Sunday, January 9, 2011

just like them….

I just read a post from a blogger friend that disturbed me.  It was about the shootings in Arizona yesterday that left six dead and many others wounded.  I also posted about this yesterday.

The foundation of the blog is the vitriolic nature of reporting and people who capitalize on division.  People were blamed and names were named:  Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck.

Let it be said, I have no time for any of these people.  They are transparent prostitutes for people’s minds and money.  They don’t represent me.  They like to blame others for our woes.  They wrap themselves in the flag and offer judgment on what is “right” for America.   

But, I’m not about to blame them for what happened yesterday.  I can’t go that far.  It would give them too much credit.

Yes, we are a divided country, but because we’ve allowed it to become that way.  The networks report the way they do because we buy more soap when they act this way.  We buy more bubblegum at the checkout when we see the rags talking about who’s sleeping with whom.  Even NPR stepped across the line, reporting the death of a lawmaker without proper confirmation, hurrying to conclusion before the story was even completed.  This is all reckless.

The news commentary shows all are run by political hacks, and I include Rush and Sarah and Glenn with Rachel and Keith.   They all have agendas that should cause us to pause. 

And, because one, or some, might espouse my political views, doesn’t make them speak for me.  There isn’t one more noble than the other.

There has to be room for other ideas, other thoughts.  The I’m right, and because of that, you’re wrong mentality has to go away.  We cannot be at war with each other over ideas.  We have to be bigger than that. 

I can’t get into the mind of a kid who decided to load up his automatic weapon and start spraying death and pain around like it was some sort of movie. 

Maybe he saw it in a movie.  Maybe this was this person’s one shot at becoming famous, or infamous, or relevant, or remembered.  Maybe he was tired of being nothing, and in others’ pain he could become somebody. 

I don’t know.  I’m numb.

No, I can’t even blame this on Rush and Sarah and Glenn.  As much as I want to, it would make me just like them. 

If we’re going to point fingers, let’s do it to the mirror, with each of us taking our measure of responsibility.  Only then, will we be able to sort this out.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Found a typo. Reposting.

    You can't equate Keith and Rachel with Glenn and Rush. They are not doing the same things. Keith may be a bit over the top for some tastes, but Rachel is doing the best work I've seen to shed a light on the craziness and hypocrisy that's running rampant in this country, yes, especially in the GOP.

    Keith went on the air for two hours last night and apologized for one instance in particular but more broadly for anything he's ever said that may have been seen by some as any kind of incitement.

    I will fall off my chair if I hear anything remotely similar out of the mouths of Limbaugh or Beck. I fully expect Limbaugh to say something reprehensible and outrageous about all of this. Because that is what he does.

    You are exactly right that we are all culpable. We each have a voice and we need to be ever mindful that words have great power.

    But Glenn and Rush have massive platforms available to them and they choose to lie and distort and create fear. That is unforgivable. And it *does*, in my view, contribute to events like yesterday.

    The recent story that viewers of FOX News are the most misinformed about events speaks volumes. An entire "news" network is dedicated to what is nothing more than propaganda. It's naive to think that yesterday's events have no connection to that culture.

    When I heard about Laughner's ranting about the gold standard, I immediately thought of Glenn. So, too, I'm sure, did many, many others.

    Platforms come with responsibility. How many times do we lament that pop stars and the like aren't being good role models for our kids? Is that a pop star's job? Not expressly, but we should all strive to be better versions of ourselves, to lead by that example.

    Sarah Palin putting crosshairs all over a map and calling for the "removal" of those leaders cannot be excused. Not then, and especially not now.

  3. I think the point I make is that we are all culpable to some degree. I agree that Rachel is less shrill than Keith, but she still leaves little room for other voices. And, I do hear them throwing shots over the bow at FOX, raising the rhetoric. They seem to be like siblings who don't get along, one supplying the gas, the other supplying the fire.

    I quit watching FOX a long time ago. In fact, I find out what's going on at FOX from MSNBC. And, because of the apparent success they are experiencing as a network, they must appeal to somebody. There must be some legitimacy to what they're selling, or people wouldn't watch it. To me, they're political pornography.

    I think, though, it's important to try to understand the Palins, Becks, and Limbaughs (I don't put O'Reilly in there because I think he's more nuanced), and why they appeal to their constituents. Just what is it that resonates?

    As for "their" contribution to yesterday, it seems as though this kid had enough of his own ideas. And being rejected by the military, and largely unsuccessful, he found somebody to blame. Maybe he didn't get enough trophies as a kid.

    I've been watching FOX this morning to see what their reporting looked like. They, in fact, interviewed Gabriel Giffords on Friday. It was cordial. Bill Hemmer actually said to her she was speaking like a Republican. It seemed like a Chris Matthews interview in reverse.

    I'm not doing this to absolve FOX. I'm just not ready to link this shooting to political punditry.

    We are a society that applauds Jersey Shore, The Housewives of Whatever City, Flipped, Jon and Kate plus Eight, and Gordon Ramsay. We make them normal. We make them acceptable.

    Normal is a new place for me, and I don't much like it. When I hold a door open, people look at me like I'm from the moon. Civility in action and conversation is not normal anymore.

    Going to the responsibility of having a platform, I completely agree. People need to be more aware of what they say and how they say it. And that means all platforms, from parents to teachers to barstools to spiritual leaders to the workplace. That is where most opinion is made. Television just a reflection of us.

  4. Tom, I agree with much you have stated however putting all Network and Political agendas aside; I find it interesting that you refer to the offender of this crime as 'a kid'. Is he not twenty-two? -Brenda-

  5. Hi Brenda. I did call him a kid. And, I actually thought about this. But, when I think of 22 year-olds, they come in many maturity levels. I'm not going to give him the respect of calling him a man.

  6. Yup, I don't much like this place, either. I know that every era had its strife and we romanticize and wax nostalgic for times gone by, but from a distance, anyway, it seemed like there was a pleasant time when people were more selfless and inclined to help one another and the like.

    I would like to visit that time and see what it was like for myself. At the very least, I think men should start wearing nice hats again. (Angelo's ahead of the curve on that one. Of course.) And neighbors should stop by for coffee and pie.

  7. Tom - I am a F.O.B. (friend of Beth) and she pointed me your way. What strikes me the most when you and Beth talk about the crap on tee vee and what many in our country find appealing (housewives shows, jersey shore, et al) is that the viewers of these shows and faux"news" are low information voters and in many instances low information PERIOD. For 30 years the right has fought to de-fund education (don't use dubya's no child left behind as a positive for him - he passed it because his brother neil runs one of the testing companies AND he did not FUND IT!!).

    The less education people have combined with the economic climate add in a dash of instability and the vitriol of the RIGHT (I do not need to name names, but other than the usual suspects you have ELECTED officials saying guns are remedies for not getting their way) and you have ticking time bombs ready to go off all over our country.

    People are desperate and will listen to anything that makes them feel better, gives them someone to blame for their misfortune ... and what I find the MOST interesting is these very same people are voting against their best interets. If these folks think the republicans will be voting to help them get jobs, health insurance, education for their kids, and to keep their houses ... they are sadly sadly mistaken.

    The pity of what happened yesterday is Gabby, Judge Lee, Christina Taylor-Green - is that these very people are dedicated to HELPING people like the shooter. He is obviously mentally ill and needs help. Republicans do not HELP people - they defund and defraud.

    I realize my response to your post is emotional and somewhat all over the place - but in my humble opinion it does no good to try to equate the left and the right (glen/rush v. keith/rachel) in this matter. There are NO reports of Dems, Keith, Rachel et al using ANY references to guns, revolution, or "taking someone out" - there are too many of these references from the RIGHT to cut & paste here.

  8. I don't think I disagree with your positions Doreen, except to say this. I believe there is a snarkiness (is that a word?) on left leaning television that is a little unseemly. To continually remind the uneducated or stupid that they are, in fact, uneducated or stupid is an equally offensive approach, especially when they shoot guns and such. There seems to be little empathy on all sides. I think the "walk a mile in my shoes" approach should be applied more.
    The people on the "right" believe they are right, just like the people on the left. Then, we get into the battle of who's more right than the other. I think that's what's lost in all of this. No matter how we believe, they believe something different. It doesn't mean they are evil or tainted in some way. It just means they believe something else.
    As far as equating the left and the right, the appearance of both sides from the other is the same. They are all talking and nobody is listening.
    There needs to be a national therapy session where each side asks the other how they think and feel instead of telling them how they should think and feel.
    The real problem I have with the events of Saturday is linking the talk and the actions. We need to be careful when we demonize and accuse.

  9. Re our exchanges. When you put it in that perspective .... I hear you Tom. -Brenda-