While Americans are grappling to understand the Arizona tragedy, the absolute vacuum of leadership on both sides is staggering.
We live in a country that has been struck by John Hinckley Jr. and Sirhan Sirhan, Lee Harvey Oswald and Mark David Chapman. And one that's been hit by terrorists like Timothy McVeigh, the DC Sniper John Allen Muhammad, the Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan, and 19 highjackers all claiming to be freedom fighters. You'd think we'd understand the difference between madmen and terrorists.
All evidence points to the fact that the assailant from this weekend was severely mentally disturbed. His belief system was not rational by any modern political standard. He was an atheist, believed George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11, feared a global currency, cited the Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books and thought the Mars rover landing was staged. These are not the opinions of a coherent individual.
Far too often, we have seen in our schools and in our post offices, acts of violence from misfits of society. While we can look for the warning signs, these horrific events will always be with every nation.
Though violence is a human problem, every American citizen can make a personal choice today. Do you believe that Americans, from any walk of life, can convince themselves they are freedom fighters and carry out acts of violence? My answer is yes. If you agree then you must take a clear stand.
Turning these horrific events into an opportunity for a political attack is a very childish response to a very grown-up problem. This is not about winning a political blame game. Atheists are not to blame. Those who hate George W. Bush are not to blame. Those who don't believe in space travel are not to blame. Jared Lee Loughner is to blame. Period.
This tragedy should not be used as an opportunity to try and bend reality to retroactively place a madman on the other side of the aisle. It should be a time to pray for the victims and their families, a time that we can all come together and state that violence is off limits for all sides in a Republic. It's a time for us to state with a unified passion that we won't accept anyone who threatens or actually carries out violence.
Denouncing violence from all sides including your own does not make your movement any less just. To quote Martin Luther King:
But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
I challenge all Americans, left or right, regardless if you're a politician, pundit, painter, priest, parishioner, poet or porn star to agree with all of the following.
- I denounce violence, regardless of ideological motivation.
- I denounce anyone, from the Left, the Right or middle, who believes physical violence is the answer to whatever they feel is wrong with our country.
- I denounce those who wish to tear down our system and rebuild it in their own image, whatever that image may be.
- I denounce those from the Left, the Right or middle, who call for riots and violence as an opportunity to bring down and reconstruct our system.
- I denounce violent threats and calls for the destruction of our system – regardless of their underlying ideology – whether they come from the Hutaree Militia or Frances Fox Piven.
- I hold those responsible for the violence, responsible for the violence. I denounce those who attempt to blame political opponents for the acts of madmen.
- I denounce those from the Left, the Right or middle that sees violence as a viable alternative to our long established system of change made within the constraints of our constitutional Republic.
I will stand with anyone willing to sign that pledge. Today I make a personal choice. I urge leaders of both sides and all walks of life to join me as all Americans joined hands on 9.12.2001.
I believe that we must change ourselves to hold on to our republic. That's why I have been talking about e4. Enlightenment. Education. Empowerment. Entrepreneurship. It's a personal solution for all of us to become the people we were born to be, not the people we've allowed ourselves to become. I have called for a personal revolution; change ourselves in order to change the world. Those who live with honor and are responsible to themselves and their families will be the key to the future of our Republic, not those playing political games.
While everyone seems to be focused on politics, I instead choose to focus on Christina Green, the nine year old victim killed Saturday. Born on 9.11.2001, she is now a victim of another case of horrific violence. I hope we can all remember Christina by acting the way we did when she was one day old: To focus on values and principles, to use common sense and stop playing politics.