American Elephants

We’re Supposed to Disagree Over Politics. by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday was filled with the shameless exploitation of last weekend’s tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona.  Democrats hate debate. When they have a bright and shining idea or policy, they are apt to fall in love with it and in their advocacy forget that not everyone will agree.  They take disagreement personally.

The idea is that political rhetoric may induce senseless acts of violence.  This theme is one that Progressives have returned to over and over.  But there is no evidence in the history of the country that violent disagreement leads to violence.  We have had assassinations, mass shootings throughout our history but there is no evidence that any of them were caused by political rhetoric.

Rush Limbaugh (to blame for everything) provided a partial list of some of the incidents the left has tried to pin on conservatives:

The Columbine shooters. The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing…The DC sniper. The New York City Times Square car bomb attempt. They tried to blame that on some Tea Partier angry at the health law, then we find out that was radical Islamists. The February 2010 IRS plane attack in San Antonio. Remember that? It had to be an anti-government clown that flew that plane into the IRS office, had to be. The Pentagon subway shooter. The Fort Hood attack. The Discovery Channel hostage taker. And this guy [John Patrick] Bedell who went into the Pentagon and wanted to shoot these people up. This guy, by the way, is a dead ringer for Loughner. Amy Bishop who shot her colleagues at that Alabama college.

Rush didn’t even include Hurricane Katrina, the Wellstone plane crash, and innumerable other mass shootings.

The human condition, to date, is not immune to derangement.  Our mental health laws have made it difficult to commit anyone and impossible to hold them against their will.  Although Jared Loughner was recognized as dangerous and unstable, it was not enough to remove him from society.  Some shooters have been fanatics, some are crack-addled and some do terrible acts for reasons we cannot fathom.

A CBS News poll released this morning found that by a 57–32 percent margin, those polled do not believe that the nation’s “harsh political tone” had anything to do with the murders. Even most Democrats (49–42 percent) don’t support the Left’s spin.  Independents reject the claim that a “harsh political tone” had anything to do with the shootings in Tucson.

I make no plea for “polite discourse.” Politics is not intended to be about polite discourse. When the question is “how do you run a country” and “how do you conduct our relations with the other countries of the world” you expect “polite discourse?” Of course we will disagree.  We are supposed to disagree.  That is how you examine policy and over time try to find a way to succeed at doing it satisfactorily.

Nobody is perfect. There is no wise elite is Washington that knows better than the rest of us how things should be done.  Yes, many are sure that their degree from a supposedly elite school guarantees that their brain is just a little superior to anyone else’s.  Sometimes the best ideas come from the most unexpected source.

We make a lot of mistakes in this country.  Some seem to think we should not make mistakes, or that those who make mistakes should be excoriated.  But mistakes are how we learn.  There are plenty of societies in this world where mistakes are not allowed, and even polite debate is not acceptable.  Be grateful that you live in a country where political disagreement is not only welcome, but protected by our founding documents.

A Guide For the Journalistically Challenged. by The Elephant's Child

(click to enlarge)   Cartoon by the Marvelous Michael Ramirez

Important Commentary on Current News

Our Insane Handgun PolicyRichard Cohen, New York Daily News
Why the Tea Party Movement is Culpable Jacob Weisberg, Slate
Gov’t Must Take Steps to Stem the ViolenceBob Herbert, NYT
Palin and Beck Deserve Heat Over ShootingsDana Milbank
Climate of Hate Paul Krugman, NYT

Violent Political Rhetoric – Hate Speech

States Cry to Washington over Medicaid HandcuffsHeritage Foundation
The CBO’s Fuzzy ObamaCare Math –Betsy McCaughey, WSJ
How Government Failure Caused the Great RecessionThe American
DoddFrank Already Failing ConsumersHeritage Foundation
EPA Delays Job-killing Emissions RegulationsPlanet Gore, National Review

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