Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Take on Tucson

Unless she runs for office, this is the last time I will ever talk about Sarah Palin. Please hold me to that. There are far more compelling people deserving of my interest.

Now. I am on the far, far left. I am 100% guilty of a knee-jerk reaction against the right last Saturday, as my Twitter feed lit up after the shooting with information about Palin's gunsights on Rep. Giffords' district. I shared the image on Facebook. I later shared an image, since scrubbed, from Glenn Beck's website. His front page had an image of him in full-on action pose with a handgun, apropos of nothing. One of the links was him looking very earnest, with a caption reading "We must stand together against all violence." Great. I hope he means it. I doubt he means anything, but I hope he means that. At least he got rid of that silly picture.

I don't think either of them are responsible for Loughner's actions. Apparently he self-identifies as a liberal, though the self-identification of anyone like that doesn't amount to much. That's like the Westboro Church identifying themselves as Christian. Or human.

I will never, ever apologize for anything I say about Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck, but I do regret politicizing such a tragedy. Granted, no one really listens to me, but there's not much of a difference between what I've done and any time Rudy Giuliani has opened his mouth since 9/11/01. I'm better than that. I'm a smart man, and smart people have better things to do than give a fraction of their brain function to the likes of Palin and Beck.

I really like what Henry Rollins has to say on the subject. To summarize: it's not Palin's or Beck's fault, they deserve their voice, and we should all be so smart that that voice falls on deaf ears.

I'm disgusted with the state of politics in this country, and I have been for a decade. I assume I will be for the rest of my life. I don't know how to change that. I certainly don't want to get involved. I don't know how to change anyone's mind, because I never really talk about this stuff with someone who doesn't agree. Perhaps that's part of the problem. But isn't this shooting a political event by nature? Isn't the fact that it has been so widely politicized indicative of some sort of truth? Why are there only two answers to any political question, and why do those two sides hate each other so much? Why am I so angry?

Yes, we were wrong to blame this shooting on someone like Beck or Palin. If anything, it gives them far too much credit. But I find it interesting how quick we were to jump on them. The quiet sanitizing of their websites with no apology or formal statement implies a degree of guilt. But again, I'm quick to put that on them because I want, so badly, for them and their ilk to quietly fade away. I was so quick to jump on them in the first place because of the damage they, and yes, Keith Olbermann, have done to public discourse in this country. And I'm a part of that too. How many people need to die before we dial it down?

John Stewart was right. Do yourself a favor and read about those killed and wounded in this attack. Read about their courage and compassion, and how many wounds were inflicted on those shielding their loved ones. Honor them in your memory, and let them tell you how strong and giving we can be.

I'm going to do something no one on the right, or really even in public office, seems to be able to do properly. I'm going to apologize. I'm going to admit doing something I'm not happy about, and I'm going to do my best to change tack.

So I'm sorry, Rep. Giffords. I'm sorry, Judge Roll. I'm sorry, Christina-Taylor Green. I'm sorry, Dorwin Stoddard, a 76-year old man who died protecting his wife. You deserve better.

Goodbye, Mrs. Palin. I hope you don't ever run for public office again. We deserve better.