Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rhetoric

Well, by now I guess most of us have heard about the shooting in Tucson on Saturday. One Democratic congresswoman shot through the head and left in critical condition. Six people dead, including a Federal judge and a nine-year old girl. Twenty-some wounded. The gunman acted alone. He is a young man who was seriously disturbed, according to those who knew him before. Pundits are asking: "how many more deranged individuals are out there? How many of them have guns? Are they inspired by negative political rhetoric?

Now you can't listen to the news without hearing theories about what caused the tragedy. The pundits are being very diplomatic, refusing to place blame for this incident. They are calling for greater civility in our political discourse, while being careful not to place the blame on the increasingly divisive rhetoric that has been rampant in recent years.

We all know about the divisive rhetoric. Republican vs. Democrat; Liberal vs. Conservative; name-calling; personal attacks. Remember the town halls during the last election? Remember the shouting down of speakers instead of listening? Remember some individuals coming with guns on open display?

I am not trying to blame one side or the other. Pundits have been pointing out that "toxic" rhetoric comes from both sides. What about "shock jocks" who spew negative rhetoric about the other side? What about politicians who question each others' patriotism? What about putting gun sites on home states of those with whom you disagree?

No one is saying this is what led this individual to do what he did. But, isn't it a good idea to stop and think about the effect words can have? Both in the political arena, and in the schools and playgrounds where kids are bullied. I think we need to bring about civility. Stop calling each other names. Stop demonizing each other. Stop the negative rhetoric. I hope this tragic incident can stop us in our tracks and brings us back on the path of civility.

4 comments:

Natalie said...

"Stop demonizing each other."
Amen.
Well stated Judy. The hate is destroying a society that has so much more potential than what we are displaying. It's sad.

I am sending you hugs, and sincere wishes for light and joy to fill that hollow space, where we feel the grief... neither of us does very well when we get down. ((hugs))

judy in ky said...

Thank you, Natalie. I send you wishes for light and joy too.

Susan said...

On a daily basis, I'm sorry to say, I think to myself thank god that I don't live in your country. The USA seems to me to be increasingly the most frightening, lurking beast who's living just next door.

The fact that the words God & Christian are consistently bantied around in right wing politics is shocking, many of these so called Christians better get out their Bibles and study up.

I just heard a piece on our public radio about this shooting and about the completely lax (non existent) gun laws in Arizona especially and that this young man was so frighteningly disturbed he was kicked out of university - people feared he would do something violent.

And what's Sarah got to say now ? - my blood boils along with you sista

xoxoxo from sleepy Nova Scotia forgive my rant ;-)

judy in ky said...

Susan, I appreciate your rant. I share many of the same feelings you have.