When tragedy strikes, the blame game begins. After the tragic shooting in Arizona that killed six and wounded 13 others, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the left, right and in-between have been none to slow to take the opportunity to turn tragedy into a circus act of rhetoric regarding who is to blame.
Sarah Palin, along with other right wing conservatives, was one victim of blame, with critics citing a Facebook posting by Palin last March regarding Democratic-controlled congressional districts, including that of Giffords.According to a CNN article, Palin also tweeted at the time: “Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Firing back against accusations, Palin used a politically charged term, “blood libel,” to condemn those using the tragedy as an opportunity to stir controversy, which only sparked more anger. Those on the right took the opportunity to defend themselves, blaming democratic rhetoric for a climate cultivating revolt. Because of the blame game, this tragedy has turned into exactly what it should not be: a spectacle.
America’s obsession with blame is further seen in the fascination with suspected shooter Jared Loughner. Various articles detail every piece of trivial information about Loughner’s life in order to quench America’s curiosity. These articles, two of which are titled “Laughner ‘creeped out’ classmates” and “What if he were your kid?” only fuel this bizarre fascination.
I really can’t make my point better than David Gergen, a CNN political analyst who wrote a fabulous article titled “No time for finger-pointing.” You can read it here. Gergen says that “Until we have more definitive information about the shooter, pointing fingers at who might bear responsibility for the Tucson, Arizona, massacre only contributes to what we must end in America: a toxic political environment.” This toxic political environment stands upon the foundation of the blame game, and in the midst of tragedy, we must focus not on the rhetoric of this game, but on memorializing the victims and looking forward to brighter days of tolerance.