This amusing article has been all over my Google+ stream tonight. It has caused a bit of controversy due to both it's content and it's timing.
It's tempting to side with the people who say the Onion is wrong to write this article so soon after the tragedy. If your thoughts are only with the families of the victims, and how they must feel today then that is exactly the sentiment I would expect anyone to have when they see this. But our thoughts should also be on the cause of these events. A symptom of a much greater sickness.
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The Onion touched a nerve, and they have perhaps inadvertently started a much more important conversation. While it may be too soon to lighten the mood it is never too soon to discuss the role hate plays in these sort of events. The fact that so many have fallen for this article speaks volumes.
Obviously Michelle Bachmann did not say what the Onion is reporting. For those of you who do not know, the Onion is a parody news site. But there is truth in parody. Odds are if the Onion had not run this piece, she would have said something very similar within the next few days. Michelle Bachmann is racist. There is no other way to put it. She demonizes honest American citizens and uses the lowest common denominator of fear and hatred of the "other" to drive a wedge between all of us for her political gain.
Politicians like Michelle Bachmann, give cover and a warped sort of legitimacy to the views of hateful scumbags like the now dead suspect Wade Page. When you see these sort of fringe, crazy ideas being represented in one of the highest forms of Government it does nothing to quell such sentiments and most likely encourages those who may already be on the tipping point of sanity.
Everybody has the right to Freedom of Speech. But people who hold hateful opinions like Michelle Bachmann have no place in Politics, certainly not at the Federal Level. Public servants are supposed to serve the entire public, not only the white, christian demographic to which they belong. They are also supposed to have a basic level of respect for all people, religions and cultures. Forget politics, that last one is part of being a decent human being.
A little restraint when it comes to voicing less than responsible ideas has also been the norm in Washington until very recently.
Bachmann's calls for Congressional witch hunts, outright discrimination against Muslim Americans, the demonetization of faithful Americans like Representative Keith Ellison and Huma Abedin, as well as her constant fear mongering with non-issues like the supposed rise of Sharia Law and a non-existent plan by Obama to supposedly fly in millions of Muslim Immigrants, are exactly the sort of hate based conspiracy theory bullshit people like Wade confuse with reality.
To have that crap expressed by an Elected Representative of Congress only lends such non-sense undeserved credibility and makes the warped rational and justifications behind these shootings that much easier to concoct.
So if we're going to look at this satire piece by the Onion and decide now is the time to have a conversation about what it means to be respectful, what is and isn't considered poor taste, and what counts as hurtful or offensive, lets start with something that actually matters. Let's start with something that might actually make a difference.
Let's focus that conversation on those who turn Americans against each other. Let's make something positive come out of this whole ordeal and let it be known far and wide, with our voices and our votes that such filth is not okay. That it will not be tolerated from our neighbors, our crazy uncles and certainly not our Elected Officials.
This article hit home because it might as well have been true.