Monday, January 10, 2011

Flames of Prayer

The entirety of the state of Arizona is in shock over the unfathomable events that transpired not even 48 hours ago. The dust from the vicious, inexplicable attacks on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has not settled yet, but the ramifications of the event are already becoming clear. As a nation, it seems that we have begun to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror, and to paraphrase Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, we need to do a little bit of soul searching as a nation.

Unfortunately, some people are still stuck in their political bunker mentality, a warped state of mind that produces a toxic atmosphere. That is the message I glean from looking through the comments on multiple news websites.

It has been reported that Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged perpetrator, read the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. Wannabe pundits use that as a tool to blame either the Right or the Left, depending on which one is politically convenient for them at the time. It is patently absurd to imply that because someone read a book, they instantly became followers of that philosophy, without any influence from people in the outside world. Yet, since Loughner read a book, he's a left-wing radical—or a right-wing fascist cracker, take your pick.

Even if they don't directly attribute the criminal act to the opposing political philosophy, they refer to this assassin as a "left-wing madman" or "right-wing madman" to make the other party look bad. In reality, the only adjective that works here is "madman;" nothing more is needed.

That is exactly what the Pima Sheriff lamented: The political atmosphere has become toxic. America has become dominated by a sports-based political system: My team are the "good guys who want to save our country", while your team are the "evil bad guys who want to ruin our country". Neither side of the political spectrum even considers the possibility that the other side cares about this country as much as they do, just considers a different solution to be optimal. The media encourages us to villainize those who disagree with us, instead of trying to find a middle ground. We have an opportunity to pull together and figure out how to resolve our differences with decorum. However, I've also seen too much finger-pointing going on, which only perpetuates the problem.

It is in this atmosphere that ridiculous absolute statements such as "the government wants to slave us all", or "corporations want to slave us all" take root. It doesn't take much for somebody who has some loose screws to believe this garbage, and decide to act irrationally.

If this situation doesn't change, will we need to ask what's next? Or rather, will the appropriate question be who is next?

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Tolerance is a word that needs to be added to the American dictionary.