Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Getting Harder to Recognize One Another

Once again, Leonard Pitts, Jr., columnist with the Miami Herald has an analysis of our country's strange new hysteria right on the mark.

Actually, its probably not quite so strange, and, unfortunately not so new. It's a matter of people whose fear of change has caused them to forget the dysfunction of the past few years and show a side of America brings our differences and distances into high relief.

Or maybe we've just finally found the 12% of citizens who thought the country was headed in the right direction last year!

"The Washington Post tells us at least a dozen individuals have arrived openly – and, yes, legally – strapped at events in Arizona and New Hampshire, including at least one who carried a semiautomatic assault rifle. In case the implied threat is not clear, one of them also brought a sign referencing Thomas Jefferson's quote about the need to water the tree of liberty with "the blood of ... tyrants.""

"It remains unclear, once you get beyond the realm of Internet myth, alarmist rhetoric and blatant lie, what the substance of the president's supposed tyranny might be. "Socialized health care?" Given that our libraries, schools, police and fire departments are all "socialized," that's hard to swallow. "

"When and if the implied violence comes, perhaps its author will explain. Meanwhile, expect those who stoked his rage – i.e., the makers of Internet myths, alarmist rhetoric and blatant lies – to disdain any moral responsibility for the outcome. "

"These are strange times. They call to mind what historian Henry Adams said in the mid-1800s: "There are grave doubts at the hugeness of the land and whether one government can comprehend the whole." "

"Adams spoke in geographical terms of a nation rapidly expanding toward the Pacific. Our challenge is less geographical than spiritual, less a question of the distance between Honolulu and New York than between you and the person right next to you. Such as when you look at a guy who thought it a good idea to bring a "gun" to a presidential speech and find yourself stunned by incomprehension. On paper, he is your fellow American, but you absolutely do not know him, recognize nothing of yourself in him. You keep asking yourself: Who is this guy?""

"We frame the differences in terms of "conservative" and "liberal," but these are tired old markers that with overuse and misuse have largely lost whatever meaning they used to have and with it, any ability to explain us to us. This isn't liberal vs. conservative, it is yesterday vs. tomorrow, the stress of profound cultural and demographic changes that will leave none of us as we were."

You can read the rest of his column here...

1 comment:

Chris said...

There is no place for guns at town hall meetings but to understand why there is fear of change check this out:

"ObamaCare and Me", by Zane Pollard, M.D.