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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