Monday, January 10, 2011

The Slippery Slope

When one ceases to view another who espouses political views that are opposite to one's own as an adversary and - instead - views that person as an enemy, it makes unspeakable and seemingly unbelievable events such as what happened in Tucson utterly and eerily believable. At some point in the not-too-distant past we crossed a line in this country.

We the people of these United States have taken to doing more than simply discounting the opinions of those who disagree with our own. We have taken to devaluing them altogether. Once one can devalue completely that which another stands for and believes, it is all too easy to devalue that person. Worse yet, once someone has no value, then it is all too easy for you to feel that it is your right to inflict your will upon them.

We the people of these United States have crossed the line from spirited political discourse to vile, inane personal attacks. And if you do not believe that it is an offense of which multiple folks at either extreme of the political spectrum are guilty, then you are simply not paying attention. Or worse yet, you are simply not being honest with yourself. And if I have been ignoring it too, then neither have I.

Memo to us: wake the f*ck up.

There's diamonds in the sidewalk , the gutters lined in song
Dear I hear that beer flows through the faucets all night long
There's treasure for the taking, for any hard working man
Who will make his home in the American Land.

An assassination of a Federal judge, the attempted assassination of a member of the House of Representatives, the murder of five other people and the wounding of thirteen more on a street corner in Arizona on a January morning makes this land in which we live sound and seem nothing at all like the one described by my fellow Jerseyan. I know not for certain where we are. But I know I woke up this morning feeling as if we are indeed a long, long way from home.


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