As many of you know I'm a liberal. So one of my favorite things to do - when I'm not burning American flags and downvoting YouTube videos of Lee Greenwood - is politicize tragedy. I love exploiting horror and suffering for political gain. You show me some awful festival of death that just happened, and the first thing I want to do is hook this on the Republicans. It feels like discovering that the National has a new album coming out. Mwah. Perfect.
I used to feel guilty about my habit, but I don't anymore. I'm proud of politicizing tragedy, and I want to invite you to join me. Many tragedies should be politicized, because many tragedies could have been prevented with the right policies.
When someone walks into a school or a movie theater and murders a crowd with an assault rifle or a powerful handgun, it's time to remind the country that one party is trying to regulate gun sales, and the other is doing everything they can to sabotage action.
When an intense storm kills people and wrecks infrastructure, we should point out that one party accepts the scientific consensus about the dangers of global warming, and the other denies it because the oil lobby owns its politicians.
And whenever someone murders a person because of their race, their gender, or their sexual orientation, it's appropriate - no, it's a duty - to make sure everyone remembers that one party is full of people who have spent decades catering to bigots, opposing legislation that might provide justice and relief, and mocking those who are different from their idea of a citizen.
One side of the political fence believes that the government can make laws and regulations to bring greater safety and dignity to the lives of millions. One side of the political fence believes that this is actually why we have government in the first place. The other side wants to posture and rant and jam up the gears so nothing gets done, because they really do believe anything government does will be evil.
We're going to face mind-bending challenges in the next hundred years. We're going to need government to do things. And it's simply not an acceptable response to try to sabotage it at every decision point.
So you're goddamn right I'm going to politicize tragedy. It would be irresponsible not to.
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