Mission Statement

Mission Statement: This blog is dedicated to both political philosophy and application to current issues based on the ideas of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. Additionally, this blog strives to create an atmosphere where intelligent discussions based on the principles of logic, no matter the viewpoints expressed in their conclusions, are not only welcome, but also thrive.

To learn more, feel free to read the introduction and subsequent posts which explain the aforementioned philosophy and purpose of this blog in more detail.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Issues 2: Shooting Rep. Giffords in Tucson

     A lot of talk has arisen in direct response to the shooting in Arizona. That it is a deplorable act should go without saying, and I will not comment on it further. I am tempted to not discuss it at all in reverence to those affected, but this is balanced by a desire to not see it used to ill effect, bent, or inspire a wrong or incomplete message.

     There are a number of subjects that could be mentioned in conjunction with the massive media coverage, but I will focus on the “state of the Union’s discourse.” That some are blaming politicians, political rhetoric, guns, maps, or a lack of common purpose in America for this shooting is ridiculous. Have our major news agencies become so sensationalized that they must rouse ire even during a time of stress to try to turn a buck? It took days and leaving the beaten media path to find sensible discussions about solutions to problems rather than populist drivel (for a good discussion, try this C-SPAN video).
     The focus of discussion on this debate should not center on Sarah Palin or gun control, but how a crazy person was able to slip through the system. In his mental state, the killer should not have been able to purchase or own a gun (and would have been legally forbidden from doing so under existing laws). However, no formal body designated him as mentally unstable, and he did not “hit” on the background check. One possible takeaway from the issue is communication and interoperability among existing government agencies, a fix which would increase public safety without costing significantly more money or adding extraneous legislation.
     While I am no lover of the blind emotional politics debates, and while this blog is dedicated to rational, logical political discussion, people must not forget how far we have come as a nation. The political discourse in America used to be deplorable by today’s standards, from duels between politicians (remember Alexander Hamilton) to hot debates about everything from slavery to isolationism to not even allowing communist political thought to enter into the realm of free speech.
     Why do we presume that the disagreements now are so great or disastrous? Some of it may stem from the WWII legacy. Many people in the country view pre-WWII American history as a great uniting cause, and think that we have been diverging since then. As there are few citizens currently voting who did so before WWII as well, little is done to debunk this myth. People forget that even during WWII there were issues of contention from non-intervention to Japanese internment. It was not the unanimous decision that it appears in hindsight, despite the great national effort that supported it. Even if the nation, despite the troubles, was more “gung ho” at that point, most of America’s history lies on the other side of that war. In that history there were groups of people treated deplorably, unjust wars, politicians making compromises that did not sit well in order to get SOMETHING done, deep divides in political parties, courageous leaders doing what they thought was best for the country despite the lack of popular support… does this sound at all familiar? And in the middle of it was a bloody Civil War.
     Americans must not be disheartened, but can also not afford to be satisfied with politics as it is. In a democracy, it is not toward the politicians to direct our anger, but toward ourselves. As the citizens using the vote to put into place every political institution we have, Americans must ask ourselves, are we demanding the best or settling for less? We must insist on a dialogue focused on solutions and rational discussion, and not support those who cannot deliver. If your TV show doesn’t deliver, find a different one. If the news you read doesn’t support and build, find one that does. If your politicians are not moving your cause forward, then insist that they do and withhold support when they do not. The onus for elevating the American discourse, indeed in elevating America, lies completely with the American citizenry who alone possess the choice of apathy or contribution.

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