It’s been said that tragedy brings out the best and worst in people. When events like the Aurora massacre occur – and how sad that I say “events” as opposed to isolating it to a singular, unprecedented occurrence – the behavior of both political parties should be placed under the microscope.
I said “both parties.”
- Yes, Brian Ross jumped the gun.
- Yes, Mayor Bloomberg makes my teeth itch.
- Yes, the immediate calls to reopen the debate on gun control seemed premature.
But what about Conservatives. What was our reaction?
Friday morning as the details emerged, we were in the middle of our show. Mark had been on air since 5am hosting Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” and I was glued to CNN, Fox News, and various websites as I watched the news unfold.
Horrific stories of both victims and survivors were captivating. It was almost more than I could handle, but handle it, I did, because our listeners rely on us to keep them informed.
Prior to the Brian Ross gaffe in which he recklessly identified a man named James Holmes as being part of an Aurora Tea Party group, conservatives were already blathering on Twitter about how the media would blame a Tea Party member. Angry post after angry post forecasted the ways in which liberals would seize this opportunity to blame guns and gun owners.
Does the fact that these predictions were later proved accurate relinquish folks of their responsibility to not immediately make this about them and their perceived political victimization? There were real victims here. A young reporter that will never see her dreams unfold; young children have lost their fathers; a six year old will never experience the thrill of her first kiss.
Real people. Horrifying experiences. And we’re complaining?
Move to later that day when President Obama spoke to the nation. It was perfectly presidential. It was warm and even fatherly. It was moving. But it wasn’t enough, as I watched people in the world of social media criticize him and dissect his every statement, accusing him of political opportunism.
Laura Ingraham, a pundit I typically admire tweeted, “Obama will no doubt fly to Aurora & make "healing speech" as he did after Tuscon shooting." Sixty people retweeted it.
My response (after correcting her spelling of “Tucson”) was simply … “shouldn’t he?”
During the President’s speech from Aurora Sunday night, I tweeted some of his remarks, including his opening comment which included beautiful and healing scripture. Within minutes, the cynical responses flowed in like a river of dung, polluting, what I felt to be, a beautiful moment for our nation. Our leader, speaking from the Word of God to offer hope to our nation in mourning, and I’m having to hear about how calculated and manipulative he’s being?
What is wrong with us? I know it’s an election year, but can’t we be human enough to turn off our inner political machines for a few days and just grieve that our countrymen have died?
There’s a time for everything. And this time … we got it wrong.
Myself included, and for that, I’m ashamed.
Thanks for reading.