As I sit to write this, I am in the ATS chat room watching several members, all former compatriots and friends, warring it out over the shootings
which happened yesterday in Arizona.
Those on the left screaming that this shooting reeks of the Tea Party - citing Palins now infamous "Hit List" and discussing the uncountable times
that conservatives, on these boards, have called for violent revolution, the killing of politicians, and an overthrow of our constitutionally elected
Those on the right are countering with the same statements, reversed.
Such is, and has been ATS for a very long time now. Just as our nation, and our world, for that matter, a community divided, drastically, by dogma and
To get away from this very uncomfortable chat argument, I decided to open another tab to read the news and was dumbstruck by what I found...
Tucson rampage casts light on toxic political tone
Source (oddly the link is entitled "political threat analysis" though the article is
It's been a year or more of raw politics, with anger spilling over on both sides and gun-related metaphors coming loosely from the lips of some
candidates and activists. Giffords, a figurative target of the right, on Saturday became the actual target of a gunman who shot her through the head
and killed at least five others. She was critically wounded...
...But in Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff Clarence Dupnik suggested "all this vitriol" in recent political discourse might be connected to Saturday's
shootings. "This may be free speech," he told reporters, "but it's not without consequences."...
"Anger and hate fuel reactions," said Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, whose Arizona district also includes parts of Tucson. He said he was not
assessing blame, and Saturday's shootings might be the work of "a single nut." But he said the nation must assess the fallout of "an atmosphere
where the political discourse is about hate, anger and bitterness ."
This article cut me straight to the bone. I, as much as anyone, am guilty of engaging in heated partisan bickering. In fact I may well be one of the
worst offenders of this transgression. So this thread is not my shot at finger pointing... Well maybe it is, but I am well including myself in the
group to be labeled "guilty". It is one thing to realize that the Emperor has no clothes. It is an entirely different thing to realize that, even as
you point, you realize that you, also, are naked.
That is exactly how I feel right now. I am ashamed of some of the rhetoric I have engaged in, engendered, and promoted. I truly felt as though I were
fighting the good fight, when I found myself in heated thread wars... I felt like it was my place to offset the opposition by nearly any means
necessary. I have a very, very sharp mind and an even sharper whit and I used these tools as weapons in debate.
There is speculation that this shooter might have been an ATS member. I am left to wonder... Did this kid take any of my words to heart? Ask yourself
the same thing. It's not a very pleasant feeling, I can assure you, if you are one of us who post in the political forums. It is downright
And now I find myself reading an article that almost seems to suggest that maybe freedom of speech is too free?!? In the same moment that I find
myself appalled by this thought - I also realize that I have helped to create the environment where such a statement can be made in good conscience. I
have been part of the problem and it sickens me to understand this. I strive to be a noble person, for the most part. Beneath my warped sense of humor
I am a human being with a big, big heart and I always at least try to do the right thing. I try to follow my conscience as best I can.
Right now I honestly feel as though I have failed.
Left, right. Blue, red. Conservative, liberal... all these labels are ringing empty to me. More empty than ever before. The illusion of the two party
system is shattered for me presently. I am left seeing only absolutes for the moment - ultimate truths. Things like life or death. Unity or division.
Right or wrong. The petty differences between political bent just feels so hollow and false to me.
I plan to post this and then to go directly to bed. I am spent, emotionally and physically today. In all truth I don't think that this single event
has burdened me... this is more of a cumulative effect of months upon months of feeding into these paradigms. And, frankly, I am not mentally
prepared, right now, to deal with what I think will follow this OP. I just don't think I can face a post saying that people need to die because this
is a revolution. I can't bear to watch as left and right point their fingers at each other.
Maybe I hope that just one or two people read this and see what I see... that one or two people stop thinking in terms of "us" and "them", and
settle into realizing that there is, ultimately, only "we the people".