War has become the single most pervasive theme in modern society. We wage War on Terror, sports arenas are battlefields, and any significant level of destruction is deemed a war zone. Even positive efforts fall prey to the theme - the War on Cancer, War on Drugs, and the Battle Against Hunger. It's become so common that we are desensitized to the violence conveyed with such a theme. Is the recent political rhetoric just a result of the common vernacular? Or is it the cause?
Violent, war-laced imagery exists on all sides of the aisle, and has been present for generations. Consider Lincoln's "House Divided" - , Roosevelt's "Man with the Muckrake" - , or more modern examples like McCain's 2008 GOP Convention Speech "Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what's right for your country", and even Obama last year in Ohio "I'll never stop fighting to give every American a fair shake.".
While the last two references seem relatively mild, the frequency and amplitude of the imagery has increased dramatically as of late; with phrases like "kill the bill", "battleground states", and the now infamous crosshairs from Sarah Palin. Current debate has arisen over the relationship between the political jargon and the horrible events in Arizona.
I personally haven't decided if there is a quantifiable dependence on the actions of psychopaths and the violent allusions of politicians, media, and society. Nevertheless, I do feel strongly that action needs to be taken against the perpetuation of violence. Joseph Smith had it right when he said, "Let us conquer ourselves, and then go to and conquer all the evil that we see around us, as far as we possibly can. And we will do it without using violence; we will do it without interfering with the agency of men or of women. We will do it by persuasion, by long-suffering, by patience, and by forgiveness and love unfeigned, by which we will win the hearts, the affections and the souls of the children of men to the truth as God has revealed it to us."
Thankfully modern commentators and politicians echo this same idea:
There is no need for violence. It has no place in our society, nor in our hearts.