A word that few of us have used in the last year, if ever, is the darling of the media this week in light of last Saturday’s tragic spree by Jared Lee Loughner. Spokespersons from both the left and the right have used the word to describe reactions to hate rhetoric in response to congressional and presidential actions on financial and health issues. But is the word, which comes from the bile produced by the body in response to anger, even the best description of what we are seeing?
Like many of you I have several friends who send me personal email during the day, much of it forwarded. Some are humorous, some titillating, and many are political in nature. There has been a move in the last year or so to use video clips instead of Power Point or written word, and more often than not I find them entertaining and sometimes insightful. Two of my friends are farther right than the Tea Party and I have learned to filter their message through a fine screen before I even listen or read the body of their message. At least one other thinks I need a lesson in understanding the common man’s needs and desires.
Interestingly, after the event and certainly after what seems to be the best speech President Obama has ever given and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ excellent progress, the emails have tempered, the tone has softened. There really seems to be a serious reflection that we may have gone too far, with too little substance, and should look at a larger perspective of what our country stands for and needs. I have seen no support for Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s contention that conservatives are responsible for the shooting. Conversely I have seen less than majority support that the liberals are using the incident for political gain.
Which is all for the good, in my opinion. I am strongly supportive of the suggestion that the parties mingle during the State of the Union report from the President. I am also in favor of collegiality in discussing the obvious shortcomings in the hastily crafted health legislation. In short, I am in favor of positive action to address our country’s problems.
Perhaps the better word would be Vitality, which stems from a rush of blood in response to action, not bile.