Monday, January 10, 2011

Giffords, Palin, and Tolerance

I've been observing the Arizona shooting incident and the subsequent news coverage and blog posts since the shooting happened. As soon as I turned on my TV Saturday night and saw the ongoing coverage, my first thought was "Oh no, they're going to blame the TEA Party.". Instantly, I felt bad. Politics was not the story. The story was, someone, who at the time they did not know who he was, shot 13 people, and at the time five was dead, including a nine year old girl. My kids often attend political events with me. That could have been me. My daughter just turned nine. That could have been her. I should have never, in a perfect world, had to have the thought cross my mind of what kind of political mudslinging was about to occur because a Democrat Congresswoman was shot in the head. THAT is the environment in which our Main Stream "Media" has created in our society. Then I stopped, listened, and learned more about her political history.

Gabrielle Gifford's Political History
She used to be a Republican. She then changed to the Democrat party. She is known as a "Blue Dog" Democrat. ("Blue Dog" means "Conservative".) If there was a Democrat that the TEA Party would "like", it would be a Conservative Democrat in theory. It might be news to some, but Sarah Palin does not dictate what happens within the TEA Party. Go even further, there are a number who identify with the TEA Party values who do not even care for Palin, and believe the TEA Party Express, who Palin toured with, oversteps their boundaries within the movement. There are some TEA Party Patriots who when asked, will share they agree with Palin in ideology but are not a follower of Palin and hope she does not run for President in 2012.

The TEA Party
TEA Party people are very opinionated, and independent thinkers. They do not need a "leader" in the movement, they just want the right person to stand up for the values in which the TEA Party stands on. They're very simple:
- Limited Government
- Lower Taxes
- Eliminate Wasteful Spending
- Free Markets
- Individual Responsibility

Common issues outside the TEA Party platform conservatives agree on can be but are not limited to:
- 2nd Amendment Rights
- Pro Life
- Choice in Education
- Religious Freedom

The Shooter: Jared Lee Loughner, 22 Years Old
- Obvious history of mental instability, became a social outcast in the 10th grade and starting hanging around with the "drug-oriented people".
- The year he would have graduated from high school, and charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
- Among his favorite books is Communist Manifesto
- Registered Independent, voted in '06 & '08 but not in '10
- Anti-Government
- High school friend Mr. Marriotti says "He wasn't especially political, though he expressed frustration with the Bush Administration."
- Had been following and unhappy with Congresswomen Giffords since 2007.
-At the end of November, he finished a series of youtube videos raging against the government and the Constitution and discussed "terrorism."

Ever since the shooting, people have been pointing to Sarah Palin because last year she posted a chart with cross-hairs representing the Congressional districts that were to be targeted in the 2010 election based on the health care vote that occurred in March. After the Democrats pushed the health care legislation through (without some underhanded tricks along the way), Palin tweeted to conservatives "Don't Retreat, Reload." Normal people, which encompass 99% of the people who follow her, took it for what it was: encouragement not to give up on the political process.

The chart she posted was not unlike a chart posted in 2004 by the Democrat Leadership Committee, where the targeted districts were referred to as "enemy lines". Enemies. Where have we heard that recently? Oh, Obama!
"And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don't see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it's gonna be harder - and that's why I think it's so important that people focus on voting on November 2," he said. (October 2010)
Have Republicans been blaming all violence committed towards Conservatives, by Latinos, since October because those "Mean, Old, White Republicans" are their enemy? Hardly not. Yes, words do matter. I personally wish my President did not refer to me as his enemy, but that's between him and God. Logic prevails, no one is blaming President Obama for Conservative deaths coincidentally caused by Hispanics because he said Conservatives were their enemies.

Lets not forget our own President has also said:
"If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,"
"They are fired up. They are mobilized. They see an opportunity to take back the House, maybe take back the Senate," he said. "If they're successful in doing that, they've already said they're going to go back to the same policies that were in place during the Bush administration. That means that we are going to have just hand-to-hand combat up here on Capitol Hill."
Anti Government / Revolution / Violence...
One line of conversation that was being had before the election was that Obama was not moving forward fast enough with his agenda, and the "Professional Left" (translate: the liberal base) was upset with him because of it. Buzz was that liberal "enough" legislation was not being passed fast enough. Then MSNBC highlights an author who wrote a book that promotes violence because of a "failed" government:

What about someone who used to be a "homegrown terrorist" now working in the Obama Administration, that to this day has not denounced the violence led by the group he was involved in? To not denounce it, would be to endorse it, and our Presidential Administration employs this person?

Guns do not kill people, PEOPLE kill people.
The debate is already up concerning "gun control". It is a proven fact that when people are permitted to protect themselves, the crime rate is down. Enlgand had a ban on guns in 1997, but in 2007 statistics were released that showed an increase of 340% between 1998 and 2005. In a study titled "Guns, Violent Crime, and Suicide in 21 Countries" by the Canadian Journal of Criminology found that countries with more widespread gun ownership had fewer murders while countries with less gun ownership had more murders. How about Washington D.C.? It was reported just last year that after the handgun ban was struck down by the courts, murder rates decreased by 25%. The same article refers to Chicago's gun ban, and how unsuccessful it is at protecting people.

Political rhetoric did not kill those people on Saturday, mental illness and instability did. Sarah Palin did not trigger this man no more than politics triggered Michael Hayes.

It is a sad day in America when the death of someone has to be politicized. 
Lets STOP THE EXPLOITATION of these precious souls that were lost on Saturday; and
Lets STOP THE HATE towards political figures, period. I challenge any person reading this to explore their thoughts and think about the hate and contempt that is in their hearts towards those who do not share the same ideology.
TOLERANCE goes both ways.

My (new) friend Sarah said it best:
You might not be tolerant if you
Glenn Reynolds hit the nail on the head when he said:
"To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?"

"I know this is disappointing to politicians and the media, but sometimes the story just isn’t about you. It’s about the people who were shot, and the person who shot them." - "Stu"

The image of cross-hairs, and guns existed long before Sarah Palin come on the scene, and they'll be around along with the existence of target maps for elections long after she's not on the scene; and people will still be murdered because that is the unfortunate consequence of the society we live in that will never be changed.

If there ever was a time for bipartisanship, it should be now. We can all agree the attention needs to be paid to the ones who lost loved ones, little Christina's parents, and the injured survivors of this unfortunate event. Let God hash out the rest!



  1. Wendy,

    While the heinous crime in Tuscon may be emblematic of some social problems in the United States, the aftermath has been more so. The almost instantaneous finger pointing is yet another sign of both the coarseness of our political dialogue as well as the lack of insight into human nature. We have debased every standard of civilized political discourse to the point that a calm discussion about such a tragedy is no longer possible. At the same time we have lost our sense of what sin and evil are to the point that few even speak of such a crime in those terms. You said correctly that now is a time for bipartisanship. It may be though that only a handful will attempt to raise the bar on what nature that bipartisanship will take.
    If either side uses tragic death as a political tool to score public points or pass knee-jerk laws then sadly our pleas for good sense go in vain. Let us hope for the better and commit ourselves to a higher standard even if those with whom we disagree do not.

  2. I agree with you Wendy....almost unthinkable that they picked ANYONE (but of course, it would be SP) upon whom to blame this, or a person's if we are not supposed to SPEAK any more...for fear someone might disagree with our opinion. No - we live in America, the home of the FREE and the land of the BRAVE. America is exceptional and we still have free speech here today, thank God. Just like Sarah, we have to press on and speak our opinions and do what we think is right.