People need to cool down.

Seriously. Cool the fuck down.

Yes, politics is about life and death. However, at the same time, that’s why we need rational discourse. The current political climate doesn’t allow for anyone to say much of anything, and certainly doesn’t allow anything to get done.

Let me say that again.

Killing people is not responsible political discourse. It is the end of political discourse.

If we cannot talk, we cannot find a common ground, and we’re stuck, because when the fringe elements control the conversation, it escalates to violence. Groups driven by fear of the Other do not have a way to relate to any groups outside their own experience and their own ideology, and when that becomes the way of politics, we’re really in trouble; when the fringe elements begin to fear, that’s when violence starts becoming an unfortunately possible reality. We’ve seen that happen today. Politics is an exchange of ideas. What we have now is an exchange of bullets, and there’s a different term for that: war.

Basically, I want every political figure to take a step back and reconsider what’s going on. Nobody in this is innocent, because they’ve all been talking. I especially want the people who are calling for radical change to seriously reëvaluate their messages, and look at the rhetoric they’re using. Anything with a strong relation to violence should not be used, because it can be construed — if taken literally — as a call to actual violence. Given that it seems a large portion of the country operates on a completely literal level, this first-order analysis should be undertaken with the greatest of care, examining the literal meaning of every statement made.
« Death panels », « We’re reloading for 2012 », the use of crosshairs on a map of candidates up for reëlection, all of these show a massive disregard for the message sent to fringe literalists. Higher-order meanings are not important to them, it’s the base word that counts.

When we look at recent political terrorism (since that’s what it is), we see a strong element here:

  • A man flew his plane into an IRS building because he feared the government and was sick of taxes.
  • There have been a series of cop killings because of people afraid that the government will take their guns away

These are just a few recent examples of the politically- and governmentally-related terrorism that have been committed in the name of « freedom ».

The only real solution to this toxic environment is to take away the violent rhetoric. If we actually take the time to present intelligent, reasoned commentary about issues, allow all parties to speak, and bring forth honest opinions, it is much harder for fringe elements to control the conversation, because, as we have seen so often, their arguments lack not only supporting evidence but also a strong rationale. In a climate of open exploration through conversation and honest facts, violence is limited and violent rhetoric tends to be excluded from the conversation.

So, my plea to politicians: Sit down. Cool down. Let’s talk it out.

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