Friday, January 14, 2011

It Still Wouldn’t Hurt To Change Our Rhetoric

After this past weekend’s shooting in Arizona, there have been so many editorials about how the conservatives’ violent rhetoric led to this tragedy. Those being blamed have shot back and thus, the political finger pointing continues.

It’s a bit of a stretch to blame the violent tone of much of the bipartisan debate. If that were the case, Sarah Palin would have the entire Tea Party “movement” out there with actual rifles lining up the liberals in their “crosshairs”. You don’t know how it pains me NOT to place this blame on Palin. In fact, most of us are probably guilty of this type of speech at one time or another…”If he’s late again, I’m going to kill him!”

With that being said, what is the reason that angry, violent speech has become part of the political debate. Some of the things that have been said or written take on such a vicious tone…

"We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition." Gregg Harper, Mississippi Third

"People are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, my goodness, what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out," –Sharon Angle, Nevada Senate Candidate

"Barack Obama is the worst president in history. ... Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place." – Ben Quayle, Arizona Third

These statements did not lead to a shooting rampage however they did lead to more violent rhetoric. It seems to continue on and on. There isn’t any need for it. In fact, it comes across as uninspired, uneducated, and downright foolish. Unfortunately, over the last couple of years the nation is becoming immune to it. It’s not to say that there aren’t those in government who speak intelligently and don’t resort to malicious words towards their opponents. Regrettably, the media doesn’t usually cover such individuals.

Going back to the Arizona shootings, I will leave it to Jon Stewart to add an additional reason to leave out the violence in the political arena…

I do think that its important for us to watch our rhetoric, I do think that its a worthwhile goal not to conflate our political opponents with our enemies if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid mad men and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak. It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn’t in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV. Let’s at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.


  1. Okay, I'll agree with that.
    Your Friend, m.

  2. I agree. I've read the words "civil discourse" quite a bit lately. Why is that so hard to achieve?

  3. Thanks for adding this important piece to the discussion. I totally agree. Palin didn't pick up the gun and certainly wasn't the first (and unfortunately won't be the last) to make these comments. I also HATE the negative ads during the campaign. I think when something so tragic occurs, we need someone to blame...just as the retaliation against the Muslim faith exploded after 9-11...because if we know that really horrible things happen for no good reason...well that's a scary world to live in.

    There is no doubt that we all need to watch our words and actions, because they are powerful.

    There is no one who should bring violence and hatred into our lives. Would this man have found something to do no matter what? Well my crystal ball is currently not working...but anyone who can create and implement a plan such as he did is certainly not of sound mind.