I’ve been dreading reading the internet’s comments about the recent Gabriel Gifford assassination attempt. I keep worrying that instead of being a chance to change,any lessons will get lost in backbiting.
First, let’s quit the whole, “conservatives are worse” or “liberals do the same thing” that I keep seeing: That will just put everyone into a defensive mode and close themselves off. Instead, we should quit the overinflated rhetoric over the subversion/takeover/destruction of America and references toward violence. Let’s just make that a general rule across the board, without trying to place blame on conservatives or liberals.
Second, conservatives have been responding that, “This guy, if he was conservative, was troubled and not indicative of all conservatives nor are they all to blame”. I agree. There have been other examples this past decade of political violence, and we should know and understand that it is not indicative of what it means to be a conservative. Yet, I really hope that this point is internalized. That you can use this same logic and express it towards other human beings.
Just as every violent anti-government individual doesn’t define conservatism, the 9-11 terrorist attacks do not define Islam or Muslims. We don’t need to treat every Muslim that wants to build a mosque in New York City with hatred and suspicion. We don’t need to look at the Fort Hood shooting as a sign that Islam is inherently violent.
Although, as individuals whether we be conservatives, liberals, Christians, Muslims, we should stay aware, and urge our peers, colleagues, acquaintances, members, political figures, tv hosts, authors, who are also within these social groups, to rebuke those who would use inflamed and violent language. Because in a way, we are attached to the groups we identify with, we do help define what it means to be these labels, and we are invested in them. So instead of acting defensive when bad shit happens, we should actively be working to prevent it.
I was looking over the New York Times article over 9 year old Christina Green who was caught in the shooting and it’s tough reading the whole thing: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/us/10green.html?ref=us
No human being can truly think that winning elections ,changing a policy, defense of an ideology, or vanity is worth a life of an innocent.