A Hard Lesson for Little Children…

I recall, when I was a child,  it was a very hard lesson to learn.  I was a bit slower than most to learn it.  Yet, after repeated false starts, I somehow learned the best way to handle making a mistake was to first admit to it;  to next correct my mistake if that was possible; to do something to prevent its reoccurence; and then to move on.

I would guess from my own experience that is a hard lesson for little children to learn, but that it is also very much a necessary lesson.

After the murders last Saturday,  two or three of my more conservative friends have very privately told me that both the Right and the Left need to tone down their rhetoric in this country, but especially the Right.  They have made no excuses for Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and so forth.   Nor even, in one instance, for their own overblown rhetoric.

What strikes me, though, is the general refusal of our political leadership to take any reasonable responsibility for dealing with the violent rhetoric.  Maybe it’s happening and I’m just missing it.  But it seems to me that many of our leaders — both official leaders like Boehner  and unofficial, but influential, leaders like Beck — are MIA on this issue.   Beck seems to have actually gone on the attack — making no mention of his own role in creating a climate of violence — but instead falling just short of openly blaming liberals for the climate.

So, I don’t think much has been learned from the shooting of so many people.   I hope I’m just missing it,  and the people who lead our nation — both officially and unofficially — have actually come to their senses.

13 thoughts on “A Hard Lesson for Little Children…

  1. Paul, thank you for these thoughtful posts attracting comments from some people with very interesting blogs. I am hoping that this horror changes something. That Congressmen even on the Right now must fear for their lives may have an effect. But I don’t think any politicians on the Right will admit to mistakes. They may tone down their rhetoric anyway, not to be caught red-handed, but to admit a mistake is to admit having partially caused the massacre and no politician wants to be associated with that. The emphasis from them will be simply that this was a madman and it had nothing to do with politics. They will say he’s schizophrenic, but I doubt a psychotic schizophrenic could be organized enough to devise and carry out a plan so meticulously and well, with all his complaints quoting right-wing sources. This is a very sad and scary time, the very thing I feared for Obama himself when he was elected.

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  2. I’ve been thinking about this horrible crime.
    I remember reading somewhere how war results in the protagonists becoming their enemies.
    I was saddened to read of the assassination of Salman Taseer in Pakistan last week. Then this. I see a connection and frankly it frightens me.
    I see the warrior culture grow in America alongside the conviction that explosives and armed intervention can resolve disputes.
    Maybe this guy was no more than a lone crazy but the responses to his crimes indicate an underlying atmosphere that is truly terrifying.
    I can think of nothing more awful than the murder of a child. I hope something positive might come from her death.
    One also has to ask about the inherent sanity of a society where a man capable of killing children can freely purchase the hardware neccessary to do so.
    I am disheartened to admit that I too only see the sadness and the scariness.

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  3. Regardless of what role bombastic rhetoric played in Loughner’s decision to go on a rampage, it IS true that right-wing rhetoric has been out of line for some time. Civility needs to return to civic dialog.

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  4. I wish I was as eloquent a writer as William was here: You false patriots who bring assault rifles to political rallies, you hack politicians and media personalities who lied through your stinking teeth about “death panels” and “Obama is coming for your guns” and “He isn’t a citizen” and “He’s a secret Muslim” and “Sharia Law is coming to America,” you who spread this bastard gospel and you who swallowed it whole, I am talking to you, because this was your doing just as surely as it was the doing of the deranged damned soul who pulled the trigger. The poison you injected into our culture is deeply culpable for this carnage.

    Read more: http://www.truth-out.org/the-wrath-fools-an-open-letter-to-far-right66686

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  5. This is becoming an all-too-familiar tune: We beat our chests and don sackcloth and ashes about the “poisonous rhetoric” for about a week or two, then go back to attacking our enemies– and that’s how we see them: as ENEMIES, not merely people with whom we disagree.

    Both sides are guilty, although the Right seems to be a little worse. Sarah Palin’s target crosshairs are certainly in that catagory.

    But my point is this: I don’t believe we’ve learned a damned thing, and this is one reason why I have little hope for our country– or our species.

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  6. Further proof that we’ve learned NOTHING– I just found out that the whackos (there’s just no other name for them) from Westboro Baptist Church (you know,the gay bashers) will be staging one of their “protests” at the funeral of that nine-year-old girl who died.

    No, I’m not kidding.

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