Civility or Docility?

Thursday, January 13th A.D. 2011
Octave of Epiphany
Baptism of Our Lord

The criminal attack on an Arizona congresswoman and several innocent bystanders by a dope smoking lunatic who is variously described as “quite liberal” and “more left” as well as “apolitical” triggered a firestorm of media blame against “the right.” The murders were said to be the fault of Glenn Beck, Sara Palin, Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, the Arizona immigration law, and various other “right wing” groups—and, of course, the fault of the gun. At a campaign speech given during a civic memorial service at the the University of Arizona, Obama tried to spin it both ways:

But what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.

And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let's remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.

This call for “civility” reminds one of the call for “bi-partisanship” heard so frequently after the 2010 election. “Right” and “Left,” Democrat and Republican, Liberal and Conservative, were urged to come together so that “we are not doomed to endless gridlock.”

Murder is always a terrible thing, no matter what kind of political views (or none at all) the victim may have. Public officials who hold immoral or anti-American positions should be impeached or voted out of office, not shot. But the call for “civility” and “bi-partisanship” seems to be a thinly disguised call for compromise between good and evil; a call to docility when decent people should be up in arms about the evil things being done in their name. Socialism, abortion, counterfeiting, euthanasia, and pointless war are simply evil, and leave no room for “bi-partisanship,” and one is not “uncivil” for denouncing such evils as evil. It should surprise no one that those most vocal in placing ideological blame on the Tucson shooting are those in most serious need of being denounced, impeached, or otherwise turned out of office.


in XTO,
Fr. Brusca
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