Everyone is saddened by the horrific shooting of Congressman Giffords and the death or injuries to the people who came to meet her or stand by her, while she met her constituents in Arizona. (Sorry Ro, this isn’t going to be happy, maybe tomorrow).
So many questions today, about what kind of a person would do this and why they felt that shooting the Congressman was an answer to solving a problem. And before anyone could answer this question, Sarah Palin aides denied any ill intended public messages sent by the great White Hunter during election season -- despite the fact that the Palin website put a bull's eye on 20 House districts, including Giffords' 8th District in Arizona. The headline read: "We've diagnosed the problem. ... Help us prescribe the solution." The website is no longer online. And with Palin’s expression of sorrow, I’m sure Palin and her people feel absolved of any guilt.
And, maybe she’s neither responsible, at fault, or guilty of any rhetoric or act that encouraged this demented young assassin to think killing a Congressman, who disagreed with him, would solve all the nations problems. Of course, at a time like this there are so many opinions about who should take responsibility for this senseless act of violence. In Washington, they would call it “the blame game”. (I hate that politicians and the media think they have to name every action).
Is is important to get answers to all our questions. Yes, it is. But not at the expense of making reasonable, sensible decisions about how to respond. Yesterday, the pundits were talking about closing the Capital – the People’s house. Why would that make any sense. The shooting happened in Arizona because an elected member of Congress wanted to share ideas. What would make much more sense is closing the mouths of those Congresspeople who do not understand the ramifications of what they say. Am I suggesting we ban freedom of speech. Of course not. I am suggesting that along with their logistical briefings about how to be a Congress man or woman they have a mandatory course in behavior and civility.
Cong. Morris K Udall, also from Tucson, Arizona, was known for his wisdom humor and civility. Two of my favorite Udall quotes are “Lord, give us the wisdom to utter words that are gentle and tender, for tomorrow we may have to eat them.” And “If you can find something everyone agrees on, it's wrong.” OK there is one more … “I have learned the difference between a cactus and a caucus. On a cactus, the pricks are on the outside.” Mo felt that while it was important to recognize the strength and weaknesses of his colleagues, he also understood the need to be collegiate and civil. He was beloved. And when he was in the Veterans Hospital dying, the person who came to visit him every week was John McCain, with whom he agreed about nothing, but still loved and respected his opinions.
Campaign and Election rhetoric has become absolutely unacceptable. The anger, hostility, lies and limited understanding of why and how someone should get elected is disgraceful. Just because a candidate agrees with some campaign advertisement, does not mean it is right or in fact, true. Candidates have become so consumed by the idea of power and the arrogance of “knowing” what’s good for the entire universe, that they no longer have the ability to make reasoned decisions, act for the good of the nation, as well as their constituencies, and operate in a civilized manner. I just don’t think increasing security or blaming one person is going to solve any problems. I think the education of an official as well as their constituency, (even if it takes some time), is the only thing that will make a difference. We're Just Sayin'... Iris