It is tempting during times of atrocity and shocking violence to submit to the most basic human desire to blame someone and to want some kind of vengeance. Before Rep. Giffords’ would-be-assassin’s gun barrel had even cooled yesterday, the political pundits were already trying to spin this tragedy to the benefit of one political party and to the detriment of the other. Blame is being thrown around like rice at a wedding.
But special attention is being paid to Sarah Palin’s “It’s Time to Take a Stand: 20 Targeted Disctricts” hit-list. As even Rep. Giffords cautioned last March (in the MSNBC video below), the violent nuances of this kind of rhetoric are irresponsible. For already vulnerable and unstable people like Jared Loughner, Giffords’ alleged would-be-assassin, nuanced rhetoric can be all it takes to promote lethal action. Shouldn’t we hold someone accountable???
The hard truth for America is: no one is safe from guilt. All of us are to blame. We allowed this rhetoric to continue. We vigorously shared the viral links and quotes of both sides (whether Palin’s “Hit-List” or claims of Obama’s “Secret Muslim Faith” or “secret socialist plots”) with righteous outrage. We all participated in the “dehumanizing” of the “other side”. Whether it was from the Right or Left in this country, we all played our part to exacerbate the level of rhetoric and to caricature the concerns and public figures of the opposition. And when we rob the opposition of their humanity, then we become capable of inhuman-acts against them. Violence being but a symptom of this “dehumanizing” campaign.
I, therefore, call upon all American Christians (whether Democrat or Republican, Moveon.org member or Tea Partier) to begin the process of “re-humanizing” by forgiving. By forgiving Jared Loughner (the alleged assassin whose disjointed and paranoid ramblings at least show a very lonely and angry young man), by forgiving our political leaders on both sides (who are culpable for promoting this violent and fear-based rhetoric), and by forgiving ourselves (who have blamelessly participated in this divisive chaos until now).
Perhaps “re-humanizing” is lacking? Bearing in mind Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive divine”, perhaps it would be more appropriate to utilize a sense of “re-divining” each other instead of “re-Humanizing”. By forgiving each other, especially those who we so desperately want to blame for such tragedies, we are side-stepping our human instinct for base vengeance and more hate and substituting the most glorious divine instinct, forgiveness.
We can put a stop to all of this madness right now, if we as American Christians take responsibility for our actions or inaction, and we start to act again by the same measure we would like from others, especially from God. We are all together in this, and we are one in God’s love.
35. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
36. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37. ”Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven;