Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thoughts on Tuscon

Like most of the country, I've watched the events surrounding the sad shooting in Arizona this week.

Although I'm a pacifist & never resort to violent measures, I know plenty of gun owners and see nothing wrong with citizens owning firearms. The 2nd Amendment is an important guarantee of American freedom to defend oneself. We don't live in Utopia, and if you ban guns, then only criminals will have them! However, society will always need continual improvement to the way we keep weapons out of the hands of violent psychos.

As a professional artist & creative person, I'm also a firm believer in Free Speech.
Like anything else, though, it's not an Absolute. I think people should be able to express themselves however they want, as long as they don't directly threaten or physically harm other people. Although it's not something that should be legislated, it's society's duty to find checks for expressions of dangerous intent.

There has been a media circus surrounding the reactions to this tragedy & political narratives being played out. Before the President showed her up- by taking the highest possible ground in his speech last night- the person in the center ring of the circus was the shrieking Alaskan Banshee herself, Sarah Palin.

Plenty has already been said about the PR crisis she's in right now. Her insane, violent rhetoric & imagery has come back to haunt her after one of her political "targets", Rep. Giffords, was shot in the head. This is the now infamous Palin map image that people are using as an example of recent unacceptably threatening political language.

Her staff has scrubbed the image from her website, which is a laughably futile effort, since it's all over The Internets, but also makes her look like she's trying to hide damning evidence. To make matters worse, they gave a crap excuse that the targets on her map were always meant to be surveyor's symbols.

The problem with Palin's pathological lying is that there is always so much evidence to the contrary:

Of course, NO reasonable person is accusing Sarah Palin or other Legendary Assholes such as Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh of directly influencing the lunatic douchebag that shot those innocent people.

What people are actually raising hell about is that those ideologues cynically poison the political & social atmosphere with misinformation. They do this in an arrogant, narrow-minded, vitriolic manner that creates unwarranted or misdirected hostility. They collectively reach many millions of people, so their influence should not be underestimated.

Hopefully, this experience will incrementally improve the level of discussion in the public arena. The shallow reactionary nature of Palin, Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, Hannity & other knuckleheads isn't going to change, but hopefully society at large will more assertively call out their BS.

In the wake of this violence, people understandably began pointing out Palin's incendiary rhetoric as a prime example of what's gone wrong in political discourse. Despite the criticism, she didn't have the good sense to be conciliatory or (in a spirit of respect)...QUIET for once.

Faced with the reality of a deadly massacre with children murdered & a Congressperson almost assassinated, she managed to make it about her- and as always, she's the victim!!! To start the official day of mourning for this tragedy, she released this unbelievably obnoxious video that is like psychological torture for me to sit through.

Here is a close approximation that is much easier to tolerate:

This woman drives people like me crazy, not because I'm a 'Liberal' or from political divisiveness. It's mostly because she is shrill, spiteful & ALWAYS wrong, yet her vapid opinion is given constant media attention. I just hope this whole fiasco hasn't destroyed her chances of being the Republican that President Obama gets to challenge in 2012...

The speech The President gave at the memorial proves once again that the American people chose the far better candidate in the last election. The idea that so many voters actually believed that McPain should run the country is simply frightening.

It was definitely a moving speech that shows the thoughtfulness & understanding that got him elected. The image of a true leader inspiring a stadium full of uplifted mourners was a stark contrast to the ill-timed trainwreck of Palin's contrived video message.

Although Obama pleaded for a more civil public discourse, that doesn't mean people can't be aggressive in asserting ethical boundaries. Sometimes it means mocking, challenging, or exposing lies or general stupidity.

What's always off-limits, in any debate, is threatening or endangering the well-being of another person.

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