Sunday, January 9, 2011

To: The Tea Party. An apology.

The emerging information about Jared Loughner, the man accused of shooting Gabrielle Giffords, should bring us, as people who vote D, those who vote R, those who vote third party, and those who don't vote, together. For Loughner wasn't an agent of any ideology, it seems.

So maybe we can use this moment to come together and agree on a base principle: shooting people not how we want to settle our differences. If this is what political discourse in this country is instigating, we all need to stop it; call a time-out for a while, maybe redefine our goals.

For we've come to a point where it's always us versus them, conservatives versus liberals, and even if we don't really care about an issue, we're compelled to take sides based on allegiances. And it's quickly becoming an "anything goes" environment where someone already on the fringes of society may actually kill someone, thinking of it as some kind of martyrdom for "the movement" they so strongly identify with.

Now let me preface this by saying: I explicitly don't believe this shooter was a tea partier. And what's sick is that I had a little hope in the beginning that he was, because then it would vindicate my already-latent belief that the tea party is dangerous.

I know I've bought into the "tea party" hype by acting like they're all violent extremists, and I will think Sean Hannity is a scumbag until the day I die, but in my heart I know that, by-and-large, Tea Partiers aren't bad people. They're just people who think that something is wrong with this country, and they want a change. I disagree with where they seek change, but that's an intellectual thing; I agree with the sentiment.

As a liberal, I've fucked up at times and failed to argue against the vehemently anti-tea-party rhetoric I've seen online. And most of my reason for that was that I'd been to right-wing sites and seen what kind of spiteful speech they engage in, and I thought "since we're not THIS bad, we can keep talking like this". But we were being assholes and treating TPers as subhumans. For that, I'm sorry.

For god's sake, we're all people who basically live with each other very comfortably. We are NOT our politics; how many people do you know who identify themselves primarily as "liberal" or "conservative"?

I'm writing here to both sides. I don't care which one is worse; each one is letting the extremes get attention. Each has its own horrible, distorted view of the "average conservative/average liberal". But I can only apologize for what I've done.

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