A few minutes ago, I received a phone call from the Huckabee organization (Mike Huckabee, former candidate for president). They first expressed their condolences for the victims of the shootings in Arizona. Then they said the left was trying to politicize the incident. Then they proceeded to tell me that their objective was to defeat the “Obama agenda.” The call had a political agenda, and the Huckabee organization used the shootings in Arizona as an excuse to make calls for support. If this is not politicizing the tragedy, I don’t know what is. These people don’t deserve an ounce of your support or a penny of your money. To their claim that the left is politicizing the event, it seems reasonable to point out that hate filled speech, violent rhetoric and images to further a political cause, may have some horrible if unintended consequences. We need to be concerned about this in Surry County. As close to home as King, I watched the debate over the flying of the Christian Flag become increasing contentious and agitated. Perhaps everyone should take a moment to consider their rhetoric and tone it down. There is no reason that political discussion cannot take place in the atmosphere of reasoned respectful debate.
To the Editor,
On behalf of my family, that of the late John H. Edinger Jr., of Mount Airy, I want to thank the city of Mount Airy for all that it has done for us in the wake of the unspeakable tragedy that befell us this past Christmas Eve.
Specifically, I want to thank Mayor Deborah Cochran for her genuine concern and words of comfort. I want to thank the Mount Airy Police Department, the Mount Airy Fire Department, the Mount Airy Rescue Squad, and the Surry County Emergency Medical Service.
Though we wish with all our hearts that we had never needed their help, my family and I are grateful for the exceptional service each of them provided. I want to thank Pastor Roger Gilbert and the members of the First Baptist Church of Mount Airy. Dr. Gilbert visited us, helped our family get the healing process started, and preached the double funeral for my stepfather, John and my brother Michael C. Edinger. The church members’ kind deeds, before the funeral and after, will long be remembered. Thanks also for the services provided by Moody’s Funeral Services. They helped us with much more than the funeral on New Year’s Day.
Our family, especially John, has always loved Mount Airy. As to the biggest reason why, that was demonstrated afresh, to each of us, as we experienced an overflow of unfeigned care and concern, from so many, in the wake of John’s and Mike’s untimely deaths. There are scores of nearby neighbors and friends from throughout the city and surrounding area that were so kind to us.
There is obviously not enough space here to thank them all by name, but their neighborliness and simple acts of kindness are among the most appreciated gifts we, as a family, have ever received
Tony W. Howard Jr.
To the Editor,
As all of you know this past Saturday our nation suffered a terrible tragedy. In Arizona six people were murdered in a shooting spree at a political meet and greet for Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords. Among the victims were elderly adults, a nine year old girl, and a federal judge. Giffords survived the shooting but now struggles for her life. Our prayers go out to those in recovery, and to the families that have lost loved ones.
What has come out of this event is a long overdue national discussion on the heated rhetoric used by politicians, but more importantly media figures; who instead of informing the public, choose to enrage the public discourse on very critical issues. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was one of the first to voice his concern and many other leaders on both sides of the isle have joined in voicing their concern over the issue.
I agree with Sheriff Dupnik, our words have repercussions that may be beyond our control. The use of violent rhetoric has been a concern of mine for some time now. When we cannot disagree with one another without vilifying one another our system of democracy breaks down. All sides have to give a little to make our system work and because someone supports a particular agenda that does not make them evil or unpatriotic. Moreover it leads to the threats of violence or open violence itself. Even before Saturday’s shooting we saw Tea Party members show up at town hall meetings, a place of discourse and understanding, with guns strapped to them. This threat of violence is the opposite of discourse and understanding and was fueled by Tea Party rhetoric that that health care reform led to death panels and fascism. Neither of which were true, but it was what these people had been told and they were willing to fight over it.
In early 2010 Indiana Tea Party activist Richard Behney declared that if the Republicans did not take over Congress in 2010 he was going to “clean his guns and get ready for the big show” to a cheering audience. Around that same time Sarah Palin showed a map on her website with crosshairs over certain congressional districts, including that of Gabrielle Giffords. That map was removed the moment the news of the shooting was released, which to me is an admission of guilt on the part of Palin and her representatives. It is also true that in 2004 Democrats used the same tactic by placing bull’s eyes over districts they were going after. All sides are guilty, but the rhetoric is strongest on the right.
Now this is not to blame these individuals for what happened. These actions are that of a troubled young man and all the details are still not revealed. We never fully understand a tragedy such as this; however, as Sheriff Dupnik pointed out there is an opportunity here for Americans to do some “soul searching” in regards to the way we interact with one another. It has been pointed out that Arizona is a particular hot spot for such activity but it is truly nationwide and here in North Carolina. The local Tea Party uses similar rhetoric that vilifies the opposition with exaggerated expressions about fascism and communism with a “with us or against us” attitude. They make suggestions that anyone who opposes their ideas are unpatriotic or un-American.
Our “founding fathers” drafted a Constitution that sets in place a system in which compromise is not a bonus but a necessity. Those individuals had to compromise their own ideas and that document is a creation a many ideas. If those men simply threatened one another, vilified one another, and refused to work with one another, that document and our nation would have never come to be.
I have always been a positive person, and still am. I see opportunity for good in even the most negative of situations. If any good could come from this event it should be that we all take a step back and think about how we approach these issues and one another. We must find better ways to communicate without utilizing rhetoric of violence or vilification of our opponents. We should be better than that.