Suddenly I See

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just my thoughts

I always love when the President speaks in a National address. No matter whether or not I like the President there is something about him addressing the nation (especially after a crisis or tragedy) that has a calming effect. Watching President Obama speak last night in Arizona was no different. Like him or not (and I do, very much) when he delivers a speech he can give you the warm fuzzies until the cows come home.

And when he speaks he unifies. Unity is something our country needs, not just because of what happened in Arizona but even before that. Everything that happens in our society now is cause in the media for debate, finger pointing, hate, and ugliness. The one positive is that I would say that the media does not fairly represent our society. I don't think that people agree with what is said in the news. Some of it maybe, but most people wouldn't come up with or care for the hate that is spewed on a daily basis.

When it comes to the shootings in Tucson I think the main emotion to be had would be sadness. Sadness and shock. The thing is though that I don't think, as a society, we get shocked anymore. Will anything ever hit us the way Columbine and September 11th did? Is it because these hateful acts are any less sad or shocking? No, I think it is because we have numbed ourselves to it. It's a defense mechanism. Can we hold all the sadness in our heart that the world offers up everyday? Can one watch the news everyday and let it effect them and still go on normally? I think we block ourselves off so that we can function? I think it's that and the fact that we, as a society, know that what the media presents to us everyday is such a small percentage of what is going on. Maybe events like this force us to look for the good, the beautiful, in life so that society can continue.

And then there is the other element to all of this. The blame. We all take an event that happened and immediately decide who is to blame. The parents, the media, Marilyn Manson, Sarah Palin. Why do we do this? Is it that we don't want to believe that a person can simply be evil? If evil is really the case then there is nothing we can do to change evil acts. Taking Gothic music off the radio won't do it, canceling Fox News programming won't do it. It just is. And can any of us live with that? Can we make that okay? If we can't blame it on a particular thing or person then we as a society might have to look at the real problems. The problems that don't have easy solutions, the ones where people are unbalanced, where kids grow up in unhealthy environments, where people are afraid to get mental health assistance, or where neighbors are too afraid to report red flags.

I do agree with many that the negative rhetoric should stop. There is no reason that Sarah Palin should make a "target" list. She should know that due to the image she has created for herself that people are going to equate that with guns. While she, and others who do the same thing, are not responsible for other's actions you have to wonder why she would want to put that out there. Why not do something that is positive? For some reason the media feeds on negativity and ugliness and Obama is right to call on them to change. While I feel that the Arizona shooting and this are separate issues I also feel that it's a good time for the media and politicians to look at what they create and the negativity they produce on a daily basis and why we as a society consume this.

It was a very thought provoking speech. Here are parts that I really liked and they gave me the "warm fuzzies".
You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations –- to try and pose some order on the chaos and make sense out of that which seems senseless. Already we’ve seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health system. And much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.
But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized -– at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do -– it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.
As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.
If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate -- as it should -- let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point-scoring and pettiness that drifts away in the next news cycle.
They believed -- they believed, and I believe that we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved life here –- they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that’s entirely up to us.
And I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.


Rodger said...

Well said. Just my thoughts.

Pam said...

Good point. The media needs to just report the news and not put a spin on it. The only person to blame for this tragedy is the person who committed the crime. If this incident helps to put the media in a better perspective at least something positive came from it.