I knew better. I turned on the Sunday talk shows knowing the main topic of discussion would be the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. Already the finger pointing and responsibility dodging has begun. The Left blames the Right. The Tea Party immediately defends themselves and points out that the shooter was NOT one of theirs. Sarah Palin’s gun target graph is mentioned ad nauseum. I haven’t heard anything from the NRA, but I’m sure they will complain how people will try to use the tragedy to force a debate about gun control.
I knew this was how both sides would react. There are political points to be gained and political face to save. The only thing missing was one single person ready to accept blame in any way.
For me, there are two who are responsible for this atrocity.
The first is the shooter. He was probably mentally unbalanced to the point that he didn’t need much reason to attack a group of innocent people. He just needed a physical target to direct his personal rage.
The second is all of us. We are all responsible for the scorched earth mentality that has come to define political discourse in our country. Nowadays to even hint that your political opponent may have a legitimate point is considered a weakness to exploit. Compromise equals betrayal.
Anger may win elections, but it doesn’t provide answers. As soon as someone even hints at using violence or a pointed gun to make their point has already lost the argument because it means they didn’t have strong enough reasons to win a rational debate. And anyone who dismisses someone else’s passion as signs of being unstable isn’t playing fair either.
I would like to see one person with any political affliction to have the balls and decency to stand up at this painful moment and say: I am responsible. I contributed to the hate and the anger, but no more. I will continue to make my opposition known, but I will do so with respect for those who disagree. I will not point fingers at anyone but myself.