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The recent shooting of an Arizona congresswoman got me thinking about the scope of political ads we all saw this past election cycle. Let me be frank and upfront in saying that I absolutely DO NOT believe Sarah Palin was intending to incite this kind of violence with one of her websites showing “crosshairs” over the face of Democratic opponents this past election cycle. Those of you who read me often know that I personally cannot stand Mrs. Palin or anything that she stands for but to somehow attempt to connect her to this tragedy by a madman is unfair and kind of a low blow. That being said, I DO believe that the politicians in this country should take a moment, in the wake of this terrible act, to reflect on the effect that their ads and their words have on the general populace, a mass of people who I think we can all agree is becoming more volatile over time. Politicians, in their ads, and in their statements regularly lie, misquote and misrepresent the positions of their opponents. During past elections I have heard politicians imply that their opponent “hates America”, “doesn’t care about dead soldiers” and “wants to decide if someone is too old to live”. These are all outrageous statements. I think most of you would agree that despite their political positions on certain issues, there is not a single elected official that “hates America”. I’m sure you would also agree that none of our elected leaders looks kindly on dead soldiers.

The problem here though is that you have so many politicians spewing hate and negativity about their opponents as opposed to offering logic and reason to prove why their ideas are better. You then top that off with shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh, people who stand to profit by causing tense conflict between citizens of varying political views, and what you wind up with is a growing amount of both hate and tension between our citizens. Then, you sprinkle in a taste of the members of our society that are, for lack of a better term, insane and you wind up with a very dangerous and unstable environment. Again, I have no doubt that the shooter in yesterdays incident was out of his mind and if you take the time to look up any of  his YouTube videos, you will see he’s off his rocker, but these people are going to continue to exist as they always have and people in the public eye, especially those involved in politics and leadership, have a responsibility to not add fuel to the fire.

I truly feel bad for Sarah Palin that her name is now going to be lumped into this and her tactics on her website called into question, but at the same time this happening to her as a result of this tragedy is ironic with her being a major contributor to this environment of hate. She can deny she is, but putting crosshairs over the face of a political opponent, even if done only as a political tactic, sends a hateful and terrible message. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t have seen her people pull the pictures off her website at a time coinciding with this shooting. She is not alone in her actions and hopefully the leaders of this country and those in the public eye will take the time to think about using positivity and reason as a motivating factor for garnering support as opposed to making their opponents look as bad as they possibly can or using tactics meant to scare the American people. Many of us are smart enough to see through it but those who have completely lost their minds aren’t. Theres more and more of those people every day.

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