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BellaOnline's Independent Parties Editor


Politicizing the Tragedy in Arizona

Guest Author - Stephanie Romero

Let me first say that my heart and prayers go out to all those involved in the Arizona tragedy, the victims and their families. I wish that this type of tragedy in America would produce what happened on 9/11, that it would bring us closer as a nation. Sadly, that is not the case.

Instead we are seeing a tragedy be turned into a political opportunity…one where attacks, exploitation and blame are being placed on everyone but the very one who is responsible for the killings, Jared Loughner.

Let’s not be so quick to dismiss the obvious psychological dysfunction that he suffers from. Anyone who would gun down innocent people clearly has some mental issues. Yet instead of focusing on Loughner, more attention has been paid to speculations about what could have led him to do such an atrocity.

Time and energy are being wasted on just that, mere speculations. We do not yet know what led him to murder six lives, yet there are those who would like to use this as an opportunity to point fingers and to gain some sort of political advantage.

Let’s recap some of the blame game that is going on. First, there is Sarah Palin. At one time Palin had on her website certain districts marked with crosshairs. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was one of many who complained about this. Yet words like targeting are not uncommon to use in the political arena.

Might I also add that sometimes we tend to use analogies and metaphors that we personally relate to? Sarah Palin is a hunter. Is it really that unlikely she would use a hunting metaphor? To accuse her of being the reason for Loughner’s killing spree is almost laughable. But the truth is it’s a bit sickening.

Then we have Michele Bachmann who was accused by Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times, of inciting hatred toward Giffords because of something she previously said about those in Minnesota arming themselves on the dangerous issue of the energy tax and that they need to fight back. She also quoted something Thomas Jefferson said about a revolution being a good thing every now and then.

It looks like we might be facing even greater “PC” talk. Words such as “arming” or “fighting back” are metaphors. Who in their right mind can turn all of this into supposed hatred toward Giffords. Bachmann was making a point on an issue she feels strongly about. It wasn’t personal.

Krugman doesn’t stop there, however. He also alluded that the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck would make jokes about such types of tragedies. Unbelievable.

A New York Times editorial touted that holding Republicans and their “virulent supporters in the media” responsible was legitimate. Instead of focusing on the mental status of Loughner, they assume it was based on political anger.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) has also jumped on the bandwagon and said that the culture of hate and violence is increasingly reflected in extreme right-wing opponents. Has anyone bothered to find out if Loughner was right-wing? Does anyone even know what his political beliefs are? Has he subscribed to a certain party?

Now while all of this is bad enough there is some icing on the cake that I think tops all of this. It is County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, a man of the law, not a politician but a man of the law who is supposed to be focused on the criminal aspect of this case making the statement that the “vitriolic political rhetoric” that is heard on TV and radio caused Loughner to go on this terrible killing spree.

Sheriff Dupnik has no place voicing these types of political opinions. It makes me think this case could possibly end up being contaminated just so that he can get his point across. Is this really the time Sheriff, to let the world know that you hate the right wing?

So to review…who is at fault for the tragedy in Arizona? Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Republicans, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, right-wing, certain media outlets, and well the list goes on. Notice I don’t have the true killer in there, Jared Loughner. Why have we been so quick to dismiss this important fact?

I don’t say all of this to defend a particular party or person. I believe in the Independent Party but no matter which side is guilty of it, I will take a stand against politicizing a tragedy such as the one we have experienced in Arizona.
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