I know. It's January and the last time I posted was July. I suck. More about that later.
Today, we had a national tragedy. Good people lost their lives. At this very hour more good people lay in a Tucson hospital and fight to live to see another sunrise.
An innocent nine year old girl, only months younger than my very own daughter, was murdered... gunned down in an ordinary supermarket parking lot. What twist of fate brought her to her death today? Just as my own daughter is a member of the student council at her school, so this child was recently elected to represent her peers. A neighbor invited the girl to attend Gabrielle Giffords' event. A kind gesture so that the budding public servant could meet a real life one. I've always been disturbed by how it is the ordinary things that so often make the difference between living and dying.
As shocking as today's events were, sadly they were not surprising.
You heard me.
My only surprise is that I have not written this post earlier.
After an ordinary Saturday shuttling my daughter to basketball and soccer, I arrived back home and sat down at my computer to knock out some work. The yahoo home page's headline about the Tucson shooting caught my eye. It said something to the effect of "Arizona Congresswoman Shot".
I didn't click the link.
Instead, I immediately got up from the computer and walked to the television. On the way to the remote control, I knew the Congresswoman would be a Democrat. I knew she would have recently defeated a Tea Party candidate.
I was right.
I don't know much right now about the gunman other than he was young and well armed. Oh sure, they'll describe him as a loner and as disturbed. They'll say he has no Tea Party or Republican Party affiliation. All of these things, I'm sure, will in actual fact, be true.
But there is a bigger truth here.
A truth that was written by my friends Pam and Daniel many months ago. A truth that was written and spoken by many ordinary and famous people who saw the vitriolic rhetoric of the right wing for what it is - irresponsible and dangerous rabble rousing.
The demagogues that are Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, et al. have blood on their hands tonight. The far right wing may not have planned this tragedy, provided the gun to the shooter, or pulled the trigger. They didn't have to. All they had to do was send their hate out to the universe, over and over again, day after day. Eventually, someone took up the call.
The irony that Fox News is covering this tragedy without interruption sickens me.
So tonight my friends, I apologize for my absence. And I ask you to believe in the words I wrote just a little over a year ago. Words that I did not live by in 2010. But words that have renewed meaning and inspiration to me tonight. Words I aspire to in 2011.
I believe in the power of a singular voice.
I believe a singular voice, when properly focused, can change a heart, a mind, and a community.
I believe a singular voice can turn into a collective one.
And I believe there has never been any positive change in the world that was not initiated first by a singular voice and then by a collective one.
Sadly, we saw today that the reverse of this is also true.
Only light can kill the darkness.
If you have a voice, please let it shine.