The Suburbanite
  • Aren’t you sick of name-calling?

  • THE ISSUE: Shootings in Tucson    

    OUR VIEW:  Stark Countians can do something positive in wake of tragedy

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  • THE ISSUE: Shootings in Tucson
    OUR VIEW: Stark Countians can do something positive in wake of tragedy
    Few events have the power to make virtually an entire nation stop and take stock. The shooting Saturday of a member of Congress from Arizona, the killing of six others and wounding of another 14 seem to have done that.
    Can Stark Countians bring about anything positive as a result?
    The young suspect taken into custody after the bloodbath in Tucson is described as a loner with mental health or drug issues. So get ready for all sorts of debate about mental health and drug abuse treatment and gun control.
    The brazen attack on an elected official and her constituents in a public place will keep alive the concerns about safety, privacy and public access that flared when former Rep. John Boccieri of Stark County and other members of Congress received threatening phone calls during the health care reform debate. One immediate consequence of the shootings was heightened security at Walsh University for new Congressman Jim Renacci’s first town hall meeting with constituents Monday night.
    So far, there is no evidence that the suspect in the Tucson shootings, Jared Lee Loughner, is affiliated with any political group. Yet ugly finger pointing about the inflammatory rhetoric that marks so much political conversation began even before the shock of Loughner’s rampage wore off.
    This is where Stark Countians can make a difference in our little corner of the world.
    Aren’t you sick of the name-calling?
    Can’t Stark Countians talk about issues, even those we feel passionately about, without insulting and denigrating people who see these issues differently?
    We know darn well it’s possible. But the notion of “disagreeing without being disagreeable” seems quainter all the time. And attacking people instead of their arguments can get to be a bad habit — mere reflex — that makes civility and constructive conversation all the more unlikely.
    Before another political campaign cycle begins in earnest, we ask all candidates for offices this year — and their supporters, and the interested citizens who will be watching and commenting from the sidelines — to think hard about all of this, and to promise to take the high road rhetorically.
    Our fear isn’t of copycat shootings. It’s of the steady erosion of good feeling among Stark Countians. We, as a community, will never solve our problems without cooperation and mutual respect.

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