Civility. Vitriol. These words have been thrown around with howling frequency since the horrendous shooting in Tuscon. The media, principally the mainstream left, have spewed the public with charges that “conservative-speak” is somehow responsible for the actions of a deranged psychopath. The progressive left has seized on the heinous act of a madman to stir the political pot by alleging that the highly charged political atmosphere contributed or is responsible for the tragedy. One can almost hear the sentiment of Raum Emanual: Never let a good crisis go to waste!
Issues that never seem to fade away, like gun control and mental health awareness, are back in the forefront. The House vote on healthcare repeal is being questioned by the left…..how could a GOP House vote on such a contentious issue at the time of national crisis and grief when Gabby Griffords struggles to survive and 6 others, including a federal judge and a nine year-old girl, paid the ultimate price for a lunatic’s scheme?
There is no doubt that the 24/7 news cycle has offered many opinions and has pushed agendas. But, let’s not forget that almost all of the mainstream media is tilted towards the left….as is the Obama administration. It is the common perception fairly held by the majority of the nation. So, does the progressive media have a valid point in its criticism of “conservative-speak?” Sarah Palin came under immediate attack from the left for her use of “sights” over an US map showing where the GOP was putting emphasis to oust an incumbent Democrats in the recent mid-terms. The local sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, fanned the fires openly stating that he believed the national discourse was responsible for the shooter’s motives. And the debate rages on!
There is no doubt that passions run high in our country. But, it is blatantly unfair to attribute the act of a madman to the rhetoric. I don’t recall this much furor when a terrorist killed 13 people in Fort Hood, Texas. Nor was there this much discussion when another psychopath killed 32 people at Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
At the memorial for the fallen and wounded, President Obama did a good job of trying to bring the country together with a well-delivered speech (albeit, too long) amid the cheers and hooting of a raucous, boisterous audience at the University of Arizona. In the beginning of his speech, Obama was clearly put off by the tone of the crowd. It seems too celebratory…not somber enough for the tragic occasion. It had the feel of a pep rally….I almost expected to see cheerleaders doing cart-wheels and hand-stands. Like all good politicians, Obama overcame his discomfort with the crowd and addressed the audience with energy and compassion.
So, is there one person, one group, or one party to blame for the Tuscon tragedy? Of course not! But before the left casts stones from their big, glass houses, they had better be prepared to defend their own use of metaphors and images that one could argue are not contributing to “Civility” in our national discourse. Montel Williams suggested that Michele Bachmann should “slit her wrists!” Chris Matthews said a co2 pellet should explode Rush Limbaugh’s head like a blimp! Bill Mahr wondered why Heath Ledger died from Oxycontin and not Rush. And, The Ed Show suggested that Cheney’s heart should be ripped out, kicked around, and stuffed back in him! Nice, right! No vitriol there!!!
Even President Obama has used phrases that one could argue are inflammatory:
During the campaign: If they bring a knife…..we will bring a gun!
To his followers about getting out the message: Get in their faces!
To the voters: Republican victory would mean hand-to-hand combat!
To Latino voters: Punish your enemies!
To his democratic base: I’m itching for a fight!
I say so what!!!! Symbolism, metaphors, and figures of speech are a common practice. In and of themselves, they are just useful ways to make a point. To suggest that they can be used as excuses for the actions of demented individuals is ridiculous. Sure, some are in poor taste! But, this is America. Free speech is a fundamental right of all Americans.
Maybe the reason the rhetoric has been elevated in the past two years is due to the unpopular policies that the Obama administration has pushed down the throats of the American public. Does Obamacare ring a bell!! Let’s not forget how Pelosi poisoned the well of discourse when the GOP was left out of the loop in crafting a HUGE bill that she said we would understand after it was passed. It seems to me that the policies of Obama and the progressive left are responsible for the increase in negative rhetoric and anger.
A little balance, please. And a little less inflammatory language. A little more bipartisanship! Everyone needs to tone it down a little. EVERYONE!