Today a Democratic Congresswoman from Arizona, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head by a young man at a public event in Tucson.
MSNBC is reporting that she is still alive and in surgery.
If it turns out that the murderer was a Tea Party crazy, targeting Giffords for her support of causes he detested...
Giffords, 40, is married to U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly. She took office in January 2007, emphasizing issues such as immigration reform, embryonic stem-cell research, alternative energy sources and a higher minimum wage. In November, she edged a tea party favorite.
...Then a lot of people, a lot, need to get very, very, very angry.
At Sarah Palin for putting Giffords on her "crosshair target list" for elimination in the 2010 elections. At Fox News for firing up the right-wing lunatics and failing to stamp out the vicious lies that fuel the flames of Tea Party extremism. At many, many people.
If this guy was a Glenn Beck-loving, gun-toting, take-back-our-country fanatic, it's time for all out war against immoderate Republicans. No more compromising. No more shading of the truth.
These assholes are out to destroy America, and all that it stands for: the rule of law, open and civilized debate, peaceful dissent.
Note: I said "if." I'm just saying...if.
[Update: when asked if Giffords had any enemies, her father said "Yes, the whole Tea Party."]
[Update 2: The sheriff of Pima County, where the attack occurred, wasn't shy about pointing out the responsibility talk radio and cable news (a.k.a. Fox "Noise") voices who spout anti-government vitriol have for pushing mentally balanced people over the edge into violence.
Paul Krugman, ditto.
You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.
Along the same line, Gary Hart nails the dangers of over-the-top right-wing rheotric in "Words Have Consequences." Yes, they do. Six people died, including a 9 year-old girl. Are you proud of what you've wrought with your words, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Fox News, etc. etc. etc. etc.? Read on for what Hart wrote.]
by Gary Hart, January 8, 2011
Gradually, over time, political rhetoric used by politicians and the media has become more inflamatory. The degree to which violent words and phrases are considered commonplace is striking.
Candidates are "targeted". An opponent is "in the crosshairs". Liberals have to be"eliminated". Opponents are "enemies". This kind of language eminates largely from those who claim to defend American democracy against those who would destroy it, who are evil, and who want to "take away our freedoms".
Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric. Those with a megaphone, whether provided by public office or a media outlet, have responsibilities. They cannot avoid the consequences of their blatant efforts to inflame, anger, and outrage. We all know that there are unstable and potentially dangerous people among us. To repeatedly appeal to their basest instincts is to invite and welcome their predictable violence.
So long as we all tolerate this kind of irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric or, in the case of some commentators, treat it with delight, reward it, and consider it cute, so long will we place all those in public life, whom the provocateurs dislike, in the crosshairs of danger.
That this is carried out, and often rewarded, in the name of the Constitution, democratic rights and liberties, and patriotism is a mockery of all this nation claims to believe and almost all of us continue to struggle to preserve. America is better than this.