Chris Matthews and other left-wing hacks blame conservative talk-radio hosts Michael Savage and Mark Levin for creating a “climate of hate” which led to the killings in Tucson. The point they try to make is that “angry” rhetoric stirs up the public so much that unstable individuals are encouraged to act out their own violent feelings, resulting in people getting hurt and killed. Stemming from that same assumption, President Obama has asked for a more civil “tone” in our political discourse.
There is only one problem with their assertion. It is completely false. A Fox News.com article (Report: Arizona Gunman Was Not Motivated By Politics) states, “Zach Osler, in an interview Wednesday with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” said: “He [Jared Loughner] did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.” Chris Matthews’ contentions should be scrapped. But I doubt they will, because they fit nicely with the agenda of many of our lawmakers.
Big Government stake holders are driven to act at times like these to “do something” to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future, as if that were even possible. So they propose Gun Control laws, “Hate Speech” laws, and laws for the “increased security” of elected officials. The net effect is to give more power to government and take more freedoms from the people, without addressing the real problems, such as illicit drug use and mental health intervention.
One lawmaker proposes that we make it illegal for anyone to carry a weapon at or near a political rally. What makes this kind of law meaningless is that a person intent on killing a politician isn’t going to care that it’s against the law. They’ll do it anyway. An important foot note to the shooting spree in Tucson is that some of the bystanders were legally carrying hand guns at the time. None of them chose to shoot their weapons at Loughner. In stead, they chose to tackle him to the ground, so that he would stand trial for his acts. The problem wasn’t that people were armed. The problem was a criminal, helter-skelter act which gun control can do nothing to prevent.
Most of those who were killed and wounded were not politicians. Still, in the media, the Tucson tragedy is being thought of mainly as an assassination attempt. Government is seen as the victim and out-of-control Political behavior is seen as the culprit. There are those in government and media whose attitude toward increased “security” resembles an armed camp mentality — elected officials hunkered down in strongholds, with guns aimed at the people outside. That’s not warranted in a free and open society. Those in government are not supposed to be a ruling class, separated from those they rule. Our leaders are supposed to come from our own ranks; not just represent us but be part of us.
One local resident told a reporter that what we really need is more peace and love. Everyone can agree with that. We all feel compassion for the victims’ loved ones. At a time of mourning it is appropriate to be sympathetic. But as we read in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”. It is unrealistic (and inappropriate) to insist that political discourse always be “toned down”. Politics will always represent beliefs that inspire some of our deepest convictions. And Freedom of Speech includes the most intense and impassioned expressions of those beliefs.
Have you ever watched two boxers embrace at the end of their fight? Each did everything in his power to “destroy” his opponent during the fight. When it’s over, their mutual respect for each other’s courage and ability is so strong, they hug as if drawn by affection. They certainly don’t “hate” each other. Similarly, politicians are known to campaign with the promise to constituents, “I will fight for you!” Are these politicians not to be allowed to passionately “fight” for the beliefs and values of their constituents? Are they to be restrained from using “angry rhetoric”? And like two lawyers who vehemently “fight” against each other in court, only to get together for lunch or drinks afterwards, do they “hate” each other? Who will be the judge of what constitutes hate?
In a football game, it isn’t only athletes who get caught up in the heat of a game. The spectators get just as worked up — maybe even more so, especially if they have a lot “riding” on the game. Are they not allowed to express what they feel and how they feel it? Do they behave aggressively or intensely because they “hate” the opposing team? Are we as citizens not allowed to feel passionate about our political convictions, or use strong language in expressing them without being accused of hating? Are talk radio personalities not allowed to become outraged when they see our personal freedoms threatened by Big Government and then have the audacity to tell the public about it? Isn’t it appropriate for political rhetoric to become “heated” and “angry” when We The People see Big Government shoving its fingers into our wallets? I think so. And I urge everyone to remain vigilant to what’s on the government’s agenda.