It’s time for finger-pointing, now.
It’s time to talk about violent rhetoric and the impact of words and it’s time to talk about how we talk about what we talk about.
Not when Gabrielle Giffords was shot, or the children in Newtown died.
Not when Timothy McVeigh blew up a building. Not when George Tiller was gunned down.
Those times, those were not the times for politics. For finger-pointing. For reflection or re-examination or change or care.
Now. Now it’s the time.
Now it’s the time for disclaimers: Of COURSE nobody should shoot police officers (my grandfather was a cop, killed in the line of duty, by a criminal with a gun). Of COURSE this was unjustified, and horrifying, and wrong. And of COURSE the incitement provided by the murders of black people simply because white people saw them as a threat contributed to this, and of COURSE what politicians say matters.
But it mattered before.
It mattered what we said to each other, how we treated each other, what we heard from the pulpit, what we whispered in the pews. It mattered that we fought each other and feared each other. It mattered that a person who didn’t agree was an enemy traitor, that a person who didn’t look like us was a subhuman. It mattered that anyone who didn’t love what we loved and hate what we hated was worthy of nothing less than our scorching of everything they were.
It’s always mattered.
It’s just that now is the time. Apparently.