The shocking and unfathomable tragedy in Arizona earlier today should be pause for all of us to think about the political rhetoric in our country at this time. I feel that so many of us have had this looming feeling for sometime now that the rise in hate speech would lead to a fatal event such as the one in Tucson today that claimed the life of 6 people and has left Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition.
As Andrew Sullivan said earlier today: “When a congresswoman is shot in the head in the very act of democracy, we should all pause. This is fundamentally not a partisan issue and should not be. Acts of violence against political figures destroy democracy itself, for both parties.”
The level of discourse has been out of hand for way too long, as Peter Daou explains: “Anyone who listens to the relentless liberal-bashing on rightwing radio and other conservative outlets will quickly realize that the level of vitriol and derision directed at the left will inevitably provoke a few individuals to act out.”
Media and bloggers are reporting that the alleged shooter left a trail of social media hints and as I noted below, many are pointing to conservative Sarah Palin’s “crosshair’s map” that included Congresswoman Giffords as a target:
Palin’s map is just one of the many examples of wrong minded discourse that can lead a possibly unstable individual like the accused Jared Lee Loughner, to commit such a horrific crime (an act of domestic terrorism) against one of our elected officials:
The discourse must change. The hate speech must end. We must all learn to agree to disagree with those whose political opinions differ from our own. The violence we witnessed in Arizona today should have never happened. That we must all agree on and we must all work towards the change neccessary to prevent such crimes from happening again. American politics have been toxic for far too long and innocent people are paying the price.