The recent tragedy in Arizona resulting in loss of life and injury to so many people was horrible. For one deranged person to have caused such pain is beyond belief.
What made the event even worse, if possible, were the immediate conclusions being made attributing the attack to political vitriol, combative language during the elections, and the Tea Party movement. Ascribing malicious and dangerous motives to a grassroots group is, at best, mistaken, and at most, an effort to quash healthy discourse by demonizing one’s adversaries.
Since the Tea Party has been growing in number and influence, we have been called red-necks, rebellious and racists, among many other even more vicious names, Attempts have been made to downplay and ridicule the basic tenets upon which we stand.
As a country, our people have spent years absorbed in our own lives and allowing decisions to be made, which have begun to erode the beliefs upon which our country was founded. We, the silent majority, have permitted those choices in the mistaken belief that we had no influence on what happened … that our one voice didn’t count.
So we, average, middle-class, educated people of all ages, began to gather in an attempt to make a difference and to bring the power of the government back home to our communities and the individual. There is no rancor in our midst, just determination. We do not uphold violent behavior and disrespect, just our right to discuss and disagree.
If you ever attended one of our meetings, or stood with us on the corner as we held up signs, you would find that we are a non-combative, conscientious, conservative group who believe in the process of our government and our ability to have it work for us.
So, when we listened to the Sheriff of Pima County veer from his report, which should have been an update on an investigation, to personal comments about vitriol, Sharon Angle, Sarah Palin and Tea Parties, we were surprised and hurt. To suddenly be placed in the spotlight as possible contributors to an act of insanity was negligent and irresponsible on the part of the Sheriff and led to further division between people of differing political beliefs. We do not appreciate the attempts by some representatives of our government to use a horrible event to drive a wedge between Americans.
Insanity has no bounds and needs no reason. Any one event could be a trigger that sets a deranged person on a violent path. If there is any change that could be made as a result of Jared Loughner’s horrendous act, let it be changes in the way people handle those with possible psychiatric needs.
Our elected officials should use the common sense, with which they have been attributed, to think before they speak. Judgments about a group of people about which it seems many have no knowledge, is unacceptable. The events of January 8, 2011 in Arizona need not bring out the political correctness police, causing reasonable conversation with no evil intent to be stifled.
As a group, we will continue to exercise our rights to express our opinions, to expect our elected officials to represent us, the people, and to be treated with the respect that we are due as citizens of the greatest country in the world. You are all in our constant prayers that God will give you wisdom and discernment in your decision making. Thank you and may God Bless America!
Gail Chapman, president Mountain Patriots Tea Party