet in their hatred of the right, the left neglects to hold itself accountable for the words of those within their own ranks. They neglect to include the rhetoric of the Barack Obama supporting New Black Panther Party which has called for the killing of white babies. They neglect to mention the words of a black rap artist who after President Obama won the election declared it is time we get the whites out of the White House or the words of former liberal Congressman Allan Grayson who stood on the House floor and declared that the Republican Party wants you dead. They neglect to mention the words of Hillary Clinton who tried to explain away the perjury of her husband by claiming the inception of a “vast right wing conspiracy”. The left neglects to mention the countless bombings carried out by the leftwing, anti-government Weather Underground and its friend of President Obama, Bill Ayers. Those who wish to try to blame the bloodbath in Tucson on conservatives overlook even the earliest of facts surrounding the event. They overlook the fact that the preferred reading material of the lone gunman, Jared Loughner, was not a book by Glenn Beck or a speech by Sarah Palin but the rather Mein Kampf and The Communist manifesto.
Let their be no denying that political divisions obviously do exist. They always have and they always will. If you think thepolitical rhetoric of today is over the top, review the dialogue and debate involved the discourse of the election of 1800. If you would like a real example of real political violence, the experience of the oxymoronic period of American history known as the Civil War is one example. That was political division. But to define ideological dialogue and commentary as the root cause of true evil in our society is a disingenuous and simplistic exploitation of human suffering.
To accuse a Glenn Beck of inciting violence when he calls for political “revolution” after specifically stating that violence is not the answer, is nothing more than political exploitation, it is not a sincere representation of reality. The tabloid talking heads like Beck, Limbaugh, George Schultz, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Jack Cafferty, and others are indeed representative of passionate political pros, but they can not be blamed for pulling a trigger that kills the constituent service aide of a Congresswoman.
In a day and age when commentary, opinion and news is overloaded by 24 hour news cycles, the internet, blogs, cable television, and radio, the mantra of “if it reads it bleeds” is truer than ever. In order for ones message to be heard over the static of over saturation, public figures are often forced to use forceful rhetoric and while that is not an excuse for irresponsible language, it is a cause for written and verbal flourishes that evoke colorful but symbolic imagery. If such rhetorical language is suddenly unacceptable, then maybe it is time for our society to tackle its interminable case of attention deficit disorder. Maybe it is time for society to put our priorities in order and instead of making stars out of the casts of scripted “reality” shows and highlighting the asinine and dangerous stunts of the cast of Jackass, and start focusing in on actual reality.
Perhaps the violence of the Youtube generation is due to the proliferation of idiocy and violence that is glamorized by an entertainment industry that rewards rappers for singing tunes about women being “hoes” and “bitches”. But to blame a Sarah Palin for an assassination attempt because she “targeted” her political beliefs, is nothing but a shameful scapegoat and example of despicable political exploitation at a time when we must be united in prayer for the lives lost and the ones hanging in the balance after an act of violence that is tied to the hands of one man who was the leader of no political Party and the voice of no group of sane Americans.
The shooting rampage that Jared Lee Loughner went on is something that should be prosecuted, it is not something that should be exploited for the shallowness of empty political rhetoric and superficial electoral divisions. If we are to combat future such tragedies we must deal with the facts not the partisan political emotions that shroud the facts and cloud the real reasons behind another day of violence in America.