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Enough is Enough: Observations from a Horrific Day

Posted on : 09-01-2011 | By : Frank Eliason | In : In the News, Politics, Social Media


Over the past 15 years it seems to me that the political spectrum and debate has become more and more intense.  During that time there has been finger pointing on both sides blaming the other.  If one good thing can come out of the event in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, let it be a coming together of everyone.  I tend not to be very politically driven, and in fact usually do not like politicians from either side of the aisle.  The reason I feel this way is I consider myself to be similar to most individuals.  I agree with certain points from each political party.  I also disagree with points from both sides.  I have always been frustrated that politicians seem to be more motivated for themselves, followed by their political party, with the last consideration being their own constituents.

I do believe that social media will be discussed a lot in the aftermath of this event.  We have already heard a lot about the Myspace and You Tube accounts maintained by the disturbed individual who committed this horrid act.  We have also seen a lot of discussion regarding Sarah Palin’s PAC and the use of gun scope on Representative Giffords and many others.  Let me be clear, unlike the headline from the NY Daily News regarding Sarah Palin having blood on her hands, I believe this was a disturbed individual and this action was not taken because of stupid graphics or dumb wording for tweets.  We can easily find similar stupidity regarding other historic events from every side of the political spectrum.  There is a key learning for all of us, and that is that our words and actions are always being reviewed and it is important to keep these possibilities in mind.  What is the message you want people to take and how will history review them?

If we really look at all the events over the past 15 years, we can easily see how both sides of the political spectrum have created this environment that is us vs them.  I do not care if you are the us or the them.  If you are blaming one side, you better learn the other side is just as much at fault.  We need to stop focusing on the negative of others, and start focusing on what we can accomplish together.  For the politicians, I beg you to start showing yourselves in a manner that reflects the positives you can contribute to your constituents.  For those currently in office stop focusing on you or your party and focus on the needs of those you serve.  Do not let events from yesterday stop you from meeting with local citizens.  In fact do it for Gabby and show that unstable individuals are not going to stop you from this.  That shows courage.

During the course of events yesterday, social media played a different role, and one that I hope to continue to see in regard to political discussions.  Yesterday we were unified in our disgust at this event.  I watched discussions all day from people on all sides commenting about the event.  For the most part the discussions were centered on the horrific nature of the event, others who were hurt or killed, and the good Representative Giffords brought to her role.   Like many people, I did not know or hear of Gabby Giffords until yesterday, but I would guess that she would not want us to focus on the political sides, but instead focus on how we can start to come together.  This should not be done as Democrats and Republicans but as Americans.

Now that events have settled in, people are looking to answer why, and many are focusing on political divisiveness to answer this.  This action was not due to Sarah Palin or comments by Jesse Kelly (opponent of Rep. Giffords during past election); it was a crazy individual or individuals.  Lets focus on how we can make things better, find ways to get people like this the help they need before lives are lost and lets be horrified by all acts of violence.  My prayers are with all those involved in this incident.

UPDATE: President Obama is calling for a moment of silence tomorrow at 11:00 AM.  Let’s include more than just our mouths, but also texting, Twitter, email, Facebook, etc.  Maybe we can use it to reflect on how each of us can have a positive impact on the world.