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How many times have you heard someone rail against partisanship in the last couple years? How many times have you told people you are sick of both parties? If those numbers are high, and I suspect they are, then it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
It’s time for everyone to mean it, if only for a moment.
On Saturday, a gunman opened fire in Tucson, Ariz., and seriously injured a member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; killed a federal judge and claimed several other lives including a 9-year-old girl. Others were wounded, and many others will forever feel the pain of a lost loved one.
For today, let’s not make this about politics. Let’s not try to blame this on the other side. Let’s see this for what it was—the act of a mad man.
The gunman didn’t fire into a crowd of people because he disagreed with the congresswoman’s vote on health care reform. He didn’t do it because of the auto bailout.
He also didn’t do it because of something he read by Karl Marx, Van Jones or Glenn Beck. It was the act of a mad man.
You don’t commit a crime like this if you’re thinking rationally. You won’t pin this on the heated rhetoric of the last campaign, please don’t bother trying. It won’t accomplish anything, and I promise it won’t make anyone feel better.
What happened in Arizona on Saturday was a terrible tragedy. I couldn’t watch the news all day. It was painfully sad.
Let’s not politicize tragedy. The Tea Party didn’t do this. Bill Ayers didn’t do this. Children lost parents, brothers lost sisters, and friends lost friends. Don’t fundraise with pictures from Tucson.
Please let the victims and their families grieve in peace. If you really mean it when you say you’re tired of the hyper-partisanship, you’ll see this for what it was—the act of a mad man.
I’d like to propose a holiday of sorts. Let’s make today a day of calm reflection, of tranquility. We like to get amped-up over sensationalized coverage on cable news, and we like to point fingers and call people names and compare them to horrible dictators.
Let’s not do any of that today. Let today be an example we’re all in this together. We don’t really mean all the heated things we say. It’s theater, persuasion by other means.
Saturday, we were reminded how much we don’t mean it. Sarah Palin doesn’t really have anyone “in her sights.” It’s a rhetorical device; let’s all take it for what it is. Let’s all agree at the end of the day, most things we deal with aren’t so important we ought to take up arms.
We all know this, but let’s reflect about it anyway. That’s why this country is so great. We’re gracious in defeat. Don’t believe me? Ask Samuel Tilden.
He lost the presidential election of 1876 to Rutherford B. Hayes in what some people called the “Fraud of the Century.” But Tilden wouldn’t hear of violence in his name. He wouldn’t dare dream of a political victory through violence, even if it meant losing everything he worked for.
That tradition is alive and well. Don’t take Saturday as anything but the act of a mad man. Don’t fear for your country. Trust it.
Gracious politics stand for those who can no longer stand and breathes for those who never will again.
What happened on Saturday was heart-breaking. It was awful. It was sad. But it wasn’t political. If you’re serious about moderate discourse, take this opportunity to prove it. And please, take a moment to remember.