i’ve been thinking a lot lately.  obviously. 

the events of saturday were horrific.  awful.  terrifying.  everything about them makes me angry and sick to my stomach.

nothing i say or think or write is original or profound.  i find myself, as i often do when reading about tragedy, feeling helpless.  this time the disaster doesn’t even allow me to donate money.  i just feel sick.  and angry.  and terrified.

the terrified is interesting.  i wasn’t terrified after 9/11.  i was sick and stunned and angry and worried.  worried about my friends in new york.  worried about my cousin’s new job in the world trade center (he was out of the office that day for a meeting).  worried about my brother flying seattle to lax.  but i wasn’t terrified.  i didn’t think i was at risk.

the events in arizona terrify me.  plenty of people have written about the vitriol in our world these days.  just turn on talk radio, cable news channels, or read a blog.  hate is spewed.  we’ve become so accustomed to fighting rhetoric.  it used to sports analogies.  but now it’s war.  our politicians, pundits, and other talking heads use war rhetoric to get us motivated.  i live in a time where a person voting pro a health care bill gets death threats.


seriously, what the hell happened?  i’ve fought hard to maintain an idealistic view of our world.  sure, there are a few nuts out there.  sure, i’m not exactly happy that john boehner is speaker of the house.  but, hey, that may have been one of the most productive lame duck sessions in a long time.  good can still happen, see?

and now this.  i’m feel a lot less idealistic.  and it’s struggling to even exist.

i think that is why i’m terrified.

i’m terrified that this one act is causing me to lose faith in people.  i can’t find any sense here.  the blame seems to fall everywhere.  the ridiculous rhetoric taking over our media of late.  the awful treatment and intervention for mentally ill persons almost everywhere in this country.  the ridiculous ease with which he was able to get a gun.  i want to say he did this because of that.  but there is no single “that.”

i can’t find the words to expressly articulate what i am feeling. paul krugman did a pretty good job.  it’s not any one person’s fault.  it’s a collective problem.  the palins/becks/angles have loudly broadened a culture based on war and violent rhetoric.  it was already there.  our recent culture of fear and of hate goes back to bush.  we had about a month of hope and optimism in january 2009.  and then it all crashed back down and the hate and violent rhetoric got louder.

i hope this changes the discourse.  but unfortunately, i’ve read a lot of leftist bloggers using equally hateful and vitriolic rhetoric against the palins/becks/angles.  it’s not a one way street.  we have to collectively change our conversation. 

i hope we can do it.