Sunday, January 09, 2011

Giffords and reason

The Gabrielle Giffords shooting is depressing for so many reasons.  In terms of the focus of this blog, she was a voice of reason on immigration, a representative who had a border district and even had an undergraduate degree in Latin American history, so understood the issue and stood firm against xenophobia and fear.  We need more knowledgeable, educated, measured, and reasonable people in Congress, and yet instead they become targets.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik put it far better than I possibly could:

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," the sheriff said. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."


Vicente Duque 4:10 PM  

Sarah Palin will be deeply diminished by this ( for a time ) - Republicans and even Tea Partiers will have the sense – again, for a while – to steer clear of directly gun-related rhetoric. No "second amendment remedies" and insurrection and so forth. But this will be temporary

What a wonderful article !
This is the best of the best of writers about these horrible events.

British Guardian
In the US, where hate rules at the ballot box, this tragedy has been coming for a long time
The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords may lead to the temporary hibernation of rightwing rage, but it is encoded in conservative DNA

By Michael Tomasky
Michael Tomasky (born 1960) is a liberal American columnist, journalist and author. He is the editor in chief of Democracy, American editor-at-large at Guardian America, a contributing editor for The American Prospect, and a contributor to The New York Review of Books.

His work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Harper's Weekly, The Nation, The Village Voice, The New York Review of Books, Dissent, Lingua Franca, George, and GQ.

Some excerpts :
As to the future, some things will change, at least for a while. Sarah Palin will be deeply diminished by this. Speaking about the now well-known cross-hairs imagery over the map of Giffords' congressional district on Palin's website, Giffords herself last year expressed concern about "consequences". Palin pooh-poohed this at the time. Her unctuous and hypocritical "prayer" for Giffords and the other victims will mollify only those who think she can do no wrong. But in general, this hastens that blessed day when we no longer have to pay attention to her self-serving lies and idiocies.

Republicans and even Tea Partiers will have the sense – again, for a while – to steer clear of directly gun-related rhetoric. We won't be hearing much in the near term about "second amendment remedies" and insurrection and so forth. But this will be temporary. Guns are simply too central to the mythology of the American right, as is the idea of liberty being wrested from tyrants only at gunpoint. For the American right to stop talking about armed insurrection would be like American liberals dropping the subjects of race and gender. It's too encoded in conservative DNA.

In addition, contemporary American conservatism has been utterly arrested by this ridiculous paranoid fantasy that our government is a tyranny. Here was Republican Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia, speaking in Washington last April on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing: "Fellow patriots, we have a lot of domestic enemies of the constitution, and they're right down the Mall, in the Congress of the United States – and right down Independence Avenue in the White House that belongs to us. It's not about my ability to hunt, which I love to do. It's not about the ability for me to protect my family and property against criminals, which we have the right to do. But it's all about us protecting ourselves from a tyrannical government." The year before, this same Broun singled out then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, as one such "domestic enemy of the constitution". He was re-elected last November with 67% of the vote.

Paul McCartney had no earthly reason to think that an innocent song about a fairground ride (Helter Skelter) would lead a man to commit barbarous acts of murder. Today's Republicans and conservative commentators, however, surely understand the fire they're playing with. But they do it, and a tragedy like Saturday's won't stop them, as long as they can maintain a phoney plausible deniability and as long as hate continues to pay dividends at the ballot box.

ConsDemo 3:45 PM  

While I'm happy to see Sarah Palin's image tarnished, the shooter wasn't affiliated with either the mainstream right or left. He was a 9/11 "truther" as are a number of other recent killers. I guess if one buys the claim the "truth" movement peddles, that the US govt offed 3K of its own citizens on 9/11 and blamed it on islamic militants, it isn't much of a leap to decide elected officials (and anyone standing around them) should die.

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