‘no one listened to gabrielle giffords’

I’ve been avoiding reading Frank Rich lately because some of his recent articles drove me bonkers, but thank you so much to Jennifer for letting me know about this one. I just posted extracts below – you can read the complete article at the link. I’ve been amazed the past week by how many commentators – and not just fruitloops on Fox ‘News’ – decided we could just dismiss what happened in Arizona as the work of a ‘mad man’ and not even consider that the inflammatory anti-Government hate-filled rhetoric of the right and the atmosphere it has created could have influenced his instability in any way, or tipped him over the edge. He had, after all, one hugely significant thing in common with the Tea Party and their like, he hated Government and was utterly paranoid about it. And he had that right wing insanity swirling all around his troubled head. How on earth could he have been immune to it? Any way, Frank Rich makes the argument briiliantly – thanks again Jennifer.


Frank Rich (NYT): …If we learn nothing from this tragedy, we are back where we started. And where we started was with two years of accelerating political violence…that struck fear into many, not the least of whom was Gabrielle Giffords.

…Did Loughner see Palin’s own most notorious contribution to the rancorous tone — her March 2010 Web graphic targeting Congressional districts? We have no idea — nor does it matter. But Giffords did. Her reaction to it — captured in an interview she did back then with Chuck Todd of MSNBC — was the most recycled, if least understood, video of last week.

…Giffords said that Palin had put the “crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” adding that “when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.” … (she said) that colleagues who had been in the House “20, 30 years” had never seen vitriol this bad. … Few wanted to see what Giffords saw — that the vandalism and death threats were the latest consequences of a tide of ugly insurrectionism that had been rising since the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and that had threatened to turn violent from the start.

…Since Obama’s ascension, we’ve seen repeated incidents of political violence … he said, correctly, on Wednesday that “a simple lack of civility” didn’t cause the Tucson tragedy. It didn’t cause these other incidents either. What did inform the earlier violence — including the vandalism at Giffords’s office — was an antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s. That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there….

…What’s more disturbing is what Republican and conservative leaders have not said. Their continuing silence during two years of simmering violence has been chilling.

Full article here

5 Responses to “‘no one listened to gabrielle giffords’”

  1. 1 VC prezofan2
    January 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Happy Sunday, Chipsticks! I don’t like Rich’s tone either, so I don’t read his articles, but I’ll agree with his point here that the silence of conservative leaders re the threat of violence has indeed been deafening these past two years.

  2. 2 BIGFan
    January 16, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    So true. The backdrop of hate along with the constant talk of guns and gun metaphors could make using a gun to kill seem acceptable to someone who may not have a good grip on reality.

  3. 3 carolerae48
    January 16, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Hey Chipsticks, I read Rich every week so you don’t have to! 🙂 I have to have some way to find out what the Professional Left is going to be angry about next week, and unfortunately he usually is fairly accurate about that. Did you see the article at the NYT about the Congress trying to take their “debate” tone down a little? It was sorta funny to read. They’re trying new things like bipartisan seating at the State of the Union; Boehner made a speech & called his repeal hcr bill job “destroying” instead of “killing”.
    It’s not that I don’t appreciate a change in tone/rhetoric, but for some reason I’m not convinced they mean it. We shouldn’t have to have a member of Congress shot for them to act right. The anti-government tone is in the air & some of them helped that along a lot…..Sigh

  4. 4 Theo67
    January 17, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Excellent article. Brings up a very full history of events. It is chilling indeed that the Republican and conservative leadership has been silent, and even demanded apologies for warnings of impending danger.

  5. 5 Ladyhawke
    January 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

    We have created a three-headed monster. Each head is bad enough on its own, but together they make a toxic brew:

    1) An intense gun happy culture.
    2) Weak, ineffective policies to help and treat mental illness.
    3) A vitriolic political discourse with heavy emphasis on anti-government rhetoric, paranoia, and distrust.

    How many more tragedies will we have to witness before something concrete is done to tame this monster?

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