Wednesday, April 18, 2007

again: unintended consequences

First of all, the tragedy: what a stunningly senseless loss of life at Virginia Tech. My prayers go out to all those who have been/will be affected by the actions of the gunman on that day.

As is common in the wake of such events, people talk. And people in the public eye talk publicly. Today, my focus is on Sen. Barack Obama, who has made quite a bit of a splash with his talk in Milwaukee on Monday night, where he of course felt compelled to mention the events at Blacksburg from earlier in the day. He brought something new to the table, though, essentially saying that racial intolerance, outsourcing, and an underperforming public school system are all forms of violence.

Um. . .no.

Racial intolerance is intolerable. Underperforming public schools are unfortunate and should be made a part of our history--as in "no longer present in the here and now". Outsourcing. . .doesn't even belong on this list. Granted, it sucks when your job is "outsourced". . .but is there any evil lurking behind a business that decides to make a move that might bring them more profit? Some people would call that capitalism--and unless there is some form of exploitation involved, I can't really bring myself to decry outsourcing.

Violence, while both intolerable and unfortunate, is SOOO MUCH WORSE! To say violence is on a whole other level than things that are intolerable and unfortunate is only a beginning.

Decent Americans understand that bigotry is uncivil. Decent Americans understand that it is an outrage that a good portion of our school-age children will not get the mental stimulation and support that young minds need and deserve from their classrooms.

But most decent Americans DON'T understand violence--or at least they shouldn't. The whats, whys and hows of violence should all be a mystery because we should feel, as a country, that no situation, no matter how strange, will end in violence. We definitely shouldn't think that a Monday morning on a college campus will result in extraordinary amounts of violence.

To compare the gross human depradation that found a messenger on Monday morning with ANY aspect of our society that stops short of the destruction of innocent life makes for theater of the worst kind. And I call it theater because Obama was trying to get a reaction, plain and simple. Does anybody honestly think that Obama considers outsourcing nearly as bad as mass murder? Why even apply the same word to describe them?

The irony here, of course, is that Obama was trying to draw out the fact that we, as a society, have become desensitized to violence, which is one of the reasons why it still exists. Or so is his opinion.

Hmmm. . .

MAYBE if talking heads didn't try to water down the meaning of the word "violence" by using it to describe things that are distinctly NOT violent, we might actually gain some sensitivity back.

I can't even begin to describe how big of a stumble this is for Obama. His chief qualification so far for his candidacy has been his "eloquence"--or at least that's all I have seen. When he makes oratorical blotches like this, it only brings more light to the fact that he is a political lightweight on the national scene. The VaTech rampage was a tragedy in its own right--it didn't need the name Don Imus attached to it to make it repulsive to decent people.

But according to Obama, the two totally incomparable "episodes" are catchwords for violence.

Or maybe Obama was just way out of his league.


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