I’m sure all Americans in their right (not right-wing, but logical, balanced, fair, reasonable) minds will be as horrified as I was at the deliberate targeting of Republican congressional representatives at a baseball practice by a deranged shooter yesterday. However, the reactions to that tragedy speak volumes. Two days ago, before the shooting, I asked whether America was a house divided, and if so, whether it could stand. I suspect this tragedy has gone a long way towards answering my question.
Many far-left-wing and progressive commenters actually rejoiced in it. (Click the image below for a larger view.)
There’s more at the link. And, yes, I’m aware that when tragedy strikes a left-wing personality, there are many equally deranged, bitter and twisted people on the right who’ll delight in it (as happened, for example, after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in 2011). I’m not trying to demonize only one side here: merely showing that basic humanity and common decency are conspicuous by their absence in far too many of those who have become politically radicalized, no matter what side of the political aisle they may choose.
Most commenters refused to acknowledge (or perhaps didn’t even think about) the human tragedy involved. Multiple families are traumatized right now, their loved ones fighting for their lives. Even the family of the perpetrator (if he had any surviving family – I don’t know) must be agonizing over why he chose to do what he did. However, almost no commenters had a word to say about that aspect. They turned the tragedy into an argument about pet hobby-horses like gun control, or used it as an opportunity to condemn their political opponents. Humanity was conspicuous by its absence.
Folks, I’ve been shot. I’ve shot other people. I’ve been present at far too many incidents where others were shot. There’s always a human dimension (as there was, for example, in the wartime death of two young Cuban soldiers, about which I wrote here). If you can’t see it, or don’t care about it, then you’ve become less than human yourself. You don’t have to don sackcloth and ashes and make a big, public, wailing exhibition of yourself: but for heaven’s sake, recognize the truth that a tragedy like this is a human tragedy, irrespective of political, social, economic, cultural or any other affiliation. As such, it should – it does – affect all human beings. John Donne was right.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
In losing that realization, that perspective, we are all impoverished . . . and we are all endangered, because if humanity becomes dehumanized, what is left to us? And, if America is so polarized, so divided, that all we can do is rejoice over death or injury to those on the ‘other side’ . . . what is left to our nation and our society except mutual hatred, contempt and destruction?
May Almighty God have mercy on us all.