Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chalk Another One Up For Jon Stewart

I struggled with a couple of blog entries about what happened to Congresswoman Gifford in Arizona. I found myself really laying into everyone, on the Left and the Right, who allowed the environment that nurtured this act.

So, I deleted it.

I'm kinda sick of being angry. It's really exhausting, because I really am sick of all of it. I'm sick of the horrible things the Right says about, say, homosexuals and anyone that supports social programs. I'm equally sick of the horrible things the Left says about, say, Christians and anyone who's "rich." It's the lonely road of the moderate in this day and age, where you fell stupid talking about compromise, because the voices of the ends of the political spectrum have decided there is none.

I'd like to thank Jon Stewart for saying something rational and calming.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Arizona Shootings Reaction
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Here's the transcript:

So here we are again stunned by a tragedy.

We've been visited by this demon before.

Our hearts go out to those injured or killed and their loved ones.

How do you make sense of these types of senseless situations is really the question that seems to be on everybody's mind. I don't know that there's a way to make sense of this sort of thing. As I watched the political pundit world, many are reflecting and grieving and trying to figure things out.

It's true that others are working feverishly -- feverishly to find blame and exonerate the other.

Watching that is as predicable as it is dispiriting.

Did the toxic political environment cause this? A graphic image here, an ill-timed comment, violent rhetoric, those types of things.

I HAVE NO (bleep) IDEA.

You know, we live in a complex ecosystem of influences and motivations and I wouldn't blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music for columbine and that is coming from somebody who truly hates our political environment.

It is toxic. It is unproductive but to say that that is what has caused this or that the people in that are responsible for this I don't think you could do it.

Boy, would that be nice. Boy, it would be nice -- boy, would it be nice to be able to draw a straight line of causation from this horror to something tangible because then we could convince ourselves, is that if we just stopped this the horrors would end.

To have the feeling, however fleeting, that this type of event could be prevented forever.

It's hard not to feel like it can.

You know, you cannot outsmart crazy. You don't know what a troubled mind will get caught on. Crazy always seems to find a way. It always has.

That is not to suggest that resistance is futile.

It sounds futile.

That sounded dark.

Crazy people rule us all.

I don't think it's true. I do think it's important to watch our rhetoric. I think it's a worthwhile goal not to conflate our political opponents with enemies if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid madmen and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak. It would be really nice if the rambles of -- ramblings of crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV. Let's at least -- let's -- let's at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.

And, you know, again -- to see good people like this hurt, it is so grievous and it causes me such sadness but I refuse to give in to that feeling of despair.

There's light in this situation.

I urge everyone read up about those who were hurt and or killed in this shooting. You will be comforted by just how much anonymous goodness there really is in the world. You read about these people and you realize that people that you don't even know, that you have never met, are leading lives of real dignity and goodness.

And you hear about crazy but it's rarer than you think.

I think you'll find yourself even more impressed with congresswoman Giffords and amazed after how much living was packed in the lives cut way too short. And if there is real solace in this, I think it's that for all the hyperbole and have it -- vitriol when the reality of that rhetoric, when actions match the words we haven't lost our capacity to be horrified.

Please let us hope we never do. Let us hope we never become numb to what real horror, the real blood of patriots looks like when it's spilled. Hopefully it helps us match our rhetoric with reality more often.

The reality of dangerous rhetoric is, I think even those who speak hyperbolically all of that would recoil and say, wow, that's, you know -- that is not the picture of what we were discussing or talking about. I have to remember that there's a reality to that situation that we can't approach verbally. Because someone or something will shatter our world again.

And wouldn't it be a shame if we didn't take this opportunity and the loss of these incredible people and the pain that their loved ones are going through right now, wouldn't it be a shame if we didn't take that moment to make sure that the world that we are creating now that will ultimately be shattered again by a moment of lunacy, wouldn't it be a shame if that world wasn't better than the one we previously lost?
I wanna call your attention to one, specific line...

It's true that others are working feverishly -- feverishly to find blame and exonerate the other.

Watching that is as predicable as it is dispiriting.

Oh, yes, it is.

I wonder if anyone ever catches themselves thinking first, not of the health of Gabrielle Gifford, but how this tragic turn of events will help them "get" Sarah Palin, or whoever. I wonder, because, a lot of the posts I read about this seem far more concerned with making a political point than really sending well wishes to those poor people. I wonder if they realize it first, and do it anyway.

Once again, we find a late-night comedian more up to the task of providing a calm voice of reason and truth, for which we used to turn to such giants as Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow, a job that our newscasters and journalists have abandoned in order to curry ratings from the far extremes of the political spectrum.