Were you shocked by the Tucson shootings last Saturday? I wasn’t. I’ve been expecting some kind of violent eruption since the last election and to be honest, I thought it would be Obama who was shot first. He’s gotten more than the usual share of death threats because he is Black, because the economy tanked and jobs lost – and because so many people are angry at the world and he is the president and epitomizes The Powers That Be.
The Tucson shootings captured and emotionally entangled me. I was obsessive in looking at more information, more analysis, more ideas to explain what I saw and heard. It actually reminded me of my reactions to 9/11, and not in a healthy way.
All of the articles, stories, reports, videos, analysis, and prostrations didn’t help. One article quotes another until they go in a single giant chain of links connecting one to the other. And they didn’t change the innocent people who were dead, and the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords. The left blamed the right, the right blamed the left, and talk show hosts decried any responsibility for anything. Sarah Palin – well, don’t get me started there.
The problem is way bigger than why that particular mentally disturbed armed man managed to kill so many people at the grocery store – and there is plenty going on with THAT that will be dissected as we move on from here, hopefully not just with one party blaming the other.
Politicians and journalists analyzed and told us every single word, phrase, action, reaction, turn of the head, tone of voice, things done and things left undone until my head was full of words swimming in a big stew. Our country is deeply angry at just about everything and looking for people to punish, and I’m afraid there will be a lot more violence and destruction before we get to a different place.
I don’t know how to change it and find that I isolate and just take care of myself (food, exercise, sleep). More seems too much to deal with. It’s not depression; I know what that feels like. It’s more like chaos that’s too big to break down into pieces small enough to grab. Though if my congresswoman has a meet and greet event in my area, I’ll definitely be there.
And in the meantime, I shovel. We got over 2 feet of snow today.
Obama spoke at the memorial service in Tucson not long after I wrote this, and I listened with tears in my eyes and a sense of peace and calm. His words were Big and not Inflammatory or Partisan. That’s what needed to be said, and what I needed to hear. Thank you, Mr. President.