Monday, March 29, 2010

Political Vandalism

I watch the news regularly and recent reports of violence towards congressional offices have been the subject of much comment. Apparently both political parties have been hit with vandalism.

Finger pointing has been rife since the first incidents occurred at Democrats’ offices, including house member G. Giffords of CD 8 here in Pima County and Tucson. Mr. Limbaugh and Ms. Palin use unfortunate phraseology like ‘wipe them out’ and ‘reload’, causing a spate of complaints from those who think they are inciting violence. Ms. Palin has denounced violence. I think she may have meant ‘If at first you do not succeed, try, try again’.

I have no idea who did the violence. Perpetration is difficult to prove. But I do wonder why it was so easy to stir up the violence. Ms. Palin verbally attacks the media, directly challenging their power. Bias appears to be the norm, both in the press and on the podium. With the internet, it is becoming more difficult to slant reporting, since there are so many sources of data. Perhaps perception of bias provokes violence if coupled with economic inequities. People understand bias.

The internet article in the Arizona Daily Star was blatantly biased in saying Cindy McCain was ‘lukewarm’ in her introduction of Ms. Palin. A biased interjection of opinion into what should have been a factual report of a political event, things like crowd size reported accurately, who was there, interviews with local organizers, etc. etc. I don’t really think people are interested in a reporter’s opinion disguised as fact.

So what is the source of the violence? Maybe people don’t like the attitude of the politicians, the lack of jobs, the level of public debt, mandated insurance costs, higher taxes, cuts in public services, more regulation and loss of freedom in the name of protecting us. Take your pick. We have an educated populace, phenomenal communications and an attitude of lifelong learning. A large number of people know a great deal about what is going on in the government, from the internet and a cadre of dedicated media. This educated electorate sees what before was hidden and slow to disseminate. The electorate is perceptive of a lack of accountability in our elected officials for the bailouts, tax rebates and lobbyists.

Perhaps reflection on how action creates reaction, the role of government, the constitution and the freedom of the American people should be required of our elected officials. Did any of them thoroughly survey constituents concerning the important issues of the day? Should all elected officials understand and act on voters’ interests and needs? I think so.