I think much of what needs to be said about the assassination attempt on Rep. Giffords has been said. It’s a sad day for our country when citizens, judges, children, and political figures are shot down in broad daylight in a grocery store. Perhaps if we put more money into mental health care and less into guns this wouldn’t have happened, but in a world where half the country thinks that attempts to fix our broken health care system constitute tyranny, I won’t hold my breath waiting for that.
Anyway, here are some links to articles I’ve been most impressed with, or found most useful to my own thinking, so far.
• From Mother Jones, Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman’s Grudge Against Giffords. Interesting view of the murderer from someone who knew him fairly well.
• At the New York Times, A Single, Terrifying Moment gives a rundown of the events as best as they can be reconstructed.
• Alex Pareene at Salon, in Watering the tree of liberty has a measured look at current political rhetoric and how it affects our culture.
• And Steve Almond at The Rumpus writes an evocative essay, Surely Some Revelation Is at Hand, musing on that same subject.
I want to quote a bit from Almond’s article, because I think he gets to the heart of what is affecting the nation:
Sure, there were demagogues back in the olden days. But they enjoyed the latitude of a nation whose virulent forms of hatred were still sanctioned. White men were unquestionably in charge. They were allowed to discriminate, spared the anxieties of a true meritocracy.
Then came abolition and war and suffrage and civil rights. The bigotry had to become clannish, covert. The feelings didn’t disappear. They migrated. They had to go somewhere….
In 1987, during the age of deregulation, the FCC did away with the Fairness Doctrine. The result was a talk radio (and later cable TV) industry, which gave voice to the unresolved psychological and emotional grievances of an increasingly insecure white majority. You couldn’t slaughter redskins or lynch niggers. You couldn’t even use those words. But you could still fantasize.
And so a new world is created, a universe of projected hatred, in which sadistic impulses are viewed not as pathological, but perfectly natural and indeed inevitable responses to the nation’s moral progress….
Do read the whole article. There’s a lot to think about there. I guess the only other thing I can say is that I wish people wouldn’t take political disagreements and confuse that with a need for revolution. Losing an election isn’t something illegitimate in our country. It’s the very foundation of our public lives, and honoring and protecting that process is something we all should do.