The terrible shooting in Arizona last weekend that critically wounded Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and left six people dead and another 13 wounded has left a nation in mourning. It was a senseless act of violence from a deeply disturbed man, Jared Loughner.
However, the blame game that has engulfed our nation's two most prominent political parties and the national media reeks of political opportunism. The victims of this violence deserve much better.
No one is arguing that Loughner wasn't a troubled man. There are several reports that his violent thoughts had even frightened acquaintances. But many Democrats are using Loughner's unstable actions to point fingers at those on the far right - pointing to potentially inflammatory metaphors used by the likes of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin as the catalyst for Loughner's action.
You don't have to be a fan of Palin to know that a map on her website last year putting "crosshairs" on 20 swing districts - including Rep. Giffords' - was not an incitement to violence. Trying to place blame on Palin or other right-wing politicians is nothing but shameful.
All too many Americans identify the "left" or the "right" as the enemy. Depending on which side of the political fence you find yourself, one side is clever and insightful while the other side is guilty of hate and incitement. The partisan politics has gotten so bad in this country that the "hate" for the other side of the political spectrum has become the driving force of national politics - far outweighing fears of actual terrorism or the economic difficulties this country currently faces.
It is a sad commentary on the current political arena.
With some 300 million people in our society, there are always going to be those that are unstable and prone to violence. It is the nature of any society this large. To the vast majority of us, those acts of violence will seem senseless and we will always try to rationalize the reasons. But trying to place that blame in the context of politics is simply wrong.
Political ideals are not the enemy. The true enemy is the partisan war.
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