The rhetoric is still rhetoric even if it comes in the form of righteous indignation.
In comments, social media posts, and even mainstream media stories, I’ve found a clear trend that the attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs is being labeled as a direct result of vocal right-wing mouthpieces who espouse the defunding of Planned Parenthood, protection of gun rights, and a pro-life worldview. This annoys me because the argument, when brought up in regards to radical Islam and calls for advances of the tenets of the Koran, gets quashed as generalizing a group based upon the actions of a small minority within the group.
Robert Lewis Dear might represent a microscopic portion of the conservative movement. I say “might” because despite assumptions made by nearly everyone, we are not certain that he was a right-wing extremist Christian nut job as many are claiming him to be already.
For the sake of expediency, let’s assume he is. We know he’s an extremist and a terrorist by definition. He’s probably conservative. He might consider himself a Christian. He’s likely insane (again, by definition). Does that mean that the conservative movement that pushes for gun rights and wants to defund Planned Parenthood is to blame for breeding this monster?
No. Alternatively, we cannot claim that Muslims who support the Koran and the ways of life it attempts to produce are to blame as a whole for the rise of radical Islamic terrorists like the Islamic State. In a similar fashion, we cannot say that the bigoted actions of Westboro Baptist Church are a result of the teachings of the Bible or that they represent the body of Christianity.
Crazy people do crazy things. Most of the time, they are stopped, whether by intervention before they go over the edge, law enforcement foiling their plans, spiritual experiences that change their perspectives or the most likely scenario. That most likely scenario is that the evil in the heart that drove Robert Lewis Dear to commit his acts are present in other people but they are either logistically or emotionally incapable of following through with their desires.
Americans can be diligent without living in fear. Conservatives and liberals will push as far to their respective worldviews as they can through the various means of communication at their disposal. That shouldn’t stop because of insanity. That cannot be halted because of tragedy. That must not be withdrawn because circumstances demand politeness.
To blame conservatives for the actions of individuals or groups is as prejudiced and ignorant as blaming Muslims for the the Paris attacks, the genocide being attempted by Boko Haram, or the caliphate being initiated by the Islamic State.
Unfortunately, there are still those who will not see it that way. A survey on a left-wing site asked the question, “Are conservatives to blame for Planned Parenthood attacks?”
145 votes does not make for anything other than an anecdotal comment, but with only 6% believing that conservatives are not to blame for the attack, it’s clear that the liberals on this particular site are ready to place at least some of the blame on conservatives.
The President will use this incident to push his gun control agenda. Mainstream media will use this to highlight extremism as being a result of conservative talking points. Liberals will blame Christianity regardless of Robert Lewis Dear’s perspectives on religion. None of them will allow a tragedy to be wasted.
As conservatives, we must not allow spin to quiet our perspectives. As Americans, we cannot allow the actions of a deranged man to dictate doctrine or politics that will affect the masses.