I have to talk about this. If you don't appreciate my political opinions, and you think this might put a bad taste in your mouth, close this window and move on to something else. This is too important to ignore.
Last weekend, Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford (a Democrat from Arizona) was hosting a public town-hall event at a grocery store in Tucson. A young man named Jared Lee Loughner shot her point blank in the back of her head with a semi-automatic weapon. In the process, he also killed six people and injured 13 others. One of the victims was nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green. She was born on September 11, 2001 and was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project.
We MUST talk about this senseless act of violence. It was clearly politically motivated. We don't know if Loughner was motivated by any particular politician or commentator, and we might never know. But it doesn't change the fact that the rhetoric in this county is out of control. That it wouldn't hurt a single one of us to dial back a bit and make sure we always communicate in a respectful manner.
With power, comes responsiblity.
I listen to the radio talk show host Ed Schultz regularly. He is very progressive, and very loud. And sometimes he's kind of arrogant, but I think he's spot-on with the issues of the day. Yesterday, when I tuned in to hear him, his message was basically this (paraphrased, of course): He said that everyone with a microphone has a responsibility, himself included. He said that he spent a big part of the weekend in self-reflection. He acknowledged that he's a partisan commentator, and has crossed the line in the past, and said that it was a good opportunity for him to consider how he relays his message.
Brilliant. Thank you, Ed. It's exactly what I wanted to hear from you. In light of such tragedy, some humility.
I'm not playing the Blame Game. It's not that I'm not interested. It's not that I don't care. It's just that there is no evidence. But every politician and commentator, in this world of communication and transparency, should take this opportunity to check themselves. It would be great to hear more apologies. In the future, I will expect more. If there is a chance that rhetoric could lead to actual violence, then it would be a good idea to withhold the angry, hateful speech, lest someone consider it a call to action and more people get hurt.
Christina Taylor Green's entry in Faces of Hope, reads: "I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles."
May her legacy change the world.