But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together…
The reason many on the Right have been so angry in recent days is that there have been those who have spent the last four days attempting to assign blame, where no blame exists. Our friend Amanda has said in a different context -- it's not about you. Right. And that's the point. The actions of Jared Loughner are his own. The president said that as well tonight. And it was good of him to say it.
Civility comes from mutual agreement. It cannot be imposed by one side on the other. And it certainly can't come until those who were party to the baseless calumnies heaped in recent days step forward and accept their responsibility for it. We can have an honest debate if we have honest debaters.
President Obama gave his allies on the Left a chance to climb down from the untenable place they have chosen to occupy. It is my hope that those allies will see fit to use the opportunity he has provided. If they do, the debate that so many people claim to desire will happen. If not -- game on.