It is difficult for me to comprehend the motives behind the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords that also left six people dead, including a child. The extreme anger, the inflammatory language, and the vitriol the far right and the Tea Party are heaping on the democrats and president Obama in particular are difficult to understand. What have Obama and the Democratic Party done that was so different from George W. Bush? Not only is he continuing the wars started by his predecessor, he has escalated the Afghanistan war, and expanded the war into Pakistan and Yemen in the face of opposition by a majority of the American people. Ah, the Tea Party might say, we do not like his health care reforms, horror of horrors; they might even be "socialist".
As someone living in Britain where we have had a universal National Health Service for over half a century, let me tell you that the NHS is so popular that no party left or right dares undermine it, not even Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Ronald Reagan's best friend. Don't you agree that a health care system that leaves 46 million people in America uninsured with millions more under-insured should be reformed? Half of all personal bankruptcies in the US are at least partially the result of medical expenses . How can that be right? You may disagree with the way it should be reformed, but if you agree with the principle, why the extreme anger and vitriol?
The Tea Party philosophy, according to their website, states " We hold that the United States is a republic conceived by its architects as a nation whose people were granted "unalienable rights" by our Creator. Chiefly among these are the rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." How can those left facing bankruptcy because of their illness exercise any of the rights in the US Declaration of Independence, which is at the core of your philosophy? How can those 30 million unemployed, the majority through no fault of their own, who are struggling to keep their homes and look after their families, exercise their unalienable rights? In the US, Juan Cole reports that "The unemployed commit suicide at a rate two or three times higher than ordinary". Don't you think the government has a duty to help these groups?
Another reason for anger seems to be Obama's roots, with opinion polls suggesting that two thirds of republicans believe Obama is a Muslim. What if he is? The US Declaration of Independence does not exclude people on the basis of their religious beliefs. If he is a Muslim, he is a rarity. This particular Muslim goes to church and not mosque, and continuously tells everyone who cares to listen that he is a Christian. This particular Muslim wears his Islam so lightly that he is indistinguishable from Christians and still unacceptable to you! How do you think that makes American Muslims feel?
Your core values are listed as fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. Look around you at the financial mess resulting from the greed of financial institutions. It has brought economies in the US and Europe to their knees with the enormous human cost of unemployment and home repossessions. This calamity did not happen because of too much government, on the contrary it was created by the so called "light touch regulations", and leaving things to the market. Freeing the markets in the way you suggest will sow the seeds for the next economic crisis.
How can the aim of smaller government be achieved if up to 10% of your GDP is spent on "defence" and wars? Millions of Americans and British wake up every morning worrying about the security of their jobs , the repossession of their homes and in the case of Americans, about health insurance and medical bills. Terrorism comes very low on their list of worries and insecurities.
Think about the millions of innocents who are at the receiving end of these wars with hundreds of thousands killed and injured. What about their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Don't they deserve the same rights as you Americans? Your wars are jeopardising their most important unalienable right, the right to life.
Scapegoating the marginalised, minorities, and the poor in your society is unfair and unjust. The harsh economic climate is not their fault; they are likely to be the ones suffering the most. It is not right to deepen their unhappiness by adding hate and racism to their pool of worries. Your problems are not solved by xenophobia and racism; they only aggravate them to the impoverishment of the well being of the whole of society.
Your anger and frustration should be directed at voracious corporations, powerful lobbyists and the security-military-industrial complex that are enriching themselves and their clients to the detriment of the lives of ordinary citizens. They are the ones stopping you exercise your unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.