09 January 2011


There is no doubt that Jared Lee Loughner was crazy. And I’m sure his defense lawyers will pursue that course.

But the reason the conservative right is being attacked today is because Loughner is one of the people that are, essentially, their base. In this day and age of instant messaging, texting and global information at our fingertips (as someone told me, if a guy stubs his toe in India, within 24 hours, the world knows about it), all of us need to be held responsible for what we say, especially if we’re politicians. Finger pointing is not nice, but accountability should be the cornerstone of our beliefs.

The fact is, in the political streams of life, politicians can connect more effectively with their constituents than they could even 20 years ago. This means even the crazy people can get the same information as we do, but because they can be potentially dangerous, they take the words more seriously. Thus, some political opponent can put “cross hairs” (whether imaginary ones, or in Sarah Palin’s way, literally) on their rivals, asking their supporters to help ousts them. They don’t want anyone really to shoot them, it’s a metaphor they argue.

But there are some people, a very small majority, who will take this too literally. After all, they can probably reason, the folks on the radio and TV said these people were dangerous for the USA. That if they were to win, they would destroy the fabric of what made the Founding Fathers fought for.

As politics can be, some win, some lose. And if the one that a certain radio or TV personality said was dangerous does win, what do you do? Most people will wait for the next cycle of elections and try again. But we also know there are certain people who will see this loss as the tipping point. And thus they strike out in a hail of violence that kills people for no reason.

I’m not saying the liberal left has been kind and has not said inflammatory stuff about the conservative right. As I see it, part of the institutional problem, almost at a genetic level, with us Dems in general and Liberals in particular is that we believe in trying to convince people of the righteousness of our arguments and thus get them to change their minds about policy issues.
But people don’t want to have their minds changed — they want to have their beliefs reinforced.

And because this grand America was shaped, formed and created out of violence, the political right continues to use that type of philosophy to divide the American people. So it doesn't really matter if The Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly are actually "racist." Their political philosophy, however, promotes/allows discrimination. And that's what matters.

Going forward, all of us, either on the right or the left, need to understand that our words can cause people like Jared Lee Loughner to do what he did. Using modes of communication, like the outdated TV and movie Western themes, during a political discourse in no longer a viable way to communicate to your constituents.

We need highly intelligent people running this country (because politics, in reality, is one of the only fields where people think they can do a better job themselves despite lack of training, education, and experience). The idea that being a "Washington insider," "Intellectual," or a "bleeding heart" are used as slurs against someone and the fact that voters buy into it shows some lack of forethought on them (cause, really, none of you would hire a plumber or a high school student to give you a heart transplant).

The fact that conservative right wants the unintelligent, easily manipulated “everyday” folk on their bandwagon speaks volumes on how they see America these days. The fact that the rest of the world is preparing their children to compete globally, and we as a nation are sitting with our thumbs up our rear ends, and getting off on the idea that we will always be the greatest nation in the world without having to make any sacrifices, or pay any taxes, or doing anything to actually nurture what has been our very fortunate place in the world.

The jobs our parents and grandparents had don't exist anymore. Well they do, only they're all in China, and Mexico, and India. These were the jobs that the middle class thrived on, now they're creating the middle class in China. And our economy is made up of the service industry, and bankers. It's not sustainable. We need to invest in modern infrastructure (our current one is crumbling), new ways of making energy, education, bringing innovative new industries, and getting our nation healthy. This requires investment. It won't just magically happen.

But according to the conservative right, and some of the dangerous people that listen to them, liberals are out to ruin America. So -again, in not so many words - they are telling their constituents, their fan base and people like Jared Lee Loughner that you have to take action, just like they did in the old west.

Lock and load, children of the corn. A call to arms is needed. One such soul did that on Saturday.

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