Allow me to channel my inner Rodney King for a moment.
Can't we all just get along?
We're all disgusted by the things that happened in Arizona this week. There is no excuse, no place to lay the blame except at the feet of the shooter. And the "mentally unstable" excuse really doesn't fly as far as I'm concerned, because "unstable" sort of goes without saying, and it doesn't pardon the actions.
What is really eating me up are the terrible things I've been reading on blogs, facebook posts, and editorials. Things like, "People are picketing that little girls funeral - we should gun them down. Sarah Palin made a map with crosshairs on it - wish she was in the crosshairs of my semi-automatic. This is Obama's fault and everyone knows it."
No - it's not his fault. It's not Sarah Palin's fault. And threatening to gun down more people isn't going to make things right.
I consider myself an independent - fiscally conservative, socially liberal - not that it matters, but I have a tendency to straddle both sides, and could fiercely debate my stance on any topic I am passionate about - but I can do it with respect for someone else's opinion. I don't need to call anyone else "uneducated" or "heartless" or "tree hugger" or "capitalist pig" to state my case.
Why does everyone feel the need to do that?
I know it is true, because back in the day I used to be a political consultant. I used to campaign for both sides - knock on doors, make phone calls, engage in informative discussions. And 15 years ago, I could hand someone a pamphlet on a democratic candidate, and people would ask what the guy stood for - they wouldn't slam the door in my face. I could make a phone call about a republican senator and have a democrat ask intelligent questions, and walk away from the conversation satisfied with the answers, instead of threatening to paintball my house.
It's out of hand.
Just last month I commented on a facebook post, something about how someone has misquoted a line from a political book. Having read a large portion of the book, I found the statement to be unfair, and my basic comment was "actually, you took that quote out of context, and maybe instead of of harping on each other, we should all just step up and try to do something positive to help the people we've elected to lead."
Holy hell fire and brimstone.
I got a facebook smackdown.
The number of people who could not deal with that statement was sickening. And the one guy who agreed with me, had his butt handed to him as well. I guess everybody loves freedom of speech until it clashes with their own opinion.
And if everyone truly believes that this is Obama's fault, or Sarah Palin's or even Jerry Springer's, all I can ask, is that for the memory of that little girl - watch your OWN mouth. Be kinder on your OWN blogs. Wipe the smirk off of your OWN face - because maybe it's YOU that could make the world better. Maybe it's not always somebody else's fault.