Monday, January 10, 2011

Vitriolic Rhetoric

"The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. The vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business...This has not become the nice United States that most of us grew up in. It's not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included. That's the sad thing about what's going on in America: Pretty soon we're not going to be able to find reasonable decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office."
-Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik-
The political debate and opinion about the shootings in Tucson from this past weekend is going to last a long time with both sides of the fence providing argument. Each side has already used the tragedy to further their cause which in and of itself is extremely disappointing. The fact of the matter is that we should all be grieving over the incredibly sad & devastating shootings. It is a dark moment for the United States and humanity in general. There are just no words to be found for a moment like it.

But moving forward (as we must do as a society) - what do we need to learn. Like him or not, Sheriff Dupnik said something incredibly valuable in his above-mentioned statement. Anger, hate and bigotry remain at outrageous levels. And we have allowed our politics to spin more and more frustration out of voters, politicians, and the political process. Instead of disagreeing over healthcare issues - we demonize our opponents and their beliefs. Agreeing to disagree has been eliminated as a viable option. Extremists on the radio and television garner the largest ratings and so networks continue to allow them to run their mouths. The American public willingly allows themselves to be spoon fed hate because it just feels good to find someone to blame for the ill we feel. If we don't like the job we have, the spouse we chose, the insurance we get, or a variety of other issues - we simply point the finger at someone else. Its Obama's fault. Its Pelosi's fault. Its McConnell's fault. Its whoever the "hot ticket" for the opposing party that is to blame. We are so consumed with finger pointing, anger, and frustration that its vitriolic rhetoric that controls the day.

In the end, we are the ones that lose. We may not all be crazy and psychopathic, but so few of us are actually willing to take a strong stance against the shit we get fed each and every day. We have become so self-focused on our own problems that we refuse to see our "opponents" simply as people with different needs, wants and opinions on how to accomplish goals. The best we can hope for from this whole ordeal is the opportunity to start seeing people as people. Use this tragedy as the means for unification and working together for the best of society. Eliminate rage, anger, bitterness, malice, slander, deceit, hypocrisy and general mean spiritness. Let's not look to simply find which political viewpoint deserves the most blame. Instead, let us remember that we are all in this together and perhaps the best thing we can do is unite under the banner of love to move foward.