One topic is likely dominating a lot of conversations this weekend and into this morning. I know the Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was on my mind since I heard about it earlier in the weekend. My first thought was…enough is enough.
Matt Lauer and many others have pointed out, rightly so, that there is no evidence this shooting was politically motivated. Sarah Palin is not to blame for this shooting. We just don’t know. However, a Member of Congress was assassinated. That deserves further examination.
We have taken debate in this country to a new low. Many of us listen to talk radio or to the 24 hour news stations with some disdain as the volume and rhetoric get dialed up and the quality of the debating sinks into the mud. The people who encourage this kind of debate by using incendiary language and violent tone know EXACTLY what they are doing. They’re acting like idiots, but they’re not stupid.
They say what they say to make money. Regardless of this young man’s specific motivation, I wonder if it’s time to step back and hold some of the people driving the debate accountable. Is the radio host who opposes abortion and same sex marriage really telling you the facts, or is he glossing over facts to give you his interpretation?
Does the author of an incendiary Newspaper column that accuses Conservative leaders of “murdering” thousands of American service personal in an “Unjust war” any less responsible for the tone of this kind of debate?
Heck, Rep Kevin McCarthy and other Democrats went on TV the other day and said that Republicans want to , “kick kids out of Pre-school”. McCarthy is a smart man. He know that’s not what the plan really is. So the question for McCarthy and anyone else who engages in this kind of debate is: do they think their own argument isn’t good enough to make a case? Or do they think voters are dumb/lazy enough to buy the argument?
Part of this is up to the consumers of information. There’s more of it out there and it’s harder to discern what information is “true”. That is also a matter of perspective. So free speech is getting harder. It takes a more engaged electorate to challenge it’s elected officials and each other.
If nothing else this incident should serve as a reminder. Words and symbols matter.
We didn’t have it in our newscast but I wanted to mention to anyone interested. You may not have heard, Maj Dick Winters died January 2nd of this year. If the name sounds familiar it may be because you saw the Band of Brothers Series on HBO.
Winters was the character featured as the commanding officer of Easy Company. I never had the chance to meet him but I grew to admire him after reading a couple of books about his service. Winters embodies all of the qualities that helped The US won WWII and helped earn his contemporaries the label “The Greatest Generation”