‘an act of political violence in a polarised country’

Gary Younge (UK Guardian): Jared Loughner … was not working alone. True, the rampage apparently emerged from his confused, unstable and troubled mind. But it was also the byproduct of a polarised political culture underpinned by increasingly vitriolic, violent and vituperative rhetoric and symbolism.

….To dismiss these as the voices and actions of the marginal was to miss the point and misunderstand the trend. America is more polarised under Obama than it has been in four decades: the week he was elected gun sales leapt 50% year on year.

…. many of these extreme views and much of this antagonistic tone is explicitly sustained and implicitly condoned by the Republican hierarchy. When a congressman shouts “liar” at Obama during his state of the union speech he receives a huge spike in donations…..

…In few places was the national atmosphere played out more dramatically than in the border state of Arizona. In April Raul Grijalva, in Gabrielle Giffords’s adjacent constituency, faced bomb threats for opposing a new anti-immigration law. In October, his office was daubed with swastikas and white paint….

The connection between this rhetoric and Saturday’s events are not causal but contextual. The shooter was not likely to be acting under direct instructions but in an atmosphere that made such an attack more likely rather than less. Whatever his motives, this was a targetted act of domestic political violence…

…As Giffords struggles for her life and the country mourns its dead some insist it is too soon to draw broader political conclusions from this tragedy. But if those conclusions had been understood sooner, it is possible that such a tragedy might have been prevented.

Full article here

7 Responses to “‘an act of political violence in a polarised country’”

  1. 1 africa
    January 10, 2011 at 10:04 am

    The British press goes there again and thankfully so. I am glad to see that a few in the American media are making some of the points the author makes here.

    That young man, may have pulled the trigger, but he did it in a climate that had been nursed by not just teabaggers at a rally, but by people with a bully pulpit that encouraged this.

    The very fact that Sarah Palin created a map and put Congresswoman Giffords’ name on what I call her hit list, can not be swept under the rug in this country. It must be discussed. Sarah Palin must be asked to answer to not just that incident, but her many other violent rhetoric. She is not the only one. Not one Republican leader ever stepped up condemned any of this kind of talk.

    Hopefully people in our media will step up to the plate and discuss this honestly. The media itself, need to take a step back in look itself in the mirror.

  2. 2 sduncan
    January 10, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Where is the msm in America? Why are they providing cover to those who are responsible for this hate.

  3. 3 Asher in Boston
    January 10, 2011 at 11:43 am

    As usual, we have to turn to foreign press for insightful info/news. Thank, to the writer, the article is spot on. All this is the direct/indirect hatred of the RW, no qstn abt it.

  4. 4 EDP4BHO
    January 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    And all this because someone who looks like me decided to run for and become POTUS. So a good percentage of America still tells me I am not good enough to aspire to great heights. And I should feel patriotic anyway, somehow….sigh!

    • 5 Sue in Minnesota
      January 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      I don’t look like you, not on the outside, but our hearts beat the same….and it is in our hearts that we truly know and understand one another. You are enough, and although I understand the pressure and the frustration, please don’t let ignorance, cowardice, or injustice define who you are and how you choose to show up in this world. I take inspiration from President Obama, who everyday demonstrates with courage and enormous personal strength the ability to be authentic both to himself and the world he serves. This American believes that we are part of one family…the human family. Be strong, and if you need lean on me.

    • 7 majii
      January 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm

      Keep your courage up, EDP4BHO. It gets better. I know, because I survived segregation. Please don’t allow others to define who/what you are. I know it’s hard, but I also know it’s possible to achieve great things under adverse circumstances because I did.

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