Tea Party has Blood on Their Hands
The vicious attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was horrific but not surprising. As shocking and repugnant as the attack was, it was inevitable. There has been a climate of hate and intolerance that has been in the air since President Obama’s election.
Rep. Giffords by all accounts was a moderate democrat, not quite a blue dog democrat. She was pro NRA and a staunch defender of the constitution. She narrowly defeated a tea party candidate winning a third term during the mid-term elections. Not quite the liberal target you would suspect for such a politically motivated attack.
The right-wing extremists i.e. tea party, Fox News and Glenn Beck and the like have been stoking the fires of hate and intolerance all in the name of rebelling against big government.The message has been take our country back by any means necessary. It’s obvious that the shooter is some deranged loner/loser trying to gain attention or acceptance for what he sees as a heroic act.
All of those on the right are conspicuously quiet on this issue. It wasn’t long ago that Sarah Palin proclaimed to reload not re-elect! Some of those on the far right have given veiled and tacit consent in the use of violence as a necessary adjunct to accomplish their goal of taking “their” country back.
As far as the state of Arizona goes, it’s the perfect breeding ground for this type of madness. It’s one of two states in the county that allow you to carry firearms in the open. It’s a recipe for disaster in the current atmosphere of intolerance that seems to be accepted now in our country.
The Pima County Sheriff was quoted as saying that, “Arizona is becoming like Mississippi in the 1950′s.”My sincere hope is that this is not the beginning of a chain reaction that will spiral out of control. The current political discourse is one where civility takes a back seat to intolerance.
Sarah Palin didn’t help matters much either. During the mid-term elections she placed a map of the congressional districts on her Facebook page that “targeted” democratic candidates! Districts with candidates who had opposing views were targeted with “crosshairs” as on a rifle scope! This is reprehensible and unconscionable; Sarah Palin’s hateful rhetoric was played out in Tucson on that fateful day.
If you follow comments on blogs and news stories covering the shooting you’ll be amazed but not surprised at the hatred and vitriol. It’s shameful the degree of hatred and intolerance that is being spewed in the wake of this tragedy. Those of us who are sane need to stand up for what’s right.
This senseless act of violence goes way beyond partisan politics. Our country is entering into a space that we have not treaded before. It seems as if we can’t disagree without being violently disagreeable.
Before today when most people thought of Tucson, Arizona they think of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral or the University of Arizona. Tucson which sits nestled in Pima County is normally a quiet place. It’s more laid back than Phoenix in many respects.
Having grown up in a small town northwest of Phoenix, I’m intimately familiar with the states subtle nuances of intolerance. The anti-Latino mood there has only been exacerbated with the immigration debate.
Sadly, Arizona has always been on the wrong side of key civil rights issues. The Martin Luther King Holiday, which cost the state dearly in a protracted boycott of the state, is the best example.
During the passage of the civil rights act of 1964, the arch-conservative Senator Barry Goldwater teamed up with Strom Thurman in a 48 hour filibuster speech on the house floor.
Supreme Court justice William Rehnquist has a very shading past with obstruction of voting at the polls in Phoenix not allowing minorities to vote, or at the very least making them jump through hoops to do so. My mother was one those harassed at the polls by the late justice.
I’m optimistic that cooler heads will prevail in this tragedy. Those of us in polite and civil society should send a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of barbarism in a democracy such as ours.
Having been born and raised in Arizona, this tragedy is especially painful. Working with the City of Phoenix (Mayors Office) in the mid eighties was a positive experience. We tried to bring some semblance of progressive thought to the desert; I don’t think we succeeded.
The voices of reason should send a clear message that we will not allow our society to deteriorate into anarchy. I sincerely wish Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other survivors a speedy recovery. If we can make this right, perhaps I won’t be ashamed to be from Arizona.