This Shooting

Winter                              Waxing Moon of the Cold Month

A decent snowfall here last night but not a lot.  The sun shines bright on the old Front Range.  Colder though.

This shooting.  It seems apparent to me that the general atmosphere of current political debate can give permission to some marginal folks to take action.  Reference to Second Amendment remedies leaves little room for the imagination.  So, I wish the tea party folks would tone down their rhetoric.  It seems to me the decent thing to do.

Here, though, I am hoisted on my petard since I will defend the right of even dimbulbs to say what they will and I count the tea party among them.  That same principle though allows me to say what I think of their analysis.

We were radicals once, and young.  The movement of the 60’s had its violent fringe, restricted to bombs, yes, but nonetheless.  I have some sympathy for folks who feel aggrieved and inclined to say the most inflammatory that floats to the surface.  I also have sympathy for those who say their language should not be seen as per se violent.

Still, I look back on those days, the anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-racist days, and remember that we did feel a certain joint responsibility for what others of us did.  We knew we were connected by our analysis and our perceived common enemy.

A common enemy shared, at least in part, with the tea party folks:  the Federal Government.  We thought they over reached with the draft and the war.

Here’s the big lesson from those times that I would pass on to my ideological mirror images.  We were wrong about the government being the enemy.  The government is only what we allow it to be.  The government is the sin-eater for the nation.  It collects the hurts and hopes and problems of us all and attempts to sort them out, improve things when it can.

Do they often get it wrong?  Yes.  Do we in our own lives?  Yes?  Our governmental process is sloppy, takes too long to come to a decision and, like generals, seems bent on fighting the last war rather than the next one.

Still, it is our form of resolving disputes and it is, I agree with Churchill here, the worst form of government save all the rest.

I would hope the tea party folks would back away from defensiveness, difficult, I know, and examine their message to see if it says what they want, check to see if gives succor to those fringe folks who would move beyond the pale of political discourse, no matter how heated, into the realm of violent action.  If they do this, they will gain some admiration for restraint, if  they do not, they risk losing it all.

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