Commentary and Opinion

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Is This What It Has Come to?

Attributing “motives” to various political mouthpieces is always tricky. No doubt any column, no matter how simple the message, could be interpreted as one that assigns negative motives to those who disagree. It is not necessary to assign motives to those weighing in with heavy tones to try to explain the meaning of the atrocity in Tucson. And I will confess to a personal sense of discomfort when encountering any effort by any analyst to “interpret” the meaning of the atrocity.
Gabrielle Giffords
No doubt partisans on both sides of the aisle experienced a certain level of trepidation as the news of this latest horrible episode in American history broke. Would the whack job perpetrator have more evidence of “left” or “right” leaning philosophies as the investigation unfolded? Most assuredly both sides of the partisan political spectrum were quivering over the danger that they would not be the winner in the blame game.
Erwin Rommel
Sometimes in fighting, it is the first big blow landed in any “fight” that proves best. It is far better to get your enemy playing defense first right away in most fights. It was German General Erwin Rommel who once suggested, as he faced General George Patton in North Africa, that it his plan to "annihilate" his enemy first, before his enemy could do the same to him. Since there are so many clever opportunists on both sides of the so-called American political spectrum, it was inevitable that one side would take the offensive first in what was mistakenly perceived as a political incident in Tucson. Apparently everything is political in 21st Century America. And so it is that we can now frame the events of last weekend in political terms. In this terrible event, it was the progressive blog-site Daily Kos, that was the first "publisher" to aggressively react. First Daily Kos editors quickly and brazenly “scrubbed” their own site. Removed was a radically offensive political post from earlier in the week that suggested the reprehensible “blue dog” Democrat Gabrielle Giffords was already “dead” for her betrayal of Nancy Pelosi in the speaker vote. And virtually in the next cyber-breath, Daily Kos managed the unmitigated audacity to point to the site of Sarah Palin as the source of blame for the shootings.
In an instant, during one short tragic weekend, Americans had the opportunity to experience a microcosm of what is so wrong with the task of managing the business of America. Since the elected official shooting victim could be identified politically by using a “D” next to her name, it would be the so-called political right that would play defense first in the ensuing high-stakes political blame game. It was almost like a coin toss in a political sudden death overtime period. Except somewhere lost, in this terriblly brazen opportunist shuffle, was the truth. The simple truth being that a mentally deranged man was able to bring out the very worst in America.
Is America still the land of the free and the home of the brave? You would not think so if you watched partisan suspects line up on the Sunday talk shows to take shots at their so-called “enemies.” Sadly most were pretty much allowed to do just that without any scrutiny from most corners of civilized society. Are all politicians who argue passionately for their points of view responsible for any lunatic who tries to kill others with the opposite political identifying letters? If this is in fact how far we have descended, perhaps it is time to re-think the widespread use of those two terrible letters. Do we really need "D's" and "R's"? It would seem the price society is paying for those dubious distinctions is getting rather prohibitive