Then the news broke that a mass shooting and attempted assassination of a member of Congress had occurred. Six dead in Tucson, Arizona. It is human nature to try to figure out why such an unspeakable tragedy like this one would happen in our country. We look for something or someone to blame. Since the day President Obama was sworn in, reasonable people have feared such a sickening event would actually happen. Although shocking, it is not surprising.
Over the next few weeks, we will see an aggressive attempt by Republicans and their lackeys in the right wing media to whitewash the Tucson shootings. Sarah Palin has already scrubbed her website of the infamous “crosshairs” map, with those infamous superimposed gun sights in tandem with her voter instructions to “reload and take aim” at Democratic candidates. The Fox News talking heads have already started repeating the meme that “both parties” have a problem with inflammatory, violent rhetoric and, oh yes, that the Tea Party may, just may have made impolitic remarks.
They just forget to identify which incendiary statements were made by Democrats or liberals. Probably because they cannot find any.
The Fox Tea-publicans will distort and lie until, before you know it, all the media will join into the malarkey that “Both parties are guilty of contributing to the climate of political hatred, etc., etc.” They are counting on the majority of Americans to fall for this phony false equivocation.
But what we know for sure is that the rhetoric and actions can be laid at the feet of the Grand Old Tea-publican Party.
In the recent elections it was the Republican Party that manufactured the kind of vitriol that caused a young woman holding a poster at a Rand Paul rally to get knocked to the ground and her head stomped by GOP-certified “freedom fighters.”
We know it was the Republican Party that fielded a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nevada who called for people to “exercise their Second Amendment rights” if the election didn’t turn out the way they wanted.
We know it to be the Republican Party that has a base calling for acts of violence against immigrants, Muslims, and everyone else who doesn’t fit their self-imposed guidelines for true Americanism.
It was Republicans for over two years attended public rallies and town hall meetings with guns strapped to their legs, promising to “take the country back”.
It was Republicans who sold “America’s Most Wanted” playing cards with pictures of Democratic leaders on them.
It was a Republican candidate who, running against Florida Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, stepped up at a shooting range to show his marksmanship skills by firing at a human silhouette with the letters "DWS" written next to the head.
It was a Republican Vice Presidential candidate who made unsubstantiated claims that the President had “palled around” with terrorists.
It was the Republican Speaker John Boehner who, when speaking of Democratic office-holders, blithely blew off threats against them by saying there were “always a couple of anarchists who want to kill all of us in public office.”.
We know that what happened in Tucson was a logical, predictable outcome to the growing, hyperbolic rhetoric that has become the stock and trade of the Republicans and the Tea Party. A nine-year- old girl is dead. A Federal judge is dead. A member of Congress is fighting for her life. Four other American families are planning funerals. Like a Kudzu vine that smothers trees with its fast growing tendrils, the politics of hate and fear is spreading. Ultimately, it will suffocate and snuff out democracy.
It is time for the charade to stop. As much as the GOP's talking heads attempt to cover their asses, it is their party which has a problem, and it is time for Republican leaders to denounce and repudiate the despicable antics of their followers.