“Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” – King Henry II
According to lore, at this pronouncement, four knights rode forth to Canterbury where they murdered Thomas Becket (the above mentioned meddlesome priest.) It is doubtful that King Henry wanted his old friend killed, but when you are in a position of authority, you need to watch what you say, lest someone take your words the wrong way and carry them out.
In the same way, the rhetoric in this country during the midterms is chilling. Many references to targeting districts (with cross-hairs), “Reloading” (not sure what the heck that can even refer to in a political context) and “2nd Amendment remedies.” Given all the anger brewing and the veiled calls for violence it is sad, though hardly surprising, that what occurred this weekend in Arizona took place. While the people on that side of the rhetoric will swear they were speaking metaphorically, and maybe they were, all it takes is one mentally unhinged person to take what you say at face value and we get situations like this.
Can we stop now? Can we stop demonizing our political opponents? Can we stop saying that people who don’t agree with us are un-American and unpatriotic? Can we stop with the insinuation that people who have different ideas of what’s best for this country are actively working to engineer its downfall? Can we stop throwing around labels that divide us into groups so that we can look down on and dehumanize the people in the other groups?
Is it worth killing to prevent people from getting health insurance? Is it worth murdering defenseless bystanders to prevent Mexicans from moving here? Is a 3% tax increase worth mowing down half a dozen people in a grocery store parking lot? Is allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military worth shooting someone in the head over? Is it worth killing an nine-year-old girl to shrink the size of government? Are your political ideals honestly more important than other people’s lives?