I'll have further thoughts on this later. My friend Art had a great blog post on it.
He part he said:
This should be so obvious that it doesn’t need to be said, but, times being what they are, it clearly does: Today’s shooting of a US Representative is inexcusable. There can be no defence of the attack itself, nor of the person who perpetrated it. End of story. Except, of course, it isn’t.
The USA’s politics are often described as “polarised”, and they are, but that word is far, FAR too kind: US politics have become utterly toxic. The political divide in the USA is now deep, angry, and seemingly unbridgeable, with both sides unable to agree on anything whatsoever.
This was the comment I left on it:
I'm going to disagree with you slightly on this. I think the divisions are bad but not as bad as people think. All we seem to see now are the extremes.
Because the only thing the media seems to cover are the people who scream the loudest. It then becomes self fulling. Where are voices of moderation? They don't make good copy. They don't make a good news story.
Thus the reason Alex Jones is being interviewed by Megyn Kelly. How about an interview with the woman who helped found the Tea Party but believes in global warming and the Paris Accords. Nope. That's not a seller for sure.
The most important thing people need to start remembering is words have consequences. If we demean and ridicule people all the time, at some point, someone will decide that that person is really not human and then just about anything can be done to them. After all they aren't one of us. So politicians need to stop calling people names. That's across the board. Just because you disagree with someone doesn't mean they are evil (there are of course exceptions to this rule). It doesn't mean they don't love their country.
It does mean that you can call people out if you think their health care bill will leave millions without insurance. But deal with the facts about what's going to happen. Challenge them about their priorities.
My mother had something she said to my brother and myself when we were growing up and this applies here: We don't call our brother stupid (slight pause here) even if he is. You can apply this to any situation and any name or insult you like.
But I think most of all we all need to take a chill pill. We have instant communication but we haven't mastered instant critical thinking. Everyone is quick to be outraged and respond to the latest "outrage" maybe we need to take a moment or two and think through what are response should be.
Maybe that's a way to calm down. Maybe that's a way to be just a little nicer to people. Maybe that's a way to start to make things better.