If you think political talk radio is a brutal place, you should try sports talk radio. In the world of news talk, you have a biased hosed with a political agenda attempting to spin current events to make you see them his way. In the world of sports talk, you largely have a field of minds so jammed with statistics and dates that they are unable to form a point of view on anything other than a simple Vegas line, let alone manage to try to find a way to spin the event for the mindless masses who tune it. This can make listening to channels like Mad Dog Radio on Sirius and XM Radio an exercise in frustration. Yet it is an exercise that I perform almost daily, and occasionally I call in to try to straighten some of these guys out. My latest beef? The New York Knicks.
I wanted to take one last look at the situation in Tucson before I move along to other things. Recently, an open letter to Sarah Palin has been circulating the web. It is written by Lynne M. Paltrow (pictured left) and it is in regards to Palin's "Take Back The 20" map that featured cross-hairs over the districts of Democrat Representatives that Palin believed were vulnerable. Many on the left are making the claim that this is what lead to the shooting in Arizona. In my "How To Hire A Hitman" article, I used sarcasm to show how ludicrous this idea really is. In Paltrow's open letter, she recognizes that it likely had nothing to do with the shootings, but she didn't stop there.
Your response so far, has been to defend the images and language you use. In an to e-mail Mr. Glenn Beck you said, "Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence."
Ms. Palin, the moment calls for more than this. I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment and of your right to defend your words and to challenge those who seek to connect them to the assassination attempt and murders in Tucson, Arizona. I also know that there is often a very long distance between words and actions.
But even if your map and your language had nothing to do with these murders or any others that might occur in the future, a compassionate response would acknowledge that possibility and indicate a willingness, in her honor, in honor of the people who died, to consider this concern.
Is that how we are defining compassion now? In order to be a compassionate person, I have to be willing to overlook the fact of the matter, and consider the possibility that something I know isn't true might possibly be true, and furthermore act as if I believe the untrue to be true? That isn't compassion, it is cognitive dissonance.
My reason for previously addressing the allegations against Palin with sarcasm is because I don't believe that any critically thinking person would believe that Sarah Palin's map lead to this shooting. It is a laughable charge to a logical person. Furthermore, I don't believe that most of the people who are making the claim believe it either. This letter offers some insight into the thought process that allows this charge to be made without belief in it.
Some liberals actually see it as compassionate to the victims to make this charge against Palin. They furthermore expect her to respond in like manner, ignoring the fact that it is not true, and taking some share in the blame and forecasting future actions that will be shaped differently by this tragedy. This, however, flies in the face of true compassion.
In order to fix a problem, one has to first properly identify the problem. When one falsely identifies the problem in an attempt to be compassionate to someone else who believes the falsehood to be correct, they overlook the true root cause of the problem and thus will never fix the problem. This isn't compassion, it is patronizing.
Sure, Sarah could lure the few feeble minded people who actually believe this nonsense into feeling better about the situation by saying she has learned her lesson and will not use symbols or rhetoric like that anymore. But that would be attempting to score points for fixing the problem, when in actuality it does nothing to address the root cause of the issue.
It is not exactly fun knowing that one crazy guy with a gun can overturn the results of an election and void the will of the voters of an entire district, but this is exactly the case. There is no magical way to treat these people to make them not be crazy anymore. There is no political speech that will make them suddenly conform to the rest of society, or prevent them from lashing out in the manner in which they do.
We can, however, try to recognize these people in our communities and get them the help they need before they lash out. But even in so doing, the odds that we will miss one of them before they act out are pretty high. There is no way to make this world perfectly safe for all of those who inhabit it. The challenge here is to avoid the ridiculous rhetoric of those mental midgets who would have us pretend to address the problem while doing nothing more than patronizing the victims of this horrible crime.