mr_pandakun (mr_pandakun) wrote,

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On the "Left" and the "Right"

I have certain members of my family who I'd call, generously, "enthusiastically politically active". Very much. In fact, I believe it has something to do with her father being conservative and not giving much attention to her opinion in the past, but I can only guess and it'd be unfair to assume that's the case.

Anyway, she's got a Facebook account (who doesn't) and like my sweetie's mother is using it to post everything she can about how the "right" is doing one thing or the other, or how certain members of the "left" are heros or shams. Normally I just filter it all out, 'cause some of the topics are preaching to the choir (like I'm not a big fan of Scalia, big surprise) and others are... well, either going a bit extreme or fawning over something not incredibly worthy of it.

My other relatives seem not to give much a care about it either, which is good - it proves to me they're sane to one degree or another. It was unsurprising, then, to see her get caught up in the shooting last week and clamor over the idea that it was "political". Now, a lot of assumptions were made on Day 1 when we didn't know about the shooter or what his motivations were - or, for that matter, if he acted alone, etc. At that point, we're reacting on gut and making assumptions come naturally. We're all biased, we'll see what we want to see and knock on the door of the usual suspects first.

However, I was willing to hold my opinion for a few days and was glad to hear that someone with a brain within the Sarah Palin media group pulled the "target map" from a website (good move, no matter what excuses were made after the fact). I agree that a lot of rhetoric out in the media is getting passionate and violent, and there's been a history of people getting riled up and doing stupid stuff like this. On the same note, there's been a history of people with mental issues doing the same regardless of political climate at the time. I am interested, like everyone else is, in the why's too.

I don't believe the shooting was political, not in the sense some writers are calling it, and going after any group or individual (like some media outlets and church groups did with KMFDM and Rammstein) after such a tragedy does any good other than to make some of those "very passionate" political activists happy because they knew something like this would happen eventually. Proving them right doesn't help anything, much like yelling "I told you so" when a house is burning down and the firefighters are working to put out the fire.

In fact, saying so will generally not win any middle-of-the-road person over to a cause, will irritate those that the further-afield-leftists are trying to win over, and make the further-afield-rightists say "see, it's that Liberal Media again".

Violence is horrible, and this incident is all sorts of awful, heart-wrenching and disgusting all at once. I'm glad that Congress took some time off to recognize the tragedy and come together for the support of those who were injured and honor those who'd died. Personally, the 9 year old who'd died is tragic, but to me it doesn't matter what age the person was - it's still horrible. No one should capitalize on the death, on trying to be on the right side of history. If anything, this shows us that we should be more vigilant to those who need help, that our system is flawed in some fashion for helping those with mental illness, and that we're all a bit inflamed in this dichotomy of political stance.

Calm down, mourn, and work for a better future.
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