Monday, January 10, 2011

My Two Cents

Point #1: There is no evidence that the rabid, violent, political speech of any party caused the Arizona shootings, even if the shooter did listen/read/subscribe to the rhetoric. Correlation does not equal causality.

Point #2: There is no evidence that the rabid political rhetoric of any party didn't cause the shootings, either. Correlation certainly doesn't negate causality.

Point #3: Any attempts to excuse or justify rabid, violent, political speech of any party in the wake of the Arizona shootings is tasteless at best and vile at worst. People have just died, do you really want to use this opportunity to argue for your right to say "ballots or bullets" or hang your opponent in effigy? Really? Shut the fuck up. Idiots.

Point #4: I don't believe in any further legal/criminal incursions on free speech. I believe the first amendment protects even vile arguments.

Point #5: I really don't give a crap if there's been violent language throughout history. I don't care whether one side thinks the other uses it more, or vice versa. I don't care if there has been worse language in the past. This is not acceptable. We allowed lots of things in the past that we don't anymore. Using threats of violence to impose political will is abusive. It is reprehensible. It is evil. I think my leaders should know better. I think my leaders should stop talking that way. I also think they should stop resorting to kindergarten-style "but they said it first" excuses for their behavior. It's time to evolve.

Point #6: I will never vote for, give money to, or otherwise support any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, who threatens personal violence against another human being, either directly or symbolically / indirectly by using crosshairs, tombstones, burning in effigy, etc. If any group or individual supporting a candidate uses these tactics, that candidate must immediately disassociate from that group/individual and refrain from taking any further support, or else I will consider that the candidate approved the threat. I will never allow a candiate to excuse or attempt to justify such speech. I will likewise never support a candidate who attacks another human being based on their race, religion, or gender. If I can't find a political leader who can manage to run a civil campaign on the issues and support using the justice system and the rule of law to address wrongs, I will vote for a minority candidate with no chance of winning. If a candidate who has used such speech in the past apologizes fully and makes recompense without any reservations, excuses, or equivocation, I might consider voting for him or her again, but will factor in the incident as a huge lapse in judgment that might indicate unfitness for office. Absent such an apology I will not support the candidate, no matter how appealing the candidate might otherwise be.

If enough people agree, eventually we'll get most of this reprehensible behavior winnowed out of the system.

Any takers?

UPDATE - July 2011 Post-Oslo:

How about now? And you wanna extend it to bloggers?

Seriously, what will it take for people to start to learn that words do have power and to be responsible for the rhetoric that spews forth from their keyboard, mouth, or publicity manager? If you're going to take the position that certain segments or people in society should be killed, you should comprehend what that means and that there are many people out there who might just take you up on it. I realize that it's not worse than some political eras of the past. But I am hoping for people to become better human beings, not constantly clawing down to the lowest common denominator.

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