If we accept outrageous lies and hateful attacks as just the way things are, then that’s how they’ll continue to be. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or somewhere in between, respect shown to hateful media personalities eliciting fear and rage makes you part of the vile effects they perpetrate.
There are people everywhere who listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and think their stream of consciousness venom is reality instead of the lowest form of entertainment. To participate in any way, especially as a senator or congressman, to fear these people and cater to them in order to win elections, is to be vile as well.
Words are not empty vehicles of meaning. They influence, often in very negative ways. When we fail as a society to teach ourselves and our children that words can inflict pain and that there are other ways to win elections and arguments than relying on hatred and malice, we lower ourselves. And clearly from the shootings in Arizona, we give license to people who turn that hatred into violent actions.
I haven’t been posting for a while because on December 23rd I was slammed into unconsciousness and nearly death by a hit-and-run driver. Other good people stopped, thank goodness. But I lay in the hospital thinking about what kind of person leaves the scene of an accident not even knowing if the person they hit, running a red light, is dead.
What kind of person or people try to kill a congresswoman and people around and with her? In both cases, people who think nothing of the lives of others. These people, provoked by hatred, do hateful things.
It’s up to each of us to learn ways to channel our anger, to teach our children to not bully and to respond effectively without escalation to those who do. When confrontation becomes violent, it is because we have abdicated our responsibility to communicate in constructive ways.
When we accept as entertainment the vile speech of others, we are vile as well. And when we vote into office people who cater to such viciousness, we participate in perpetuating a hostile environment in which we and our children must struggle to live.