blame…

Is Sarah Palin responsible for the fatal shootings in Arizona that took place yesterday?

If you are reading me today and you do not know me in person you have probably reached this post because of a google search. I mean, it’s possible that is how you arrived here. Welcome. I’m glad you’re a person who is looking for the answer to that question.

I’m sorry that I cannot answer it definitively for you. I’m afraid that no one you find, writing about it on the internet, in the paper or speaking about it on television or in person, will be able to answer that question to any satisfaction.

Yes, we can all point fingers. It’s easy to point fingers. Point ’em if you got ’em seems to be the resounding chorus in our country these days.

It is a disturbing trend. Perhaps it’s not a new trend, perhaps we’ve lived this all throughout our history and I’m just beginning to notice it and subsequently, loathe it. Placing the blame has old roots in young parts of us, doesn’t it? When I was a kid I blamed a lot on my younger brother (sorry, Ed.) I may have gotten away with it for a little while but once he started to really be able to articulate things I’d be challenged on my finger pointing and then it would come down to character. Who is more trustworthy? Who is less likely to lie?

See, here’s the thing. I believe I do know who is responsible for the tragic events of yesterday and so do you. We are all responsible. We are responsible when we fail to speak out against acts of violence anywhere in the world, not just our own backyard. We are responsible when we fail to speak out against hate talk, violent imagery used to get a point across, extreme anger masked as righteousness, discrimination disguised as piety. We are all to blame.

The winds are always shifting, make no mistake. We are always and will always be the culture of change. We will fall, as a nation, when we stop taking responsibility for our actions, our words and even our thoughts. Is Sarah Palin responsible for the injuries and deaths of yesterday? Does she have some culpability?

I’m not a Palin fan, truth be told but I also have no ill wishes toward her. What I want most for all people is not failure but growth. I’d love for Sarah Palin to lead the way in being responsible with words and judgements and actions. I, for one, would like to hear her “woman” up about it…come to the table and speak the words, “this tactic was a mistake…” and perhaps “we need to change our national vernacular in political discourse…” She did not put a gun into this man’s hands any more than I did but we all are responsible when we cultivate a culture of fear and hate, violence and anger. I know I am guilty of buying into the rhetoric and the hyperbole and I confess my desire to slam down anyone who thinks differently than I do, I know this about me and I admit it. I am working on it. I don’t want to be that person and so I am not going to defend a wrong and hurtful position when I take it.

All I’m asking of all of us is to move out of our prospective corner toward the middle ground. Let’s meet there and talk about the bigger opportunity we have here. Put your finger pointing and proof texting and blaming away. We’ve had quite enough of that. Come forward and join this human circle where we all understand loss and grief, where we practice words of love and peace and integrity…and see where that takes us.

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3 thoughts on “blame…

  1. This reminds me a bit of a Stoic adage, “The uneducated blame others. The partly educated blame themselves. The fully educated blame no one.” The sage, in the Stoic view sees all things that are as having happened necessarily and, while individual events may be distasteful, for the greater good of the all. The cosmos, as it is, is perfect and whole even if individual parts might seem imperfect and broken.

    The last stage of the educated person is an interesting departure from religious points of view that see the human community as a whole as an entity with moral responsibility that flows down to the individual parts. Some of these, such as Christianity rejects that the cosmos as a whole is perfect. Instead, it holds that perfection is something to be achieved only at the last day when imperfections are cleansed by fire and only that which is pure is left standing. Until that day, imperfections will exist and to the extent that we contribute to them, we are guilty of moral crime of cosmic porportions.

    That can be a rather uncomfortable position at times. But if Christians are sincere about working together to be the “perfect man” and the “bride of Christ,” it is discomfort that is necesary to face.

  2. Hm. The main variance I’d make from the Stoic view here is that I would not use the word “necessarily” and while I don’t disagree the greater good can be served I’d say more accurately in my Christian narrative it’s that all things will “work together for the good.”

    In this way, we’re focusing less on the necessity of the events but rather our response to them and our responsibility for our responses. In this way we accept this “fallen world” gig and move into it, as co-authors of the greater Story. Our responses to the events of this life are what end up defining us, showing our character. There is no shortage of events, no lack of chances to walk it well.

    Good stuff, Thanks Lee!

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention blame… « Mrs Metaphor -- Topsy.com

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