Civility and Responsibility
by Sandy Long
We will most likely never know why that man in Arizona decided to kill people; perhaps he wanted to commit suicide by cop, who knows. For some reason though, he went ‘postal’ and followed a long line of others who ‘lost it’ and took innocent person’s lives in the process. Prayers flow to the victims and survivors; and to all Americans, because his actions highlight what can happen when government fails and people stand up.
Rhetoric has flown in the days following this sad event with fingers pointing and blame being assigned. Some superficial actions have been suggested such as congress sitting together during president Obama’s state of the union address instead of sitting divided by party. While I have to agree that is a good thing to do, it falls short of the bipartisan concentration needed to bring our country and people together.
America has become a chaotic millstream of hate and angry rhetoric with campaign promises forgotten and special interest groups taking precedence over what is good for the country. The government’s and our focus is on foreign countries, people’s sex lives, disasters and the bottom line of companies while our own people suffer lack of employment, health care and even homes. This mix can only create anger, fear and lead to uncontrolled actions by some.
Divide and conquer should be our nation’s motto these days as political parties and special interest groups strive to create further division among citizens instead of bringing us together to fix the problems facing us. No respect is given to anyone who doesn’t believe the way someone else does, labels are more important than looking at someone’s record on all things and one is judged not on their actions, but on their political affiliation.
Semantics enter in when words like ‘take someone out’ is used when referring to voting someone out of office. Visual aids such as targets are used to stress who does not meet someone else’s idea of what should be happening. While these two things to a normal person does not mean violence should be used, with the stressors that are flowing through our country at this time, over stressed or mentally ill people can be misled into thinking that they are ‘helping’ the country and themselves by killing someone.
Politicians want to calm the rhetoric and have people not speak out to solve the problem we face now. I do have to agree to a point with that in that we do need to remember to be civil in our discourse even if it gets heated instead of evolving into a personal attack on anyone.
However, I lay the problem and the solution right at the feet of our government. Our representatives from the president on down need to work towards the betterment of our country and our own people and need to listen to our voices. THEY need to check themselves and their actions and remember both their responsibility to the people they serve and to remain civil to their peers. THEY need to put their constituents first before foreign interests and special interest groups. THEY need to cut their pay to help our country to recover financially instead of asking for more money for ‘protection’. THEY need to be honest in their words to the public; Americans will work themselves to the bone if they have honest goals to achieve. THEY need to refrain from divide and conquer tactics, instead find ways to bring people together. THEY need to be transparent in their dealings so the public knows what is going on. THEY need to remember that they serve the people of the United States of America and by oath our country, not their or other’s bottom lines.
Finally, we all need to remember that we are Americans first and all else follows second. If this country falls, we all fall; if our politicians don’t do what is best for us first, then we need to exercise our rights and impeach them for fraudulent promises made to get them elected. As Americans, we have the right to speak out and to hold our government’s feet to the fire of our anger and can use our rights to remove from office any politician that does not take the country’s needs into account first. We also need to remember to bring civility back to our discourses and let our words not encourage violence. We do not have the right to stir others to such a heated pitch that they take vigilante actions even if they are mentally ill.
America is knee deep in alligators so to speak and we all need to find ways to work together to bring us out of the swamp. The energy spent on hate, rhetoric and pointing fingers by our government would be better used to work with ALL Americans to find solutions to jobs, housing and affordable medical care. I agree with Thomas Jefferson that a little rebellion is good for the country, however, let’s focus that rebellion towards the WHOLE government and stop the corruption of our system instead of attacking individuals in it. In my opinion to use an old saying, “if you put them all in a bag and shook it up, none of them would come to the top”; every one of our representatives is guilty in this chaotic mess we are in, the real blame lies with them for allowing it to go this far.