The shooting in Arizona over the weekend of Rep. Giffords was extremely upsetting to me. No I wasn't working in that race, but anytime something horrific occurs it makes me stop and ask questions.
Anyway, a lot of friends and family have asked me about the current state of political discussions and in fact, back in the summer, my Temple had a session on political conversations. You see, one of the great aspects of being Jewish is that you are brought up to ask questions and even challenge facts; try reading the Talmud with your or with a Rabbi and watch how people argue over time and distance about when is day and when is night. So I started thinking, is politics worse now or in the past and why can't we have conversations...
- I don't think it is more violent now - when was the last time two leaders dueled over name calling? Burr vs Hamilton?
- I do think the TV shows on the right and then left are in it for the money. MSNBC vs Fox - seriously it's about viewers and advertising dollars....
- Ever notice that people talk about Olbermann and Rush so much? Why? People listen and they entertain...maybe it is too tough, but they try to get a reaction. Back in the old days when people blogged, the first rule of blogging was to be controversial because that will get you traffic....I wonder where they learned that from?
- Personally, I like my news center-right. However, I like hearing both sides. Yes I no longer subscribe to the NY Times but if you send me an article of interest, I will read it. I do watch CNN and listen to it on XM.
- In fact, while on XM I do listen to POTUS produced by Pamela Kirkland. I think they do lean center-left but that's ok with me - I want to hear another POV; it helps me do my job better
- I've trolled in left and right blogs. Both sides have serious weirdos. You've been hearing about racists in the new political party? Believe that they are only contained to the right? Wrong. Try reading the comments in the DailyKos especially in regards to Senator Lieberman.
- Did you laugh when President Bush had a shoe thrown at him? Could he have been hurt? Nothing to compare with what happened in AZ, but how many of you thought that it would have been funny if he got hit...
The murderer at the Arizona shooting is crazy. He doesn't belong to either side. Folks like him are not courted by either side. Trying to frame his shooting as a problem for the Left or Right is wrong. Nobody I've worked for would ever condone such a thing. One thing we can all agree on, is this guy is crazy and what happened in AZ is/was tragic.
P.S. I see a lot of media types scrubbing websites and offering to tone down their speech. I hope it lasts longer than just a few token weeks that they think is appropriate.