Much Ado About Rhetoric

Written by Dominic Dezzutti
In the attempt to try to make sense out of a senseless situation, it’s common for all of us to try to assign blame to someone or something, regardless of the logic involved.

It happened after Columbine when parents blamed Marilyn Manson music and violence in video games, both of which are tame by 2010 standards.

And it’s happening again right now as many are coming out blaming the current state of political rhetoric for contributing to the cause of the shootings in Tucson.

Again, it’s natural to seek a scapegoat, especially when the situation is still very raw for the entire country. We haven’t even had a chance to bury the victims, or allow the injured to heal.

But my problem with making political rhetoric the scapegoat is how hypocritical the accusations are.

The hypocrisy is not limited to political persuasions, but it certainly starts there. While I am not a particular fan of Glenn Beck, or Sarah Palin, to blame their comments as a contributing factor to this kind of violence is the height of folly.

The critics of conservative commentators are assuming that the conversation has been one sided, that while Beck and Limbaugh have been apparently inciting violence, liberal commentators have been bastions of decency and humility.

And while many talk about Sarah Palin’s cross hairs graphics used during the election as obviously connected to gun violence, those same critics seem to forget how bitter election year ads were from both parties and how few punches were pulled, including accusing some candidates of supporting rapists.

I am not defending the current state of political rhetoric in our country. I just feel that no matter how bad the current state of our rhetoric is, it has nothing to do with a psychopathic whack-job shooting innocent victims.

Even if the murderer claims that he was inspired by a commentator, or a book or a Beatles song, the fact of the matter is that millions of other people have heard the very same words and not felt compelled to murder people.

We are also forgetting that as a society we have accepted a far greater level of violence and anger than ever before, without breaking down the fabric of the social contract.

What I mean is that we can get dressed up as a warrior to go to a football game and urge our team to kill the other team, come home to watch a murder victim autopsied on CSI: Fresno, settle down with a nice Stephen King book and still not feel the urge to kill innocent Americans.

If our society can survive all of this other violence, then no rhetoric at any volume can be blamed for setting a psychopath off.

It comes down to the simple fact that we don’t like to accept that sometimes, individuals can be evil for no apparent reason. It is our curious nature that urges us to find a reason, some way to explain the unexplainable. But try as we may, sometimes there simply isn’t a reason.

We must allow ourselves to accept this fact, as frustrating as it may be, or else we will add to our suffering a heavy yoke of insufferable hypocrisy, which is about the last thing we need right now.

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

  • Peter Schwab

    On Meet the Press Sunday “politics has sunken to the point where BOTH sides say We’re right, your evil”

  • James Morgan

    Thank you for your calm and reasoning voice. I am quite inclined to hear your message when the delivery is not accentuated by the commonly used high volume and high emotional triggers that seems to the fashion is any discussion of subjects political theses days. I would like to learn to have the calm and non-agitating speech method that you employ so well. I believe your truth telling is so much more effective if you do not have the element of rage in your voice that is the popular style of many who speak to persuade for their cause. You “cause” appears to be illuminating the actual facts without coloring them in your personal hues.

  • joaquin rascon

    los republicanos y su mano dura del tea pearty son los responsables junto con esos jesuitas del congreso, pero mucha gente ya lo sabe y al tiempo saldra ala luzpublica toda su maldad

  • Arlene

    It is great to finally hear a voice of reason amopng all the hate rhetorice out there. I would go even further and say that an obvious mental case like the shooter should be placed in a mental hospital where he can receive help he so desparately needs. If this had been done earlier, the violence might have been avoided. Please let us hear more voices of reason out there rather than trying to blame the people we hate.,

    • Linda Sue Fick

      I believe that it all starts with the parents no matter how good or well meaning they are, Just ike the columbine cases the parents were so out of tune and touch that they ignored the signs, when they should have been getting them some kind of mental help or stop the situation before it got out of hand. I have a 23 yr old son and he lives with me, I am not controlling or overbearing but I always know what he is up to, and interecede to get him help, or talk to him when things are out of hand. Parents have to see signs when they are young/teenagers and nip it in the bud immediately, others are too busy and don’t want to see…..Get involved and stop things before they become big! Take the time to become involved! I am by no means a perect parent! But I look for signs of trouble and act accordingly! I have been a single parent for many years and there is just no excuse! Many times teachers and others tell us but we choose to ignore or do something!

      • Bob Blankenship

        I can see you’ve got things under control as a parent, your 23 year old son isn’t being done any favors by you still enabling him to live at home at 23.
        He would do better making his own way in life. Pull yout tit from his mouth and put a Boot in his ass. He will thank you in the long run.

  • chief

    joaquin rascon

    you are nut’s.

  • pick

    A rational voice. How refreshing! Thanks for not screaming at me, Dominic.

  • jay richardsonf

    you are wrong wrong wrong

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