This has never been a political blog, nor do I feel able to speak intelligently and confidently when it comes to politics, so I am somewhat leery of posting my thoughts tonight. However, I can't take it anymore. If I don't say something, I'm going to blow a gasket.
The other day- a fairly lazy day here at home- I turned on the TV, not really expecting to find anything good on. I turned on CNN. First came the confusion. Something horrible had happened in Tucson. But exactly what was going on was still up in the air. Rep. Giffords had been shot. She may be dead. She may be alive. The reports were conflicting and coming in too fast to have time to take it all in. The shock set in as the news became clearer. Her life was hanging in the balance and other lives were lost. Who had done this? Who would do this? Why?
In the days since, we've gotten a more complete picture of what took place that day. We know the names of the wounded, the deceased, and the young man who committed this disgustingly sick and horrible act.
My thoughts have been for Rep. Giffords, listening every day for news, hoping to hear her condition is improving and her prognosis is good. My thoughts have been for the mother of the nine year old girl who was killed, little Christina Taylor Green- trying to imagine a level of pain that is every parent's worst nightmare. I've wondered what her thoughts must be like right now. Is she thinking of all the birthday parties that will never be planned, pictures that can never be taken, and school dances that her sweet baby girl will never get to attend? Talking about boys... Someday a wedding... All those precious mother-daughter bonding moments that will never be... It makes my heart ache for her- although, at the same moment, I am selfishly grateful for never having to feel the ache she is feeling now. I think of Gabe Zimmerman's fiance and how devastated she must be right now. I'm thinking of Judge John Roll, who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Pastor Stoddard. These men have families who are overwhelmed right now with grief. I'm thinking of George Morris, one of those wounded, who was married for 55 years to his high school sweetheart, Dorothy. She was killed. The woman he shared the majority of his life with is now just... gone. And I'm thinking about the parents and family of Jared Loughner. I cannot begin to imagine what they are going through.
I'll also admit, no matter how cliche it sounds, I've been hugging my kids a little tighter after having another sad reminder of why we shouldn't take our loved ones, or anything important in our lives, for granted. I casually say goodbye to family members every day, always assuming they'll return safely at night. Once again, I'm reminded that there are no guarantees.
My thoughts have been so occupied with these people and their families that I was a little shocked when I began to realize there are other people out there thinking along very different lines. There are people who wish to use this tragedy as part of some twisted little political game.
I've heard so much these past few days about "violent rhetoric" that it's almost as if a script was passed out to the players of the game, just moments after the shootings occurred. And- surprise, surprise- the accusations are coming from the Liberal camp, aimed at Conservatives. Because, as we all know, Liberals never resort to violent or hateful speech themselves. No. Never. They always speak so kindly and lovingly about Conservatives and all they stand for, especially Conservative Christians, like me.
And if I see a map with cross hairs on it one more time, I may honestly burst into tears. Using this tragedy to take something like that completely out of context is wrong. Plain and simple. By the way, as long as I've mentioned the map thing already...
I certainly don't want the point of this post to be remembered as my effort to defend Sarah Palin. And if that's all you take from it, please go back and read again. This isn't about Sarah; however, she is one of the primary people currently sighted in the Liberal cross hairs (when isn't she?) for her "violent" words. Funny, that. Because what I have clearly heard her repeat many, many times is that her use of words like "arms," "reload," etc., and even those cross hairs pictured on that map, are meant metaphorically. She speaks of arming ourselves with votes, information, etc.. She has said time and again that she is not speaking of literal, violent acts. Those cross hairs on that map meant that those were targets to be zeroed in upon with political effort- not targets on people to be literally shot at. Could she have chosen a better symbol? Obviously. At this moment, I'm wishing she would have used bunnies, or cupcakes. But... How daft does one have to be to truly believe that this well-known political figure would give an open call to violence- literal violence- even pinpointing the specific areas where she wants that violence to occur? And even if she did? How insulting it is to us Conservatives that the Liberal camp assumes (and openly suggests) we are such idiotic sheep that we would blindly obey!
It has always seemed to me that many Liberals feel intellectually superior to Conservatives. They mock us, especially those of us who are people of faith. They speak down to us. And yet they can't tell the difference between speaking figuratively or literally? Hmmm. Odd.
I'd also like to point out (although I feel I shouldn't have to) that when a politician or political pundit has the sense to recognize and even predict that certain areas are political hot zones and therefore may be more likely to experience turbulent debates, clashes and even violence, it is not the same thing as condoning, promoting, or inciting violence.
I think it's pretty clear, judging by the writings of Mr. Loughner, that he is absolutely off his nut. If you've read any of his ramblings, it's ludicrous to suggest that Mrs. Palin, Rush Limbaugh, or any other Conservative is to blame for his actions. His diseased mind is to blame. I would even go so far as to wonder if some blame should be shared by any family member or friend who knew how deeply disturbed and sick this young man was and didn't seek help on his behalf. Maybe they tried. I don't know. But he is to blame. He picked up that gun, went to that shopping center, and destroyed those lives. We may never know why he did this. There may not even be a why. At least not a sane one.
I could go on and on about this, but I will only get angrier as I go and begin to ramble (even more than I'm already doing). What I really want to say is that when we seize tragic, heartbreaking events as opportunities to play these assinine political blame games and make accusations about the "other side," I feel it is deeply disrespectful to those who were killed and to those who remain and are suffering. They become pawns to be used and tossed aside. These are people. Hurting, heartbroken people. I think what's going on shows a total lack of class and compassion. This is not the time to further a political agenda or blame one party over another for this act of violence. This is the time to come together as a nation, regardless of political affiliation, and collectively grieve for those whose lives will never be the same.