But I can't help my personality; I am at my very core passionate about politics. I think we all should be, for I believe it is essentially impossible to be apolitical. The political realm is where we conduct our relationships, formulate our identities, and order our lives. It is who we are.
This passion occasionally gets me in trouble -- we all know I've said things I shouldn't have when debating. But I have worked hard the last several years to consider other viewpoints, and to understand not only my own beliefs but also the reasons others oppose them. I can probably thank anthropology for this (lengthy) work in progress.
But even with my love of politics and all my attempts of moderation in discussion, today shook me. It was a long, long day. Honestly, the attack on Gabrielle Gifford has left me feeling physically ill. The brutality and senselessness of it brings out pure rage. Is this how my homestate, how my country, has decided to conduct itself? Is this who we are?
I sincerely and completely hope not. But I admit I am still afraid. The continued use of violent rhetoric that confuses rebellion with patriotism, and a dismaying nonchalance about the use of assassination imagery in political speeches, has created an atmosphere where brutality finds an easy home. We are in an era of militarized political language and interaction. To shrug off today's events as simply one man's mental illness is ducking our own responsibility. It is incredibly easy to say it wasn't our fault, or that 'crazy people just do crazy things'; however at the end of the day we have to face the fact that the blurred line between violence and heroics has been created and reinforced by all of us, in some way or another.
I hope today we can reconsider the way we have begun to interact with each other. I have a fierce affection for my state, but Arizona has become permeated with feelings of anger and fear. It is becoming ever more painful to watch, and we cannot continue in this way. Self-reflection is long overdue, but I do not believe it to be impossible.
I leave you some of my favorite images of Arizona. Because this is really a love note, a desperate plea on the behalf of the people and state that I adore, even when I no longer know why.