Boston Marathon, West, Texas, explosion: tragedy and not politics

This week has been one of sadness and confusion in the United States.  The bombing during the Boston Marathon, the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, TX, and the continuing events in Massachusetts where authorities are trying to apprehend the second alleged perpetrator of the bombings during the marathon have shocked a nation in many different ways.  While a number of people have been injured and lost their lives in the aforementioned events, we should also remember that many others not directly connected have suffered their own sadness and confusion with injuries and the loss of life of someone dear to them.  Bad things happen every day.  When we are personally connected, the magnitude is of little importance.  The magnitude, however, and the amount of coverage of recent events cannot be avoided regardless of location.  We are fortunate in that the frequency of such tragedies is less in the United States when compared to other regions of the world.  Still, an injury is an injury and a death a death regardless of state.  When the hurt falls upon a bystander or an innocent child, that hurt does not change.  Whether a result of self action, the hands of another, or a freak accident, those who care about the victims still have the same questions and grief.

Being a history professor who is married to a political scientist, admittedly I do not endorse simplified pop culture definitions for terms such as “conservative,” “liberal,” “left,” and “right.”  All are dependent upon variables such as application, time period, and location.  What is regarded as “conservative” or “right” in the United States today is thought “liberal” or “left” in other states.  I don’t even need to delve into the historical and political origins of any of these terms because that would be irrelevant in this forum.

Please use whatever definition you wish for any of the terms.  Are the individuals that you place in these groups by your definitions homogenous?  In other words, is everyone the same and professes the same beliefs about any and all to the exact same degree as you and every other member of that group?

There is a distinct difference between individuals and groups, but we overly simplify for a variety of reasons.  Individuals and ideas are not stagnant but flowing.  Even in the two party political system of the United States over time the planks in the Republican Party platform become planks in the Democratic Party platform and vice-versa.  The two major parties will then adopt planks from so-called third parties in their respective platforms.

I don’t know about you, but personally I am sick of all the rhetoric this week in the face of these tragedies with people assigning blame to left, right, conservative, liberal, Democrat, or Republican.  If you believe that you and others in whatever label you like are identical in all facets that is your prerogative.  I’ll counter that we are all human beings first and that does not change regardless of labeling.

These atrocities were committed by individuals.  They may identify, say or have others say they are part of a group, but they are individuals first.  If you are a law-abiding and caring individual, the disgust in my opinion should be directed at the individuals who actually performed these sickening acts of violence.  The concern should be about all the victims.

Have we reached such a low point in the United States where majorities believe that only and all conservatives, liberals, Democrats, or Republicans are responsible for or perhaps more disheartening actually enjoy and want such carnage to happen?  Listening to a lot of media and reading a lot of comments, it appears to me that many people feel that is the desire of “those” American people.

Seriously folks, this is not about politics.  My primary research fields are Southern and United States political history, but I do have a minor field and teach some World history courses and my Hungarian ancestry fostered encouragement from my Grandfather and his friends to learn about the Soviet Union in order to compare the academic studies to the little correspondence they had from family back in Hungary after the Iron Curtain along with their feelings about the events of 1956.  Still, on this subject I don’t know enough about this history to understand how ignorant I truly am about the topic as I can say about Southern politics, but making the Boston Marathon attack an issue about Chechnya against the United States is harder than jumping over the moon while riding a milk cow.

If you feel the United States of America has sunk so low that President Obama, Vice-President Biden, any Member of the House or Senate, or any governor including Bobby Jindal would be happy let alone be behind such suffering by the victims, I would first ask you why do you have such a negative opinion about the United States and the generations of men, women, and children, who spilled gallons of blood, sweat, and tears, to allow us to have the opportunities to speak out?

Believe it or not, the individuals of this country have put both real and petty differences aside to work for the common good.  It happened during my lifetime following the attacks on 11 September.  It isn’t about politics.  It’s about innocent people getting hurt and suffering.  It’s about the decisions of some sick and disturbed individuals who desired to make others hurt and suffer.  Please, let us make it an example for future generations on how law-abiding and caring individuals joined on those principles and forgot about politics, labeling, race, gender, preference, and any and every thing else you can think of to create differences, to show the callous or sick [insert your own expletive or other adjective] individuals that we as law-abiding and caring individuals will not succumb to either acts of violence or pushes for divisiveness.