On the topic of the Arizona shootings: Sarah Palin should not be blamed for the actions of a deranged man, but what does it say about her that so many found it so easy to point the finger of some culpability at her?
Obviously when people hear of such atrocities they need to find something to blame, something that could have been done to prevent it from happening again if only steps are taken, something to make them feel like there could make the world seem safe in spite of the immediate evidence to the contrary. It's not logical exactly, but finding a scapegoat is nothing new.
However, when you find yourself being who comes to mind when people's kneejerk reactions grasp for someone to be put into that role, might it be time to pause and considering if there was anything you did to encourage that kneejerk reaction?
Yes, these others should pause and consider whether their glib reactions of laying that blame was in any conceivable way deserved (in the context of conceding that scapegoating is going to occur whether right or wrong), but you can only work on yourself.
And if you come to the conclusion that you're perfectly content with the fact that others associate you thusly because you believe their opinions are already set, then at least you thought about it.
It probably is true that there's some who would not be swayed away from that association regardless of what you do, but whether the fact you cannot convince every one of the them justifies not even considering trying to convince any of them is another question. Maybe it's not.
All I can say with any certainty is that I think I'm subconsciously glad that no one blamed me when that happened (not that I can think of any reason why anyone would, but still, part of me takes some strange solace in believing I haven't done anything to draw attention to myself such that it would draw an association between me and a lunatic—although that may be more a statement about my inability to draw attention to myself than distinguishing myself from anyone, sane or crazy). It's a paltry comfort, sure, but I cannot deny it's there in that tiny way.
I suppose I like to believe that, even to the extent that I don't think Palin and I have much in common, she isn't so oblivious or deluded to be okay with how the reaction played out last Saturday, and that she'd want to do anything possible in her personal behavior to move away from that. But the prepared speech she gave on the topic a few days after the event, while having mostly the right things to say and largely laudible, did seem a bit too defensive at times to suggest to me that she had taken that long, hard look at herself.
Maybe politicians/pundits have lost the ability to do that.
And even if they still can, can the rest of the people put aside their ingrained biases (for or against) and allow for the possibility they can?