An angry republic

So many bullets flew in Tuscon, Arizona on Saturday. A little girl died. Grandparents died. Someone’s future husband died. A judge died on his way home from church. A congresswoman was crippled and maimed while meeting with her constituents in a grocery store parking lot. Isn’t that sad?

That horror sounds very sad to me. So why have I felt so angry?

The political right in this country is angry because the duly and lawfully elected president has implemented policy that is somewhat left of center.

The political left in this country is angry because the political right uses inflammatory and violent rhetoric that certainly intimidates people and possibly influenced a lunatic who was bent on violence.

The political right is even more angry because the political left says they should tone down their rhetoric.

Do you see a pattern here? It goes back and forth like a tennis match. And it just won’t stop.

I’ve been angry for a few days at people who talk about bullets and ballots and use rifle crosshairs on maps. I’ve been angry with radio talkshow hosts blubbering about how people like me are happy that this happened because it gives us a chance to attack right-wingers. I’ve been angry at people who refuse to consider thoughts like, “Hey, maybe I should stop demonizing people who disagree with me.”

But after listening to President Obama talk tonight, I feel really, really sad. And that’s so much harder to deal with than being angry.

It’s so easy to be angry. It feels kind of good to hate something. You let it all out. You let all the bad feeling flow through you and at someone else.

It’s so much harder to feel sad. It’s hard to let yourself feel the pain. To take it in and deal with it. It’s hard to think about that little girl who died because some lunatic had so much hate pouring out of him. It’s hard to feel sad for her because it can hurt. But maybe hurting like that is good for you. Maybe it teaches you a lesson.