The politics of tragedy

Trudy Rubin had a good reason in her editorial republished in the Spokesman-Review this 15th of January 2011 to criticize the “conservative” pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and etc. over their reaction to “the (old) left” in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona rampage of last Saturday.  That instead of considering the victims and those who survived them, Limbaugh and etc. took the opportunity to start wringing their hands, crying foul, and attacking “the (old) left” for pushing as much violence as they accused the “conservatives” of doing.  Well, it really can not be spun or denied as Ms. Rubin did note that violent imagery was a fact in any number of “TEA Party” backed races, inclusive of former Governor Palin’s own website:  SarahPAC.  Nor can it be spun or denied that Representative Giffords (D. Arizona) only faced the fact that her district office was vandalized following her vote on Health Care Reform.  Violence was encouraged in 2010.  And violence was only followed through on in January of 2011.

Is there a direct or immediate correlation between Jared Loughner’s shooting rampage at that Tucson, Arizona store that killed six and injured 13 to partisan affiliation?  Not necessarily.  But the radicals such as Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, etc. who were certainly well aware of the promotion of “second amendment remedies,” none the less engaged in a pre-emptive strike.  You (the old left) can only criticize us at your peril.  Where ultimately, for anyone of a more rational mind, the new radicals will have managed to draw that correlation between Loughner’s deranged behavior in trying to take out (and succeeding in Judge Roll’s case) government officials and their own past political attitudes.  The more a Charen or a Krauthammer rants, the more that Ms. Palin puts out a whiny self-serving website video, the more it is going to be argued that Loughner could indeed have taken his cues from the kind of people named above.  In short, in this last week, the new radicals such as Limbaugh and Co. did themselves no favors.

While Ms. Rubin did not discuss President Obama’s presence and the memorial service for the fallen in Tucson, Arizona in any great detail, outside of his presenting a healing message; she did not discuss at all those members of the news media that looked for something political in that service to rant about.    But Jon Stewart (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) did.  He featured in particular David Gergen and Michael Gerson as among those talking heads (from CNN to Fox News) as highly critical of how the service was conducted including the behavior of the audience.  They were liking it to a political campaign or a pep rally.  If there was anything “appalling,” it was a 24/7 “news” network such as CNN that would immediately put political pundits on the air to dissect or deconstruct from a highly political position, all that went on at that service.  Again, it was more as though they were advancing their own agenda rather than truly considering what these people had actually gone through.  They had lost loved ones.  They almost lost a member of Congress.  A little girl died.  Did we really need a political analysis of a memorial service?  More appropriate, would have been a political analysis of former Governor Palin, Mr. Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Mona Charen, Charles Krauthammer…  The people who went on the hysterical attack because Loughner, long before he went out to kill a member of government, was expressing a general rage of the government.  A rage very similar to that of Gingrich and Co.  So, why go on the attack like this when the focus should have been on the victims?  Why the “don’t blame me” attitude coming from the new radicals?  I’m sure that Ms. Rubin would also like to know.

Years earlier, when Samantha Smith drowned her children, then House Speaker Newt Gingrich was quick to step up and blame our “liberal” culture for this tragedy.  At one time, anti-abortionists blamed child abuse and all other cultural horrors on the permissiveness regarding “choice” that leads to abortion.  Of course only “the (old) left” can be blamed for the sort of nightmare that faces this society today.  We might dare to elect Democrats for presidents.  We might turn the majority control of Congress over to Democrats.  We might decide for a change, to elect a young mixed race African-American to the highest office in the land, and send the nation to hell in an imported from China handbasket.  But, by definition, if a “conservative” is supposed to be so much better than this after all the passing of judgment and speech making of utter contempt, then neither should the people who claim to be “conservative” sound exactly and behave no differently from their partisan counterparts.  In “Romans” of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul critiqued his pagan neighbors most thoroughly.  But, his words were equally harsh toward the Christian church he sent his letter to.  That they were no different from the pagans they lived among and therefore were in no position to judge.  The (old) left does have a history of violence.  Violence was the name of the game when this nation sought to become an independent state from British rule.  Violence often did occur when people were not satisfied with the way things were in their particular period of time.  The formation of unions was often violent; the opposition to slavery carried an element of violence.  The rebel in this case was John Brown.  His killing a number of pro-slavery types years before the Civil War is only a fact.  Violence was often visible in the Civil Rights movement.  The radical off-shoots of minorities protesting for a more equal standing in this country were those such as the Black Panthers.  Then you had your violent socialists such as The Weathermen.  The unfortunate down-side of human nature is to adulterate its most highest ideals with the most dangerous of fallacies.  Unfortunately for Limbaugh, Gingrich and etc.; 2010 showed them to be just as capable of the same thing.

And ultimately wanting to hold the other side as the only people who could ever be accountable for what Loughner did.

Are these people only part of the American society?  Didn’t they not so long ago speak in terms of personal responsibility and accountability to God?  Yes.  In which case, the pointing finger must also be aimed at themselves as they stare in the mirror in self-accusation and utter contempt for the people they have become.  Ms. Rubin, in her editorial wanted to know if ultimately, we were better than the people of Pakistan and the murder of a moderate there?  I can only hope that with time, we can answer yes to that.

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