Saturday, January 08, 2011

Rhetoric Kills

I was horrified today when I heard the news of the attempted assassination of Democrat Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. The thing that I was not; however, was surprised.

I never would have predicted that Representative Giffords would be the one, but after years and years of unbridled conservative violence laden rhetoric against all things liberal, progressive, and Democrat, the likelihood of an act of violence against an individual of the stature of a Federal Congressperson seems almost inevitable.

Identified as her shooter, 20 year-old, Jared Lee Loughner is now in custody. Little comfort that is to the victims of this heinous act of domestic terrorism. My heart goes out to the families of the dead. To the family of Chief Justice John M. Roll of the Arizona District Court. To the family of the 9-year-old child who was among the 5 citizens gunned down by Mr. Loughner.

In my feelings I join with other Americans who have expressed their outrage. Chief among them Senator John McCain of Arizona who wrote in a statement: “I am horrified by the violent attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion. I pray for Gabby and the other victims, and for the repose of the souls of the dead and comfort for their families.”

The most compelling statement I've read thus far comes from our Secretary of Defense, Mr. Robert Gates. “I am saddened to hear of the attack on Congresswoman Giffords and members of her staff earlier today in Tucson, Arizona. I have had an opportunity to interact with Congresswoman Giffords in her capacity as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, where she served on the Readiness and Air and Land Forces subcommittees. She is a strong supporter of America’s national defense, cares deeply about our men and women in uniform, and has pursued her oversight responsibilities with dedication. Our thoughts are also with her husband, Navy Captain Mark Kelly, an aviator and astronaut of great distinction, as well as the families of the other victims of this attack. Ms. Giffords represents a new generation of principled and thoughtful political leaders that have come to Washington in recent years. We will miss her strong character and good judgment in the Congress during these important days ahead, and we are praying for her full recovery.”

Whenever something like this happens, it's only human nature to ask why? Here is a poster created by SarahPac and containing Sarah Palin's authorized signature. You will notice how the states have gun cross-hairs on them representing the members of the United States House of Representatives that need to be taken "back". The imagery implies taken "out". Let's call this "Exhibit A" in this search for antecedents.

These ego-maniacal, sort-of-white-supremecist, pseudo-Constitutionalists that populate the radio-airwaves, Television stations, and imaginations of an ill-educated and dwindling rural plurality of Americans cannot escape the scrutiny of this act. They are responsible in the same way that the one who shouted "FIRE" in the crowded theater without a conflagration is held to account for the usher who is trampled in the ensuing melee.

As ghastly as today's events are, and as painful as their consequences will be for the individuals and families of those killed and wounded in this event; the more profound victim is the United States--We The People, if you will. For our future is what's been threatened here. The very hope that our union will be more perfect tomorrow than it was today. Something "Sarah's Pac" doesn't get in the slightest.

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