A Perfect Storm of America's Flaws

Hours after her surgery, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords fights for her life in an Arizona hospital.  At last count, six of the twelve people shot outside a Tucson grocery store have died. A nine year old girl is among those murdered in this bizarre, senseless incident.  Over the next few days, I know we’ll learn more about the shooter’s motives. We’ll talk about the other acts of violence directed at Giffords because of her stance on the Health Care bill and we’ll shake our collective head over the startling lack of tolerance and restraint in today’s political process.     

I know it’s getting harder and harder for me to exercise verbal restraint when it comes to the violent element within today’s conservative movement. So today, in the wake of this massacre, I’m just going to say what I think.

I cannot be the only person who has begun to fear that the problem in this country is not the number of illegal immigrants sneaking in. It’s the number of locally grown idiots who are staying. You know the ones. They think our president is not an American citizen. They think unconscionable hate stokers like Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck have good sense. They think God despises people who disagree with them. They think it’s unpatriotic for any American to criticize America, even if they’re referring to unjust laws and institutional biases that used to or continue to hinder their finances or health or education or emotional well being.  They somehow manage to love guns and Jesus at the same time. That fact alone is so disturbing. It’s like calling Adolph Hitler and Mother Teresa your top two role models.

They so hate the thought of health care for all Americans that they’re willing to vandalize the offices of Democratic politicians. They despise liberals so much that they plan violent attacks on the ACLU and the Tides Foundation. They accuse people of being Muslim as though that’s some kind of insult. They shout “Kill him” at political rallies when their candidate mentions their opponent. And because of their total lack of regard for science, they blast homosexuals for being sinners, and wish all kinds of misery on them. Misery that is hopefully inflicted by the loving and compassionate, yet somehow violent, cruel and vindictive Jesus that they’ve re-written history to create. Their hatred of those unlike them is so deeply rooted that they imagine that any black president or first lady has, as the number one item on their secret agenda, revenge against whitey. Even though this black president and his wife are clearly too sane and intelligent for such foolishness. Even though said president’s own mother was white. Holy cow, we have some IDIOTS in this country. Idiots who assume everyone hates as they do. Even God. And nothing makes us more blind and deaf and intellectually incapacitated than hate.

It’s been argued that we need to preserve the right to bear arms because, if guns were outlawed, the criminals and lunatics would never part with their guns.  The sane, normal, law-abiding people would be outgunned. But how do we tell who’s who? How do we know who is going to stay sane?  How do we know who won’t snap when their wife gets fired from her teaching job? Or when Bristol Palin fails to get voted off Dancing With the Stars?

We need to stop pretending that guns and hatred are unfortunate but inevitable parts of American life.  And can we please stop pretending that it’s mere coincidence that the formation of a viable third political party, the Tea Party, occurs when the black guy gets in office?

I’m tired of people getting shot.  I’m tired of people hating people. And I’m tired of people encouraging other people to hate people.  I’m fed up with fake piety and a mental healthcare system that is too over-priced and inaccessible and greed driven to do anything but fail us miserably.  And I hope that this disgraceful tragedy that resulted from the perfect storm of America’s flaws will goad us into making some changes fast.



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