Comment by Rabbi Michael Lerner: When right-wingers create a climate of hate against liberal government, and then individuals act on that hate as they did in blowing up a Federal Building in Oklahoma City and now this premeditated murder of several people (we are still praying for the survival of Congresswoman Giffords) in hate-filled Arizona (where she had been attacked viciously but not physically for her support of health care reform), the state whose racism has made it famous around the world for profiling Mexican immigrants, there is no call to investigate and protect ourselves from these right-wing hate mongers. Similarly, when Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by right wing Jews, the right-wing ultra-nationalist community in Israel's West Bank settlers never faced any serious investigation of their role in creating the hateful climate that helped produce the murderer.
Why does what Hillary Clinton once quite accurately described as "the vast right-wing conspiracy" get a free pass when its rhetoric can easily be seen to contribute to the climate of hate from which the actions of this "lone gunman" can be easily understood to have emerged? Isn't it time for us to demand that our government investigate the violence-generating discourse of the racist and the haters? Why, when the House of Representatives was in the hands of Democrats, did they not have any committee or subcommittee at work holding pubic hearings to explore what kind of legislation might help protect us citizens and our liberal and progressive representatives from the kind of violence that exploded in Arizona earlier today? Because if there is no such larger exploration of how to stop the haters and to uncover the full dimensions of those who are committed to destroying, one way or the other, the non-military functions of our government, then ordinary people are going to be more afraid to participate in the democratic process or come to any public events--and that is a decisive step toward allowing fascism to triumph in this country. So don't think of this action as a mere "irrational event," because it fits very well with the agenda of those who want to give the country back 100% to the corporate powers and their Republican agents in Congress while scaring those who might wish to participate in helping build any kind of progressive alternative.
And don't underplay the anti-Semitic elements either. When Jews are targeted, it's rarely "by chance." Right-wing haters particularly hate Jews, since Jews were the most consistent non-African American constituency for the Democratic Party , in 2010 voting 70% for Democrats. If the rest of the country voted like Jews we'd have a liberal Democratic Congress. And this is not lost on the right-wingers. Just listen to the tapes of Nixon and you see how extreme the hatred of Jews is revealed to be by the "moderate" Nixon, and now we have the more extreme elements of the Right coming to power. Jews are, in the minds of these haters, the same as liberals or progressives--maybe even the worst of them. And then, the sexism of the right manifests dramatically in attempting to kill a woman--the perfect symbol of uppity feminists who dare to take power away from the male chauvinists who thought that "their" country was about white male Christian power. You won't hear the media dealing with these dimensions of the reality--but they are central.
Most immediately, I invite you to join us in prayer for Representative Gabrielle Gifford! May she receive a refu'ah shleymah, a healing of body and a healing of soul, and speedily return to our community fully healed .--Rabbi Michael Lerner after Havdalah, Saturday evening, January 8, 2011