Gabrielle Giffords by http://skinny08.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/export1_03.jpg?w=176&h=264
I hate to say this, but the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords was no surprise to me...sad and shameful but not surprising. There is no doubt that we have been building up to this moment for 2 years now. All of the imagery of Crosshairs, Revolution and Civil War...all the ranting about socialism, Marxism and government takeovers...it has brought us to this moment in our history.
I listened for the past two years to people like Sarah Palin, who dismissed the criticism of using violent imagery and ugly rhetoric, but I wonder what she is thinking today? There must have been some reflection since Palin removed her map with the crosshairs on Giffords district after the shooting....but I wonder what exactly she was thinking? Did she remove it because she didn't want to be accused of contributing to the shooting or is it because she realized it is inappropriate and people may take it literally? I am sure the queen of manipulation didn't want any heat coming her way and I am sure she has a strategy in place on how to defend her map and rhetoric in a way that will sound almost reasonable...and that is the problem in a nutshell.
We have had almost 2 years of absolute insanity coming from the right....even the "moderates" in the Republican Party joined the bandwagon and decided that "talk" of a Revolution was in order to get this" country back". They have justified their "call to arms" by wrapping themselves in the flag and Constitution...and we, the sane ones, just let them go on and on with this charade without serious consequences or confrontation because most people (on the right and left) didn't believe that this would escalate into anything serious. Well now it has...
We know nothing of this man who shot Mrs. Giffords...he could be a crazy Teabagger or a Lefty fanatic that finally snapped but that is irrelevant at this point. The political climate in this country has heated up to unacceptable levels, the venomous talk from politicians, radio and TV hosts have fed into people's fears and fueled the insane behavior we have seen at rallies and on street corners throughout the country ...this horrible incident must be the beginning of a new dialog. To end this madness, we need to get to the root of the problem, we need to understand where this all originated from...
When did this begin? When did the rhetoric fly out of control? It's clear that the election of the first African American President and the fears of Muslim terrorism fanned the flames of fear. All of this anti-Muslim rhetoric, "taking the country back" talk and 2nd amendment remedies threats, were pushed and encouraged by the Republican Party....for votes. If the Tea Party, who embraces their guns and Constitution, had been dismissed as a fringe group by the Republicans from the start, as a group that needed to be ignored, the ugly rhetoric about the Muslims, the President and the country, may have taken a much different direction...but that would have risked the loss of votes, and we know they couldn't allow that to happen.
To address the argument that this ugly rhetoric comes from " both sides of the aisle" and that both parties are to blame, I ask you this...Can you name one group that the Democrats embraced who called for the take over of government, that brought guns to their rallies, that wanted to use bullets instead of ballots if the election didn't go their way, carried racist signs that demeaned the President of the United States or questioned his birth place and religious beliefs. Can you name one rally or fundraiser where a Democratic candidate spoke to a fringe group, where a candidate was the keynote speaker or rode a bus with them across the country to get more votes? You can't, because there are none. So, the argument that both sides need to tone down the rhetoric is a dishonest argument that just tries to deflect the blame and responsible.
This kind of ugly rhetoric is fuel for people like Mr. Loughner...they hear talk like this and see it as justification to use violence as an answer to our country's problems. People can dismiss Mr. Loughner as crazy or ill, but it is the unstable people of the world who obsess about these things, they act on what they hear, they listen to every word until they snap. And it has been the Right who have been throwing fuel on that fire...
So, here we are, a Democratic Congresswoman was targeted to be killed and now we are talking about the rhetoric, the way we should have 2 years ago. I hope that this is the beginning of a civil debate, a debate that it pushes back the ugliness and hatred that we have seen build over the last two years and now we begin a new type of politics that dismisses and shuns such talk. Call me an optimist but I always have been....I have always believed that this country could move forward, past the negativity and hate, it's just sad that it may have taken the death of a 9 year old girl, the murder of 5 others and the shooting of a Congresswoman in the head, to get us to talk about it.
Why do we always clean up messes, instead of avoiding them?