Lots of reflection about the horrible shooting in Arizona.
On Facebook yesterday, I made it clear that I do not believe that the vitriolic rhetoric "caused" this guy to shoot Representative Giffords.
However, I think that the way we treat one another...especially those we do not agree with...says something to those who observe the behavior. When it's done in very public settings, the potential influence increases. When the rhetoric gets turned up to "life or death" or "the country is in jeopardy", it's not a stretch to conclude that the environment contributes to people choosing to act out.
Again, I'm not saying right/left rhetoric caused this disturbed man to do this, but the environment helped set the stage. I think that transforming the way we publicly disagree with one another sends a powerful message. Those who make their money off saying outrageous things (talk radio, "news commentary" shows) aren't going to change: after all, their ratings go up in the midst of the outrageous.
However, I think that most politicians become so because they believe they are going to make their country better. They are the ones that need to see that it is in EVERYONE'S best interest not to demonize the other.
My friend Emily Ingalls posted this quote:
"We do not consider patriotism desirable if it contradicts civilized behavior." -- Friedrich Durrenmatt
Additionally, I posted this on Facebook, along with some of the responses: