Using Tragedy as Pretext for Tyranny

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Political organizations
and advocacy groups around the country are curtailing or canceling
their planned activities and advertisements in the wake of the shooting
of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the killing of six people
at an event in Tucson, Arizona, last Saturday.

are reporting that
the political atmosphere is inhospitable to such overt political
behavior and unseemly in light of the events in Tucson.

For example,
in North Dakota, the Iowa-based political action committee American
Future Fund, has shelved the series of ads it produced critical
of Democratic Senator Kent Conrad. The
group indicated
that it was taking this tack “out of respect
to what’s going on in Arizona.”

A piece published
online by Roll

Party committees
are withholding e-mail campaigns going after Members [of the House
of Representatives]. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
postponed political events, fundraisers, and e-mails related to
the health care repeal bill that had been slated for a vote this

The National
Republican Congressional Committee also is in a holding period,
waiting on its work related to the repeal measure until legislative
business resumes.

In a similar
vein, an article
published Monday in the Washington Post presented a tableau
intended to lead readers to the conclusion that any political advertising
would manifest a deplorable lack of decorum in the post-Tucson world.
While the language used by the author is typical of the wink and
nod double-speak that is the patois of the mainstream media, the
underlying message is clear.

There is
no conclusive connection between the motives of the alleged Tucson
shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, and the inflamed political
discourse that has become the norm in recent years. He may prove
to be a deranged loner and nothing more. Still, the terrible events
have brought a renewed and healthy focus on the culture of politics
in this country. In the short term at least, everyone has pulled
back to pause and reflect.

That paragraph
is laden with weighted interlinear commentary. The so-called “inflamed
political discourse” of which the author writes is hardly new.
Hammer and tongs political combat has been commonplace since the
birth of our republic. To imply that perhaps the tragedy of Tucson
will alter this, or should alter this, is historically naïve
and a distasteful appropriation of the deaths of six people in order
to add flourish to the author’s journalistic style.

the rest of the article

14, 2011

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