|Brief Ramble on the Tuscon Massacre
||[Jan. 13th, 2011|03:28 pm]
On the one hand, it is perfectly obvious by now that the factors that drove Jared Laughner to fire into a crowd at a political event Tuscon, AZ, killing six, were purely psyciatric, and not at all political. If there's a political agenda to be discerned from his words and actions, it is one wholly perverted by the sick workings of a sick mind.
On the other hand, the exact same thing can be said of the vast majority of the rhetoric we've been hearing from the Republican Party since 1992, if not since 1980. The divisive suspicions fueling all the Federal and state tax cuts; the fear of poverty and unemployment that is used to attack every regulation ever enacted or proposed; the primal fear of nameless (but mostly dark-skinned) marauders invoked by the NRA; the fear of dark heathen savages that causes us to give up our most cherished liberties and resort to nearly animal savagery ourselves; the fear of immigrants taking our jobs and polluting our precious bodily fluids; the fear of "drugs" that causes us to callously ignore the inhumanity done by our "war" on them (and also to ignore the total lack of good results from said "war"); the hatred of women that drives our restrictive laws (and, yes, nationwide terrorism) against reproductive choice; the ignorant fear and hatred that meets every religious minority in America, Christian as well as non-Christian; the wild paranoid conspiracy stories about Hillary Clinton, Vince Foster, and Barack Obama's religion and birth certificate; and the more recent ravings about "socialist takeovers," "Second Amendment remedies" and "death panels" determined to kill our grandmothers...these are not political platforms, so much as hot emotional buttons that the Republicans push, and push hard and repeatedly, every time they need to override responsible thought with mindless emotion. And mindless emotion has become the first, standard, predictable Republican response to every criticism and every policy proposal the Democrats have had to offer.
And when a major national party keeps on repeating the same appeals to infantile irrationality, and when our national media spinelessly repeat and reinforce the infantilism, over a period now going on decades, is it any wonder our more unstable fellow Americans end up reacting to the night-terrors that are so insistently shoved in our faces?
The Republicans will say that there is no visible connection between the shooting in Tuscon and any particular bit of right-wing rhetoric; and I agree. But does anyone really believe that a poulation can be systematically subjected to such pervasive infantilizing stimuli, for so long, from so many sources at once, and not see insane responses as a result? When the Republicans repeatedly remind us that this particular shooter is insane, they are expecting us to forget that this is not an isolated incident; it is part of a pattern of anti-government, anti-liberal, anti-nonwhite, and xenophobic threats and violence that have been escalating since 1992. Rep. Giffords herself predicted -- and worried about -- such incidents long before she was actually shot. How did she predict that? Did she know the person sho shot her? No, she knew what was inflaming people like him to irrational action. She saw the connection before she was shot, so the Republicans have no excuse not to see the connection afterwords.
The Republicans have spent millions of dollars, if not billions, to ensure that their dishonest and insane messages are literally inescapable. They have, in fact, made a science of it. Do they now expect us to believe that people susceptible to irrationality would be able to escape the irrationality they foist on us hourly?
President Obama, speaking in Tuscon yesterday, said that we need to heal, and reach out to each other, more than we need to cast blame. I agree with the warm sentiment of this statement, but in reality, we cannot begin to heal from a disease unless, and until, we identify and attack the cause of the disease. We cannot reconcile with those who hurt us unless, and until, they stop hurting us and ask for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is only for those who sincerely admit their wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. It is meaningless without sincere repentance and apology. Reconciliation is a two-way street. And expecing someone to heal, without addressing the cause of the injury, is nothing but insulting, degrading nonsense.