Plain Talk – 1.11.11
Posted: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 12:05 pm
By: Nicolle Gallgher, Guest Columnist
I had a very different column planned for today. I wanted to talk about the uproar over the censorship of the classic American novel Huckleberry Finn and compare it to the relative silence about the censorship of the 3/5th clause during the ceremonial reading of our Constitution on the House floor. But then Tucson happened.
It’s been an emotional weekend for anyone who remotely follows how our country is run. I donated a small amount of money to Gabrielle Giffords re-election campaign last year. She’s a moderate in every sense of the word. She’s sensible, she tries to see both sides, she respects the 2nd amendment but also sees that the liberal availability of guns has affected urban and suburban areas much differently than rural areas.
She understood that the Health Care reform law would do a lot of good for the people in her district and didn’t run away from it like other Democrats did. Instead, she did her job and tried to explain what it actually meant. She was competing with Death Panel fever – I’ve watched video from some of the town-hall meetings in her district on YouTube. The disgusting behavior from grown men and women who should be ashamed of themselves is appalling. How can anyone explain what a law means and why it is being considered when people are screaming and hollering about the federal government killing our grandparents. Watch the videos and ask yourself what you would have done if you were her. I wouldn’t have kept my cool – that takes a special talent.
Did a disturbed individual feel more empowered by the overall political environment we are living in? The would-be assassin is alive and in police custody so perhaps we will be able to get real answers and perspective on the motivations of a mad-man.
But does it really matter? A gun was left behind at Gabrielle Giffords town hall. Loaded weapons were openly carried throughout the last presidential campaign and again during the 2010 congressional elections. President Obama has been accused of being a terrorist – not by loony bloggers – by members of our own government. Sitting senators are publicly claiming that the federal government is going to “unplug Grandma”! Come on?!? A single image on a web page didn’t drive an unstable boy to attempt assignation.
But did it help our political discourse? Did it help that such violence and intolerance is so socially acceptable now? Why aren’t violent undertones in political rhetoric treated as delicately as we are now treating “the N word” in Huckleberry Finn or the 3/5 clause?
How about you politicians all start treating the American people like adults capable of rational thought, debate and discourse? How about you explain to us how, in the course of a decade, Communist China has come close to overtaking us economically. How about explaining what that means to the American way of life – not just our lifestyle – but to the very idea of self-government and democratic capitalism. How about explaining that in more and more economic think tank circles, the end of American economic dominance is no longer just a possibility – but instead a foregone conclusion. Or here’s a novel idea. Instead of tying to convince the citizens you represent to hate each other – why don’t you try to find our common ground and humanity. It’s not as profitable, and it certainly is a lot harder to do but it’s what our country needs. Democrats and Republicans both love the United States of America. That should be our baseline starting point and it’s shocking how far below that baseline we are.
In the same week we took the “N word” out of Huckleberry Finn.
Our House of Representatives forgot to mention that generations of Americans were not considered full human beings.
We need to remember our real history, warts and all. We do not need to glorify the parts that we like and forget the rest. Perhaps if we did that, Tucson would just be Tucson today. Instead, they have joined the ranks of Memphis, Dallas and Chicago in American political history.
What city is next?
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