I realize that it has been a very long time since I blogged here - unfortunately life and career got in the way, leaving little time for hobbies and such. However, today's events in Tucson, Ariz. which resulted in a member of Congress in critical condition and at least six people dead due to an act of domestic terrorism lead me to finally return to this blog and comment on the chaos occurring in our political world.
Before everyone gets reactionary and start to demand for the repeal of gun rights, we need to allow the police to do their investigation first. Once we find out how this individual came to obtain a gun, if it was done illegally, then those who did not follow the laws in place should be held accountable - the blood is on their hands. If the assailant was legal to carry, then we need to delve into why he felt the need to use a weapon to kill and injure. If the evidence shows that all of the hateful speech being tossed around in today's political arena sparked this guy's rampage, then we need to start looking at another amendment - the First.
I'm pretty true to our U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights - I enjoy the freedom of jury trials; protection against cruel and unusual punishment; the right to a speedy trial; protection against illegal search and seizure; the right to bear arms (obviously); and the freedom of religion, of the press, being able to assemble, and especially the freedom of speech. But my fear is that the wicked tone of all of the political mud throwing since President Obama took office is beginning to ignite my fellow U.S. citizens to commit criminal acts.
We have seen a number of unlawful activities pop up during the last Congressional session. Those members of Congress who voted for healthcare reform had offices vandalized; hate mail of large proportions have been sent to all levels of Democratic elected officials and even fractures within the Republican party have led people who adhere to the Tea Party to spew viseral tones of dissent with very little mention of alternative actions or proposed legislation.
Some within the right-wing media use the First Amendment as a crutch to defend their hateful speech, but with such speech spawning acts of violence across the nation, there is a correlation to someone yelling "fire" in a crowded theater which leads to people being trampled to death, or even closer, those within the Aryan nations using hateful racist speech to cause their members to commit violence against their targets.
It's time for America to come together and unite against all this hateful political speech being vomited into our societies. Instead of buying into what these angry and spiteful people say, we need to listen to our hearts, think on our own with our own minds, and treat our fellow citizens with kindness and respect.
This doesn't mean we have to agree with each other, but it does mean we need to act in a respectful manner to those with which we disagree and actively try to find some level of consensus, without all of the vitriolic commentary. To the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks and Tea Party leaders in the nation, I challenge you to learn how to convey your thoughts without all of the hate and destructiveness. The rest of America, outside of your followers, don't buy into your fear tactics. Isn't it time we put all this bitterness aside and work for some real solutions for America?