Monday, January 10, 2011

Reflection on violence and civility

Over these last 48 hours or so, since I first heard the news of the horrific shooting in Tucson, Arizona, I've been thinking about the heated language we use in this country. So many of the political commentators on cable news, on the radio, on the internet, from all parts of the ideological spectrum, use such harsh tones & harsh words, often times filled with violent images or undertones. Not to mention those in elected offices, those who run in the elections, those who support & campaign for candidates. It is heated, it is often ugly, and threatening.

And, we've just gone along, like nothing was out of the ordinary. Believing our words do not have consequences is commonplace now. But, our words DO have consequences.

Whether or not this young man was influenced by the heated rhetoric & discourse plagueing our country, it is time for a change. Big time change. We cannot continue to speak to each other or about each other in this manner. Civility is an absolute must. Just because we have the right to free speech does not mean we should use heated & violent language & images in our discourse with one another, on television or radio, or in print. I am all for free speech, but respectful & tolerant free speech.

We owe this to ourselves, to each other, and to honor the memory of all who are lost to senseless outbursts of violence. Civility is of utmost importance. I am committing to this and I hope you will too.

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