Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Great American Divide

The terrible shooting which killed 6 people in the US shouldn't be hijacked by people with motives to further their own message, which is why I'm not suggesting that the only motive behind the shooting was a political one. In fact, at his point, it doesn't seem that Loughner had any affiliation to the political right or the Tea Party in particular. But, it has focussed attention on the kind of extreme rhetoric that is being used in America without thought for the possible impacts.

Irresponsible in the extreme for someone who wants to become US president.

In this country, sometimes tempers get flaired on both sides of the political divide, but for the most part, conversation is kept sensible, if not always accurate. In the US, on the other hand, certain groups, the Tea Party and Fox News in particular, have let their rhetoric get extremely out of hand. As the sheriff involved in the latest shooting said,“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country, is getting to be outrageous, and, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

It only takes one person to be a little mentally unstable and this kind of overzealous extreme language can be used as fuel for something as horrifying as what we saw in Arizona, and innocent people will be caught up in these political mind games with very real consequences.

Someone like Sarah Palin, who hopes to run for the most powerful office in the world, cannot be so irresponsible as to put up a map showing gun-sights over areas with Democrats that she wants 'taken out'. I'm not suggesting she intended for any of those people to literally be 'taken out' in the sense of being shot, but it is dangerous to use that language no matter what the implication was.

Just take a look at this video (found from LFF) of Glenn Beck, a host on Fox News, and the kind of extreme and unnecessary language he is using to destroy his opponents reputation, and stoke up fear and hatred:

People in the US really have to find a better way to air their differences, and this ever more fractionated society is doing no-one any good.

And while I did say this incident shouldn't be used by anyone to further their own goals, surely it raises yet again the issue of gun control in America, and surely it serves as a warning to those in the UK who want Sky News to become our equivalent of Fox.


Liam said...

Sorry but talking about Palin in anyway regarding these shootings is bollocks.

That's a Democrat doing exactly the same in the past, nobody shot anybody as a direct result of that and this guy is yet another nut job who has gone on the rampage independent of any political influence.

It's typical of the media to jump on anything they can to make a bigger story out of something already so tragic.

Chris said...

*Copies our conversation from Facebook*

For anyone reading these comments, our conversation ended in agreement that 'They can't distinguish between politicising something and telling the people the facts.'