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January 13th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Will Tucson massacre change tone of political debate?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was one of President Obama's finer moments.

Speaking to a full auditorium in Tucson - and the wider television audience of a grieving nation - the president told Americans, "We can be better."

In light of the massacre of innocents and a country more divided than ever, Mr. Obama said it's time to talk to each other "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds."

As he eulogized the dead, the president said while we may not be able to stop all evil in the world, how we treat one another is entirely up to us. Mr. Obama spoke at length about Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed, saying that he wants "our democracy to be as good as she imagined it."

The president walked a fine line as he tried to stay above the partisan blame game that has evolved since this tragedy. He said, "the forces that divide us are not as strong as the forces that unite us."

Many believe the speech was just what the doctor ordered for a country reeling from the shootings and weary of years of divisive politics. But in the long run how much will it matter?

There's still a dark side to what happened in Tucson last weekend. A very dark side.

An aide to Sarah Palin says there are a record number of death threats against Palin since the Arizona shootings. Her aides are looking to step up her security.

This stuff is ugly and scary and very much begs the question of what we are becoming.

Here’s my question to you: Will the Tucson massacre change the tone of the political debate in this country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Michele writes:
It is my fear that all sides will find inspiration in this tragedy and that the divide will only intensify. Civility is not a partisan issue; it is a respect issue and those who continue to disrespect their fellow citizens, regardless of where their political affiliation lies, will only find fuel for their angry fires.

Peter in Tarrytown, New York writes:
No, it won't. Reasoned, logical and sensible adult conversation doesn't get air time. Loud, stupid and ignorant conversation does.

Jerry in Toronto writes:
Jack, I would surely hope so, but, I doubt it. Predictably everything will quiet down for a spell, but as the next election fires up it will be back to business as usual. For politicians, there is no middle ground when their job is on the line. They'll do and say whatever it takes to get elected then blame everyone else when horrific situations happen like the one in Tucson. It's just another day to them. So sad.

Deb writes:
If this doesn't change it, what will? We react to other countries and their problems but we're really in denial about the severity of our issues here at home. As soon as all political parties start uniting in the U.S., violence will have less of voice.

Joe in Florida writes:
Jack, No, this event will not have any effect on dampening the sharp exchanges between competing interests. A ribald debate is what was anticipated and expected in a free democracy. To expect less is to diminish American democracy.

Karl in Michigan writes:
It will only if the parties involved take an active roll in monitoring themselves and their members. This includes the political parties and the media. We can't keep going down the road we are on and not do permanent damage to our society.

Ken in North Carolina writes:
The odds of winning the lottery are about 1 in 176 million. The odds of politicians changing the tone of political debate in this country are less than that.


Filed under: Tragedy • United States
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Ken

    Hillary Clinton called the Tucson massacre an act of internal USA terrorism.

    No wonder the Russians made their comment about the USA.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  2. calaurore9

    Nope. It did give us the demise of Sarah, but at what cost?

    January 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  3. Kevin K Webster, MA

    It has. It takes any bipartisan progress and sets it back once again. Add to this the media with it's dog with a bone never let anything be put to rest attitude and keep ueling a fire of opposition between the parties. Hell if congress got along something might get accomplished and for the people. What would we do for news then? We need contriversy and discourse just to keep it interesting on TV and radio. Eventually we forget about this and try to work together and then some diaster will trigger partisan blame and we start all over again.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  4. Gail, Plano TX

    The more things change, the more they stay the same, Jack. But God love him, the President, who is an eternal optimist will continue to reach out to the GOP. Someone said to me recently, the GOP is shooting itself in the perennial foot. Their attitudes really need to be worked on. They need to do their jobs. Congress is not
    their schoolyard! They act like children!

    January 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  5. honest John in Vermont

    It will only change for a month or so and then those that fan the flames of political turmoil will prevail.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    Yes Jack,things may improve a little. Until the next time....

    January 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  7. Allan - Chicago

    I am with Barbara Bush when she said Sarah Palin should go back to Alaska and stay there. Palin is a vicious mean person who should be up in Alaska and never heard from again go away Sarah!

    January 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  8. Lou Shaffer

    Gimmie a break, Jack. While I'm no fan of Sarah Palin....It is unfair to compare the responses of Obama vs. Palin. Sarah, obviously, pens her own speeches while the President is privy to a staff of writers that undoubtedly have Master's Degrees in Literature and Political Rhetoric.

    I believe the Left [ and the Right ] will stoop to spin negatively on ANY soundbite to discredit each other. Just another example of the nasty rhetoric we are constantly bombarded with !!

    January 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  9. Sean in Michigan

    It depends on whether politicians (and more importantly, the media) realize that the problem lies on both sides or continue to pretend it's all because of Palin and Limbaugh. I'm pretty sure she didn't incite threats against herself.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  10. F M Hand

    I didn't hear the Palin speech but I did listen to Obama. He delivered a great speech as most speeches are when written by speechwriter Cody Keenan from Chicago's north suburbs..
    I doubt that Palin has a writer of that caliber or the many advisers Obama has to help with the complexities of the issue.

    Anyhow, God Bless them both.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  11. F M Hand

    I didn't hear the Palin speech but I did listen to Obama. He delivered a great speech as most speeches are when written by speechwriter Cody Keenan from Chicago's north suburbs..
    I doubt that Palin has a writer of that caliber or the many advisers Obama has to help with the complexities of the issue.

    Anyhow, God Bless them both.

    Virginia Beach VA

    January 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  12. Allan - Chicago

    This will not when you have producers on all cable news who have 2 guys arguing and bickering like maniacs and we don't like to watch this don't you guys ever get it. We run for the remote when you have pundits argue its annoying time to change the channel.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  13. Ralph

    Maybe, but it'll last about as long as it took the House majority to break promises.
    Ralph – Corpus Christi, Texas

    January 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  14. Bill in S. TX

    Jack,

    Will the Tucson massacre change the tone of the political debate in this country?

    Sorry, N O

    We are an angry, mis-informed group of hurting folk in great need of scapegoats. While those with the money are doing really well, at our expense. The hate serves the purpose of diverting our attention that we are all corporate owned: credit cards, mortgages, meager jobs and really scared and hurting.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  15. B B Noe , Rio Rico, Az

    I hope so, We are so divided we need to be a United Country .
    The Republicans and the Democrates need to set aside there differences and put our wonderful country and us the people above there differences and work together as a team. They need to set a better example. This has been very tragic for the state of Arizona , the victom's and familes and Congresswomen Gabby Giffords and our country.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  16. patrick

    sad to say no

    January 13, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  17. Linda in Arizona

    Not a chance. The right runs on hate. Obama's platitudinous exploitation of the dead notwithstanding, nothing is going to change.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    No.

    More rhetoric from Obama. Nothing more.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  19. Ken in NC

    The odds of winning the lottery are about 1 in 176 million. The odds of politicians changing the tone of political debate in this country are less than that.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  20. jim

    No.... The only change is that Politicians will start carrying weapons.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  21. Meg from John Boehner's district in Ohio

    Jack–
    I sincerely doubt it. Just look at the crap that came out today. Some of us were listening–many were not–and intend to carry on divisive business as usual. And as for Palin's death threats–the old quote says it all, "Those who live by the sword will die by the sword."

    January 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  22. Jeff In Minnesota

    In the short term, probably. In the long term, Tuscon will be forgotten in around six to nine months and politicians, the media and the rest of us will be right back where we were before Tuscon.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  23. Gigi Oregon

    I'm afraid the sin is too deep in the heart of politics in the USA. As children most of us were taught the that what we sow we shall reap. If we do not understand this, how can we change. Sadly if we don't a little girl and others have died in vain.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  24. Ron San Antonio

    Not a chance, Jack. The Republicans don't have it in them.
    I went to the post office here in San Antonio just hours after one of the most moving speeches I have ever heard, and what did I see? Parked in front of the US Post Office was a pickup loaded with all kinds of banners and posters filled with Hate, and of course, lies about President Obama. They were handing out flyers labeled Crush Obama and Send Him Back to His Own Country!
    I though the President did a wonderful job last night bringing to country back together and uniting all of us for a few moments.
    But just wait, it'll be Repeal Obamacare, instead of,Lets work together to fix Health Care for everyone. Jack, Bipartisain in Republican speak means, "Do it our way or else"! They don't have it in them to work with Democrats. ANd it's all about Big Business, Big Money, and Greed! Sorry, It will never happen.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  25. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    tampa, fl We have border patrol agents being shot at daily, but let one politician get shot, and suddenly our politicians find an excuse to dodge all of the political bullets by focusing on one person that should have been in a mental institution. Putting all of these people on the streets to "function" is the true crime. I'm surprised more politicians haven't been shot the way they treat us taxpaying citizens and our mentally ill.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  26. David, British Columbia

    YES! To think otherwise is unacceptable. ENOUGH!

    January 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  27. Peter in Tarrytown, NY

    No it wont.
    Reasoned, logical, sensible adult conversation doesn't get air time. Loud, stupid and ignorant does.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  28. Michele L.

    It is my fear that all sides will find inspiration in this tragedy and that the divide will only intensify. Civility is not a partisan issue, it is a respect issue and those who continue to disrespect their fellow citizens, regardless of where their political affiliation lies, will only find fuel for their angry fires.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  29. paul

    Sara Palin is more patriotic than all the Presidents were combined. This President used this tragic event to promote a rally not a memorial. He used this event because he knows his popularity is dimishing to the lowest of lows. I do approve his individual respect to each of our fallen Heroes and to Congress woman Gabby. God rest in peace. God Bless America

    January 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  30. mike

    it shouldent change poltics at all just because some psycho did something horrible no one MADE him do it as the media is so quick to blame pailin and republicans for at what point do we hold people accountable for their own actions and its just insane that anyone is even willing to entertain such non sense and even more insane that media is using these peoples pain to turn a profit and boost ratings.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  31. dave in nash

    Politicians are not often enough the target of fear, they have it too good. I know that's a tough statement, but common people live in fear of many things daily, one being simply surviving. No comparison, we can;t hire help.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  32. Jesusdude from D.C.

    This shall be the end of the Republican/Democrat version of the East Coast-West Coast feud!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  33. anatoli levchin

    The most important conclusion for me that now it is the right time for American people to change their attitude to the availability of guns (and especially the type of guns used by that idiot) for mentally ill persons and kids. Something is deeply wrong here and should be changed. Political games around this problem are disgusting.

    Boulder, Colorado

    January 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  34. Sunshine , Jackson, Ms

    Yes it will! this was total devasitation where innocent people were killed and seriously injured, and you would think that people like Palin would have more heart, IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!! God Bless Her.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  35. Kevin F.

    Well Jack, here we go again. Why do we even give Sarah Palin the time of day with the nonsense she spills out of her mouth. Palin clearly has no intelligents towards anyone or anything when it comes to politics or life in general. To think, this women would use this tragic situation in Tucson and try to comment on a time of mourning. I truly hope that the GOP will distant themselves from her as fast as they can. What an idiot!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  36. nancy

    i would love to say yes, but with the speech that sarah gave yesterday and the fall out from that, i really doubt it.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  37. Thinkforyourself, OK

    NO, it will not. The Left would love to shut down FREE SPEECH from the Conservatives, but it will backfire on them.

    Stalin, Hitler, Castro and Chavez, used/uses these same tactics to shut up all who disagree. Now, we see the Progressive Left invoking the same here in the United States. What's next, arrests and imprisonment??

    January 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  38. Paul, Pheonix

    It may Jack. But I'll bet that in two weeks, Sarah Palin will be back on the
    scene inciting violence, . .Oops I mean "declaring her run for the Presidency".

    Jack, Palin is nothing more than a demagogue, and is very dangerous to this country. As we have finally seen in Arizona.
    Arizona may have become the tombstone of America. As the honest sheriff so truthfully stated. Wake up America!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  39. Paul

    The left never paused in their fabricated attacks on the right at the moment of this tragedy. I don't believe the left is willing to change.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  40. Jim Blevins

    I sure hope so. I am especially distressed to learn of death treats against Palin.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    January 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  41. Louis Patyk

    No! The debate goes on as I write, or type. this. Before the speech was over the political debate was on. Tell me something Jack.

    Fox news people such as O'riely, Megan Kelly, Sean, the crew, Scarborough, Pat at MSNBC were excusing Palin,and saying in effect that it was only politics that she, or they were debating.That was and is allright.

    Every one on all three cable net. are saying that the shooter is crazy and that the sherrif and school officials should have seenthat from what he posted and said he should never have gotten a fire arm and should have been locked away. Now I might agree with everyone.

    My question to you is this. Why is what he posted and said any differant than what Palin, Bockman, and the goof , the witch and a few more Loonies said. They were just expressing a political view and he is crazy

    Draw the line for me please as I connot see it LOU from La Salle,IL

    January 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  42. Thinkforyourself, OK

    How can it change. Those on the Right believe that the country is being taken over by Marxists, who will eventually destroy the U.S. for the purpose of obtaining Global Power.

    This is not a mystery, Jack, it is PROPHECY.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  43. Barbara Lou Townsend

    The Tucson massacre is having some good influence on Americans, I feel – for those who actually tuned into the events and were paying attention. No doubt in my mind the Republican leaders will be minding their P's and Qs more in an attempt to appear more cooperative, well informed, etc. We may not have so many filibusters for awhile.
    The main troublemakers of the Republican Party planners – whoever they may be – will just go underground for and become more covert.
    I have done a few spot checks on the media and I do not feel the polarization is disappearing overnight.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  44. Karl in Mich

    It will only if the parties involved take an active roll in monitoring themselves and their members. This includes the political parties and the media. We can't keep going down the road we are on and not do permanent damage to our society. Everyone needs to think before they speak and if they do misspeak, they need to immediately correct themselves or be called out by everyone concerned. The hate we have seen and heard of late would not be an issue if the media had refused to broadcast and publish it. Everyone needs to take responsibility.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  45. Jeannette/America via Canada

    Wake UP – Jack!
    The only way, REAL AMERICANS, are going to change the negative rhetoric, spilling out from the HATE SIDE OF AMERICA. Put down their guns and vote out those who can not see the real value of Freedom. Respect, even with owning a gun, has been lost on the weak and security of normality in America.
    Let all of us get rid of the dark side.

    And TURN ON THE LIGHT OF THE GOOD SIDE!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  46. Toni from OK

    Thank God for our President. If it doesn't then what will. I truely hope this is a wake up call for people. The tongue can be dangerous.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  47. Tim in Texas

    It sure would be nice if it did, wouldn't it? It'll depend on what the American people do. If we vote for those people who present cogent rational arguments for their positions, we'll all be better off.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  48. Ed

    The tone of debate has survived worse.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  49. randy

    jack,, as long as we have both parties making up lies and cracks about each other, it won;t stop.........our congress have been broken for years and people still go on reelecting the same crooked idiots we call our american congress, jail the lot of them. starting with that boehner, he needs to retire to the nursing homes for misfits.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  50. Barbara Teixeira

    I was very impressed with the president's speech in Tucson last night. I applaud his call for civility and his caution about pointing fingers at others when we do not know the facts. One can only hope that enough people who were watching him will heed his words and act accordingly. I would like to see this start with the President himself. As a start, the President should now, as leader of this country provide an example by refraining from calling his political opponents his enemies. What a terrible example that is for the country. I was not at all impressed with him during the 2010 campaign.

    Let's hope that going forward we can all handle our political comments in a more tolerant, dignified and respectful manner. Yes, we certainly can do better.

    Barbara
    Las Vegas, NV

    January 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  51. Pat, Fayetteville, NC

    Jack,

    The tragedy in Tucson is not enough to change the gun laws of this country. That was quite evident when one political figure suggested that if Rep. Gabby's staff had been armed when the shooting started, he/she/they may have been able to return fire and stopped the sense less killing and maiming of innocent people. When he said that I was horrified. I visualized "X" number of people with guns, firing in the direction of the shooter or where they thought the shooter was and dead and maimed bodies lying everywhere.

    We have tried to become a civilized society, but continue to live daily in the "Ole West".

    January 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  52. karen meyer

    I sure hope so. Our President made a good speech.
    We all REALLY need some kumbaya!!!
    Come on, we're all Americans first, let's TRY for some
    unity and cooperation on all the huge problems we face.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  53. Angela Savage Austin

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I pray so...Of Moose and Men, even Bullwinkle will tell Rocky..."sometimes you feel like a nut...sometimes you don't." Will somebody tell Sarah Palin this!!!!!!

    Angela Savage Austin from Maryland

    January 13, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  54. Mike ( Vancouver )

    Yes .......... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ......... opps that's over -back to business as usual

    January 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  55. Aaron

    Let us hope, if not will we survive ?

    January 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  56. Greg Turman

    Jack;

    Why don't you ask the Haditha Marines?

    The "drive by media" will continue to character assasinate their political opponents, i.e. do as much damge to your political opponents before the facts become reality.
    It is a Dan Rather style of non journalism that no longer has a valid place in society with the age of the internet & high speed fact checkers
    Gregory Turman
    Dallas,Texas.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  57. Morris Floyd

    I'd love to think President Obama's reflections on the Tucson tragedy would help the country turn the corner to a new era of civility and, even more important, productivity in its governance. However, it's hard to be optimistic. The loudest voices in the Tea Party, for example, are already complaining about the delayed attention to their agenda. There's a discouraging callousness this attitude.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  58. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Until all men and women are able to go into their conscious and stop the denial, stop the blame, stop the hopelessness of the absoluteness of their ideologies, and begin to look at ourselves as the people we were meant to be and understand not one of us are that person, then in the end we can never change.

    Physicists will tell you the soul is pure energy, it is also pure love, when each of us decides to realign our personalities with our souls, such as it was when we were children, we will only then be able to open our eyes to the fascination of the good that is mankind.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  59. Anil Puri

    The fortunate answer is "yes." The unfortunate answer is "temporarily."

    January 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  60. Kevin Hobbs

    As long as there is politicians that lie and press that fan the flames, the will be nuts that come out of the woodwork and do stuff like this at Tucson.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  61. Robert

    Will Tucson massacre change tone of political debate? For now at least. But eventually people will begin to forget and go back to their old ways. Americans are too worried about getting the newest Iphone rather than the tone of political debate. Some habits die harder than others. Its to bad 6 people had to die to even open this dialog.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  62. Patricia, Seattle

    Jack, Unfortunately no. Not as long as the public continues to glorify individuals like Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Sharon Angel and other individuals who use lies and twisted inuendos to gin up the public as they fatten their personal bank accounts. We we stop putting these "idiots" on TV, stop giving them microphones and stop asking them for their opinions on any topic.....they will fold up their tents and go home.
    I am still thanking John McCain for the infinite gift of Sarah Palin. UGH!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  63. Jim Carlisle

    Jack,
    First off, President Obama moved me to tears. ( I am a 73 year old White Male.) If we take to heart Obama's Homily we can't help but be better. That's the least we can do for the fallen.

    Jim

    January 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  64. c h applewhite

    I watched FOX News this morning and their only concern was how rapidly wouid their agenda be pushed forward and that President Obama really did nod want to engage in a real debate with Palin. I honestly felt I was in NeverNever land

    January 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  65. Alex Malley

    In the short term perhaps, but like anyone addicted to a substance we need to hit bottom prior to recovery. We are addicted to the current political discourse, and have yet to hit bottom. We can"t ever agree that we have a problem. Just ask Sarah!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  66. Jim

    Listening to the local Conservative radio station in Charlotte today the answer to your question is absolutely not. From the local Talk show host who appears on Fox on Sunday's through the Rush Limbaugh show it was one attack after another. The local host accused Obama of pointing finger while Limbaugh spent his time referring to Obama as the Medicine Man. He attacked the organizers because there was no religious leader and the Bible quotes were left to Obama's friends. Doesn't sound too much like civility is taking hold.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  67. Jim

    Jack,

    The tone may change for a short while, but not for long. Neither Obama, nor Boehner, nor even Palin can change the tone of political debate with a speech, no matter how fine or how skillfully delivered. Only we, the people, can accomplish that. We can eliminate the rude discourse by refusing to tolerate it. By withholding our votes from those who use such rhetoric as a normal part of their campaigning and daily commentary, we can eliminate those politicians who refuse to reform. By switching the channel every time we hear a pundit or commentator use ridicule or demonization to make a point, we can boot them off the airways. It's up to us. We are our only hope.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    January 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  68. Eva

    Yes, I'm hopeful that it will change the tone in this country, but it will happen only if "we, the people" make it a reality. If we rely on Washington politicians and media pundits, the name calling and finger pointing will continue. But Washington or tv, radio, the internet and newspapers are not who we are as a people. Americans are good people just trying to make a better life for ourselves and our families. We must take back the conversation and work together to get answers.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  69. Pam

    Horrible that Palin is receiving death threats but she must realize that her irresponsible talk about President Obama, calling him a Socialist in the worst sense, a pusher of death panels, and one who pals around with terrorists, has contributed to a environment in which he has the unfortunate distinction of being targeted for death threats more than any other president. She can see herself as the victim but doesn't take responsibility for words that may victimize others or at least contribute to a poisonous and dangerous atmosphere. There will be hope if people stop using words and symbols of death in their rhetoric.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  70. Danielle, SC

    The most uplifting suggestion I heard since our President moving and heartfelt speech was this suggestion that, for the State of the Union, Republicans, and Democrats and Independents shoud NOT be separated by an aisle, but should make a conscious effort to sit together, mixed, on both sides of the aisle!
    Now, that's a symbolism I could live with!
    Danielle
    South Carolina

    January 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  71. J&F

    We are greatly saddened by your lose in Canada. Let's hope President Obama can make a difference so our fellow Americans do not have to endure this pain again.

    Vancouver, BC, Canada.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  72. Kiki, Indiana

    No Jack, the Tucson massacre will not change the tone of the political debate when you read letters from your viewers that hurl hateful personal attacks at Sarah Paliln. And those that immediately pointed their finger at the TeaParty and Sarah Palin and have not apologized are fueling the flames. Even Katie Couric had the courage to ask Clyburn if he regretted saying those things and he answered with a loud NO. When EVERYONE stops and listens to what is coming out of their mouths, then maybe we can be civil. Another cable network has spent almost their entire programming spewing hateful speech about Sarah Palin's speech. When all they can say is that she is stupid, ignorant, does not know the meaning of some words, that its all about her, well, that only serves to pull us farther apart and come to Sarah's defense. Yes, we need to be careful what we say, tell that to Hillary, Durbin, Clyburn, the sherrif.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  73. Roberta, Greenfield, WI

    My prayer is that these sensless shootings will change the political tone. However, with the recent threats against Sarah Palin tells me differently. I am not a Palin fan but death threats against anyone is wrong. We are supposedly a civilized democratic nation then why are we seeing and hearing of all this barbarick behavior?

    January 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  74. Dorothy-Seattle

    I believe, this tragedy will ...be a catalyst which will serve to give us all pause for reflection and relization in the power of "ONE" to be the change we want to see.....AND.. if enough of us do that....we can be and change... anything...even the hateful tone of political debate!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  75. James Washburn

    Jack-

    I certainly hope these events changes the tone of political discourse, but I'm not optimistic. Our current leaders are SO partisian, that they jump at the chance to leverage a tradgedy like this for their own good. As I recall we were asking the same question after 9/11, Oklahoma City and Waco and just a few years later, we're back in the same rut.

    James
    Atlanta, GA

    January 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  76. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I don't think so Jack. Unfortunately there are still those that think that this shooting occurred only because of what one man decided on his own to do and talk by politicians had no part in it. Once the mourning is over and the election nears it will be business as usual. You can bet on it.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  77. geri

    if we are honest with ourselves hopefully we have learned from this tragedy. finger pointing does the poor souls or their families no good.
    we all need to be accountable for our actions and our words. the good will prevale

    January 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  78. Ann from Charleston SC

    Unfortunately, the rhetoric will probably continue because people are so busy pointing their finger at the other guy, the four fingers pointing back at them are ignored – or denied. The nastiness will continue until we stop blaming the other guy and start taking responsibility for our own contribution to the problem – and that means all of us who contribute to this blog.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  79. kent

    Of course not. The Maddows, Becks, Olbermans, and Limbaughs and others like them are entertainers playing to an audience and constituency. Their careers depend on ratings from their constituencies. Their voices drown out the voices of reason and compromise. Indeed, compromise, essential to a democracy, is not in their vocabularies because it is a sign of weakness to them. With these kinds of people establishing the tone and standards used to judge politicians, what chance is there for comity?

    January 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  80. Jennifer

    Only for a moment. The amount of money that was spent in southern Arizona to defeat Giffords and Grijalva was staggering. We have every reason to believe that it will happen again – most likely even more vehement than it was before. The owners of the Tea Party, Charles and David Koch, have more than enough money to bury any candidate they oppose in distortion and outright lies from coast-to-coast. They'll justify it with their usual props: the American flag and Jesus.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  81. Overby from Melbourne

    As sad and terrible and horrible as this was, it'll be a distant thought as soon as the next news event happens. People are dying at the rate of 70 per day from drunk drivers, but that's not even on the news, let alone getting 24 hour coverage. There won't be any tone changes.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  82. Elizabeth in Los Angeles

    I don't believe the Tucson massacre will change the tone of discourse any more than the Fort Hood massacre did.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  83. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I don't think the political tone in this country will change if those who say "let's take our country back" can't find it.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  84. Charlie Everett WA.

    Jack -

    We can only hope. Faced with a national debt that could reach $16 trillion there are likely to be some tough political decisions that include tax hikes and cuts to services, entitlements and defense. Everyone will feel some pain and many people will think their ox is getting gored worse than the next guy's cattle. It'll be critical that politicians show citizens their decisions are a mix of humane compassion and dollar-hard necessity. And it'll be just as critical that we keep our tempers in check so we hear what's being said and ask constructive questions.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  85. Bob Howell

    No Jack, it will not. The same questions were asked after both the Kennedy assassinations, the Martin Luther King assassination, the John Lennon assassination et al. The same gnashing of teeth and beating of brows went on, the same pleas for unity and cries for the end of division within the community and politics were heard and the same finger pointing and vitriolic accusations were aimed without thought. Tthere is no difference now to then. We will still wring our hands and beat our breasts and vow to be different to our fellow man and we will carry on regardless in too short a time, and, next time something like this happens we will do it all over again, presidential speeches and pleas notwithstanding.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  86. Dustin R

    Yes! We have just witnessed an event that will make politicians change the way they've operated for hundreds of years. I often find it difficult to type sarcasm but I think you'll get this.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  87. clem

    The White House invited John Boehner, the speaker of the House, to go to Tucson on AF One. He turned it down to attend a fundraiser by an opponent of Michael Steele, the RNC chairman.
    I this is an indication of the future for compromise, I would have to conclude that:
    plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ‘the more it changes, the more it stays the same.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  88. Jason

    For sensible people...YES. Unfortunately we have a shortage of sensible people in the political arena. When the P.T. Barnums of the 21st century invoke phrases like "blood libel" and equate it with a perfectly logical, though probably erroneous, suggestion that crosshairs on a map could serve as a seed for a deranged mind to commit such a horrific act, then we're probably still in a lot of trouble.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  89. S. Taylor - Pittsburgh, PA

    I certainly hope so. We can't expect our youth to to rise to the charge of treating each other kindly if the representatives of our country continue to conduct themselves badly. I pray that they remember the vision Christina Taylor-Green had about our democracy and bring it to fruition.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  90. Martin

    Certainly, for the fact a congresswoman was a victim.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  91. M. Richardson

    In the weeks prior to this past weekend's shooting, the news had been greatly abuzz about the pandemic levels of bullying taking place in our schools. It seems to me that until we address the bullying that takes place in the political arena on both sides of the aisle, and, in the media, we are hardly in a position to teach our children not to bully.

    If politics is supposed to be about the art of debate, then we most certainly are no Rembrandts. Our (collective) children will do what we do, so if we want bullying to stop in our nation's public schools, then those representing "the people" of this nation may all need to be sent to the Principal's office.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  92. Jim H.

    I doubt it, Jack. Both sides of the political isle have their antagonists. I recently surveyed two of the most popular online polictical forums: one left-wing and one right-wing. I was astounded at the number of posts that began with words "I hate..." and the number referring to members of the other party as "human filth." Not surprisingly, many of the posts also contained intense vulgarity.

    Unfortunately, the younger generation has spent much of its time in from of television sets or video games, never learning to dialogue with another human being, and therefore, unable to politely disagree.

    Sadly, I think it's only going to become worse, Jack.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  93. Ben, Arizona

    Looks like the only person who is willing to tell it like it is is the kind
    sheriff, Jack. That's just not done in this day and age of police cover-ups.
    He stated that the state has become a mecca for hatred and bigotry.
    I believe the sheriff gave the most honest assessment of the situation
    in Arizona. And they even tried to shut him up, Jack.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  94. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    In a country that is led by people who profess their religious and usually Christian beliefs I fail to see how as a society we follow the only commandment Jesus gave to Christians, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    I'm sure he did not mean this for people only in an ideological group one belongs to, that is easy, he meant this for all people no matter their belief or affiliation. And until we learn that it is our differences that will make us stronger and embrace all people with compassion and understanding, we are destined to continue on the destructive path of contempt and hate we are now on.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  95. charlie mangold

    Jack... Asking if we (the country) have made any adjustments in our thinking, civility, etc as the President stated and you this evening. My question to you is..... After the attack on the United States of America, did the country REALLY Pull together. Yes, as long as the media kept sfeeding us bullcrap. Once the item is over and it was within a few mont hs that the same peoples were no longer compassionate , NOTHING CHANGED. This is what the Arizona situation shall be. We the country is spoiled with greed, self indulgence and self interest.. The only change shall be a war which by history, changes ALL Peoples in their life styles..........As long as we are the bleedinghearts and are selfish, nothing shall change. Example. How long shall the peoles put up with the every increasing gas increases while the Exec are getting bonus of 15 Million and more........... Greed Jack and the Media , Radio Talk and self are to blame................. When Jack will we ever learn? charlie mangold, north port, florida

    January 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  96. Jim Carlisle

    Jack, IF WE TAKE TO HEART what Obama said, it is promising (Obama's speech moved the 73 year old man to tears).

    Unfortunately, a lot of right wingers are circling their wagons, instead of taking anything to heart from this tragedy. They are screaming like they were wounded. It seems to be all about them.

    Jim
    Atascadero, CA

    January 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  97. Raymond James Thibault

    It may very well for a time. However the Far Left or Right of the two major parties will take over the discussion. It's sad that the Majority cannot hold onto the debate and keep it civil and productive. The so called silent majority needs to stand up and get Vocal. Keeping the political debate civil and Congress on track.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  98. Anne

    Sadly no. After reading a number of blogs filled with hatred we don't have a chance. People have turned an innocent Celebration of Life for the victims and family members into something else. It was so well done and so uplifting too many of us. Until people are willing to growup and start acting like adults we are doomed.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  99. Ethel, the Keys

    Its anybody's guess, Jack. I would just like to know why John McCain was being as quiet as a mouse while sitting in the audience at the speech last night?

    Ethel, dockside

    January 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  100. Katherine Hayes

    It had better change the country...for the BETTER. It sure as hell cannot get any WORSE!

    The Republican party is best described by the surnames of two of its former members: DO-LITTLE and DELAY!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  101. david bidlack

    when i was younger, and i am 60 years old, i used to listen to walter cronkite for my news needs. i could never figure out what party he belonged to until he retired and was asked to run for office. we now have basically three big news sources fox which is very right winged , msmbc which is very left winged and cnn which says they are in the middle. cnn stays in what they call the middle by being the managers of the left wing and right wing talking heads. as long as americans keep chosing between the two extremes nothing is going to change. we need news not the choice between the slant of left wing and right wing views. palins out of line comments should have been handled with the news value it had which was not much and should not have been given air time at all. she is getting more air time than any vice presidental looser i have ever seen in my life time. why is that? this answer is why it won't change !

    January 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  102. Bruce

    Yep, it will change. Fundamentalist radicals like Palin are toast, as is her supporters. We welcome the return of moderates and liberals that don't reference people with targets and m16s. Where is that set of charges against Palin for inciting to terrorism?

    January 13, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  103. Michael Armstrong Sr. Tx.

    Nothing will change .

    January 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  104. Aaron D.

    I sure pray that the horrible event in Tucson will make a difference in Washington but it sure will require politicians that can drop their particanship and become aware of why they are there. WORK TOGETHER TO RESOLVE THE MANY PROBLEMS OF THE CITIZENS AND COUNTRY. A lot of compromise may be necessary but remember the president has the last word since he will be held accountible for the outcomes. Those who stated they were out to make him fail and there agenda is to see that he will not be re-elected will not get the jobs done. Do as the teachers have to do with naughty children and break up the seating arrangements so all the bad ones are not together as someone suggested not too long ago. Let's do as the prersident said in his wonderful talks at the memorial gathering to make things better for the younger ones coming on the scene. Grow up!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  105. Mark

    No Jack,

    I just got back from listening to KFI in Southern California and the pundit said how dooped he was and defended all the hate retoric as being american.
    I'm Independent and for the last six months I've been worried about homegrown terrorists. The Tuscon shooter may not have been inspired by the right but some crazy someday will be.
    We should be able to argue passionately with describing people as socialists or marxist. Plus "putting a scope on people and saying load up" by Sarah Palin may be done by some crazy that is listening and seeing the hate that is put up. The right needs to dial that back and show they are against that hate.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  106. lynnej in north carolina

    Yeah until Monday of next week, Tuesday at the latest.

    Whom are we kidding? Each time there is a tragedy we say all the same things but never follow through.

    We let religion, class and race drive this thing instead of coming together as one.

    Sooner or later people are going to have to get over it and understand yes we have President that is of color and we must support him and help the country grow.

    Until there are federally mandated term limits and the return of common sense, it won't change.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm |