Arizona Shooting Fallout: Calls for Truth?

There’s been lots of discussion the past few days about violent rhetoric in the nation’s political realm.

Is the message on this hat more dangerous than violent rhetoric?

Whether or not such speech contributed to the Arizona shooting spree, people are debating if and how we should tone it down.

One thing I hadn’t thought of until President Obama brought it up last night is the subject of honesty.

He said during his talk in Tucson: “Only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation.”

I was reading Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog, and found some comments from a reader on this subject. I don’t know who wrote the comments, but they make incredible sense.

Among the reader’s best tidbits:

….in his quote, Obama has raised the stakes even higher: the unintended consequence of dishonesty in our public discourse – death panels, socialist conspiracies, faux deficit reform, climate change denial – is not merely the threat of fringe violence, however horrific, but the failure of our nation to face up to the many challenges history has now placed before it. Obama is calling for more than civil discourse, he’s calling for honest discourse – and for immensely higher stakes.


“The deliberate cultivation of social paranoia, of untruth, robs us of the ability to face reality: to speak realistically, to think realistically, to act realistically. It’s only excuse is immediate, selfish and often cynical advantage. Its costs are incalculable. Untruth is the sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy.”

For more on this, Robert Wright had an excellent op-ed on the subject in the New York Times

So thank you to Wright, and the anonymous Daily Dish reader for being guest writers in this blog.

Please feel free to add your two cents, readers!

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