Tone Back The Rhetoric

The rhetoric in this nation is getting out of hand.  It is being directed right at the people who are the most at risk to be taken in by its seductive charm.  They are the weak minded who are unable to think for themselves, and must rely on others to explain.   They are the most easily taken in, especially when fear is involved.  Rhetoric and fear added together equal scare tactics, and have proven to be highly effective in motivating this ever growing segment of our population.

These scare tactics hit people square in the face and make them feel personally in danger, motivating them to act.  The desired effect is for them to act out by voting AGAINST someone or something.  On occasion the targeted people take it a step further and join the group reaching out to them in an attempt to further strengthen the cause.  Every once and a while, a person feels so threatened that the only way they can fight back is through violence.  Unfortunately, that’s what I fear happened in Arizona yesterday, when a gunman attempted to assassinate US Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

If you think I’m trying to blame this entire event on Sarah Palin, you’re wrong.  She’s a politician, and by nature she wants to persuade people that she’s right and her opponents are wrong.  A good political debate is usually good for an issue as long as people keep an open mind.  It’s often the politician’s minions who are guilty of using the fear tactics.  They are the ones who spread the half truths responsible for motivating most of the angry mobs we see on television.  Let me be clear about one thing:  Both political parties are guilty of using these tactics.  Let me give you some examples.

It is illegal for a felon to possess a firearm, but what’s preventing a felon from walking into the local gun shop and purchasing a handgun.  Should the clerk ask “Are you a felon?”  Rep. Joe Democrat wants to take measures to enforce this law by requiring a person to show identification when purchasing a firearm, and then waiting seven days while the local law enforcement agency has time to determine if the purchaser is allowed to own one.  Rep. John Republican feels this measure infringes on the rights of law abiding citizens to purchase and own guns and thus opposes it.  The two may carry on a healthy debate in The House of Representatives, but on the street it’s very different.  It is said that Joe Democrat really wants to take away everyone’s guns:  It’s his secret agenda, and this waiting period is only the first step.  People feel threatened and unsafe and start buying and hoarding guns because the government really wants to take them away from law abiding citizens, and they need to be able to protect themselves from violent felons.

Minors are considered legally unable to make their own decisions.  Rep. John Republican wants to enact a law that states parents must be involved in the decision process when a minor seeks to have an abortion.  Rep. Joe Democrat feels this law would infringe on the right of every woman to be in control of what goes on inside her body.  They may debate the law’s legal merits in The House, but on the street it’s different.  Rep. John Republican is said to be against any woman having an abortion, and thinks they should all be made illegal.  If a minor can’t make up her own mind, it won’t be long until no woman can make up her own mind.  This bill must be stopped!

People are passionate about issues and they are fearful that the government will take away something important from them or force them to do something they don’t want to do.  The fear isn’t all that unreasonable as there are many cases of just that happening throughout our history.  Some people constantly expect the worst, however, and believe the government is always out to get them; they continually feel threatened.  It doesn’t take much to get these people to the point of action, and on occasion, one goes off the deep end and starts shooting.

The shooter must be ultimately held accountable in this recent case, and not the minions who got him excited to the point where he thought murder was his only alternative.  I do wish, however, that we could be more reasonable as a nation about the issues facing us, and look at them with an open mind.  We should debate solutions while striving to think with our heads instead of only with our hearts.  Above all, we should never vilify those who hold opinions that oppose ours.  Anytime we regard a fellow human entirely with contempt because they differ from us in one thought, we are opening the door to the kind of senseless actions that took place in Arizona!

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