Sunday, January 9, 2011

Not the America I know

Today, a 22 year old man shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and about 17 other people as she met with her constituents in Tuscon. 6 people are dead, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.

Is this really what we've come to? We shoot the people who don't agree with us?!?

I have never heard of Congresswoman Giffords before today. From what I can tell, she's a moderate Democrat who just won a hard-fought re-election campaign against a Tea Party candidate. She is the only member of Congress who is married to an active member of the U.S. military.

I remember being taught in government class how the peaceful, orderly transfer of power in the United States of America after an election was amazing in the 18th and early 19th century. You didn't barricade yourself in the White House, refusing to yield power. You didn't send an army after your opponent. You lost the election, you packed up your shit and went home. You wrote your memoirs, hit the lecture circuit, set up a library. That's the way we do things in America.

The media has been hotly debating the role of hateful, violent rhetoric from the folks on the political Right.  (Disclaimer: I am a bleeding-heart liberal Democrat) Sarah Palin had Ms. Giffords congressional district "in the cross-hairs". Giffords office was vandalized after the health care vote in March. Giffords Tea Party opponent apparently had invited people at a rally to shoot an automatic weapon. The ugly phrase, "don't retreat, reload!" has been heard.

It seems to me the shooting of a Congresswoman, and the murder of a little girl, amply demonstrates this atmosphere of violent speech against political opponents has gone way too far. That's not the way we do things in America.


  1. Sadly Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik hit the nail squarely on the head with his comment that "The anger the hatred the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately I think Arizona has become sort of the capital," he said. "We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry." I am ashamed to be an Arizonan.
    - MKP

  2. I'm hopeful that the shock of this tragedy will cause the rhetoric to be dialed down. I don't expect any mea culpas from Palin and her ilk, but perhaps the public at large will less accepting of the violent imagery and insinuations.

  3. Even if it becomes abundantly clear the shooter was not influenced, or listened to, any of the media blow-hards (on both sides) who spout violent rhetoric, I'm hoping the people will reject such language in the future. Perhaps they just won't want to hear it.

  4. Political comments like "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" Where does it end?