Saturday, January 8, 2011
Time for a Wake-Up Call...
Sometimes I weep for what our country has become. Today is one of those days.
Earlier today, at a "Congress on Your Corner" rally in her home district of Tucson, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 17 other people were shot. Six people, including US District Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old child, were killed. Giffords was shot in the head, and although early reports said she had died, she actually pulled through surgery and doctors are "optimistic" about her condition.
The lone gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, is in custody. Motive has yet to be determined, although YouTube videos showed him ranting about the illiteracy rate among people living in Giffords' district, among other things.
Giffords was narrowly re-elected to a third term in 2010. Ironically, Sarah Palin listed Giffords as one of the top "targets" of the midterm elections because of her vote to support health care reform. As Giffords commented presciently in an interview with MSNBC, "For example, we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action." (Ironically, Giffords' opponent in the midterm elections held "target practice" to encourage supporters to defeat Giffords.)
How did we get here?
How can we as a society, how can the media allow these things to happen without calling these individuals out?
Where is our outrage?
Why is the media fanning the flames of hatred rather than trying to extinguish them? Far too often, opponents of issues are allowed to share their views with no counterpoint, no balance, no debate.
All that's left is hatred and ignorance. Which breeds the type of violence we saw today.
I'd like to believe that today's senseless tragedy might serve as a wake-up call for our politicians, but I'm not naive enough to believe that's possible. When days after being sworn in, Republicans are already disregarding campaign promises they made, when during the reading of the US Constitution a protester still questioning whether President Obama is an American citizen had to be removed, when in the last three days, several pieces of mail have turned into incendiary devices in Maryland and Washington, DC, clearly we're not there yet.
But we need to be. Demand better of our politicians, our media, our society. Demand better for yourself, your family, your children, your future.
No one should motivate anyone to violence. We don't need to love one another, but we need to respect each other.
It should be the only way.
My prayers go out to those who lost their lives today, and are with those recovering from their injuries.