Real. Clear. Politics.

Does this look like the place for politics?

If you’ve followed this blog at all you know that I love politics and all things politics.

But while politics is my favorite contact sport, I also know that there are places, things and events that politics just should not touch. I don’t like the fact that we have elected school boards. I think that things like health care should have no political contact.

And so should things like natural disasters, bombings and other things that cause mass carnage. Will someone try and make political hay of these things eventually? Yes. But should that hay be made within days of their occurrence? No. In fact, Hell No!

I bring this up in light of some of the things that have shown up on my Facebook timeline, my Twitter feed, and other social media spots regarding Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing. While I understand that for some of us every day is Politics Day, when it comes to this incident and making political hay right now, I think that Susan from Sesame Street says it best…

From the moment that my I-Phone started going off with alerts about the bombing to the moment that the television set in my dentist’s office switched from the Katie Couric Show, a show that illustrates just how little the host has grown as an interviewer since her Today Show days, to coverage of the bombing, I hoped that we would have a few days, maybe a week, before the personal switched to the political.

Folks didn’t even wait for President Barack Obama to address the nation before they got started.

My fellow travelers at Salon, Mediaite and Gawker were kind enough to compile the best of the worst responses to the tragedy. Here are some samples:

For starters, let’s go with Fox News contributor Erik Rush, who has probably figured out that nothing goes away on the Internet, even when you delete it: 

“Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon! #bostonmarathon,” 

When asked if he was already blaming Muslims for this despite the investigation being in it infancy, Rush responded  “Yes, they’re evil. Kill them all.”

Not to be outdone, Alex Jones, maintainer of the blog InfoWars, tried to say that the bombing was an inside job designed to lead to the “TSA groping you at sporting events soon…”, former Rep. Cynthia McKinney asserted that it was actually a Boston PD bomb squad drill gone horribly awry, and we’re not even going to get into Bill O’Reilly’s Nazi comparison or the fact that people are trying to make a buck off of this in the form of t-shirts and other merchandise.

After seeing this kind of stuff all day, I took to my Facebook page and put up the following:

While most everyone has shown restraint and not politicized the Boston Marathon attacks, there have been some folks that can’t help themselves showing their behinds on my timeline.
For them, I have this:
Stop it. Stop it now. Now isn’t the time.

I got a response from one of my friends on the right who said that now was exactly the time because, and I quote, “the country’s lack of leadership has been exposed. Harshly.”

Now, I could have said the same thing on Sept. 11, 2001 when the man who was president at the time was sitting in a Florida classroom reading the book My Pet Goat and looking right stupid, but I didn’t. That wasn’t the time. Thousands were dead. Hundreds were injured. People were mourning. People were in pain. If it’s between politics and people, my usually acerbic wit takes a backseat to my “Do you need a hug?” impulse.

So this was my response:

People are mourning. Folks have literally run their last fucking marathon because their legs have been blown off.
And you think that it’s time for us to start thinking about 2014?! Really?!
If someone had tried to politicize Sept. 11 when it happened, my status would be exactly the same. I may not have agreed with the folks running my government, but when it’s between people and politics, people are gonna win every time with me.
So I repeat…
This. Is. Not. The. Time.

What I’m starting to notice is that when there’s a tragedy like this, the toxicity of our politics really shines through. We’ve become so ready to search for scalps, come up with hackneyed theories and look for an “other” to blame at times like these, that little things like facts tend to fall by the wayside…just ask the New York Post, which had 12 people dead (it was actually only three) and an Arab man arrested. (He wasn’t.)

Unfortunately, compassion takes a backseat too. 

So, while I understand that some of you can’t help yourselves, ask yourself what you’d say to this person if you saw….

Her….
Or better yet, his Mom….
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