Civility Gets Shot To Death

The Press is calling it the Tragedy in Tucson, but what really took place in Tuscon Arizona with the machine gunning to death of a Federal Court Judge John Roll, five  other innocents, 20 victims in total including  the near-mortal wounding of US  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is  that Civility  got shot to death. The hurting irony is that Ms Giffords has been an epitome of moderation, civility and grace – not necessarily  a  combination  to be found in abundance in the US Congress as partisanship and polarization of the past 20 years filters out the Good. In fact. what happened is that the stove of inflammatory political rhetoric whooshed into deadly flames taking two victims who have been  models of civility  – a  moderate and ironically  most civil Congresswoman plus a fair-minded Federal Judge.

And as a counterpoint, there are Conservative George Will and Tea Party Leader Dick Armey on ABCTV`s This Week program telling us Not to Worry. George Will – Get used to this;  this is the status quo in America – every little while we have one of these killing episodes followed by  fretting  for a short period of time but nothing can really be done. Dick Armey – this was the isolated act of a deranged person, it is unseemly but it is part of our polarized times.Oh … and by implication the Tea Party could never have done or condoned this.

What is clear is that a physical massacre  followed from the constant SAW V-like blood spattering of fact and egregious defamation of character which has been the `winning formula`in electioneering throughout the US.  Yet everyone seems to have to say – `we knew the political temperature  and partisan polarization  was way up, but we never could imagine this explosion or  that it would happen in this way`. It is as if  the actual triggering, deviant political partisanship  and ignition of political inflammation and demonization that has carried political rhetoric to incendiary extremes – all this extremism could not  be actualized and have physical consequences. Yet this Fury has been  seen so graphically a part of US politics for the past 20-30  years  not just  in  the US  MidTerm Elections but a long succession of extreme political maneuvering . Though they have been leading with below the belt punches for the last 20 years, the GOP, in its defense will trot out the idea,  don`t brand us as the Bigots Supreme , the other side has been sampling the unsavories too.This a a clone of why the GOP`s  utter capitulation to the Wall Street superrich is A-OK, the Dems have taken blood money too.

What has come front and center with this deed of death is that basic political debate and processes have become unhinged in America. Vitriol and falsehood win elections. It take 60 votes in the Senate to get a `majority`.  One can win elections by fooling most of the people most of the time – the effort to get the populace up to speed on what are the true issues and options are easily sabotaged by clever populist deception ; so don`t bother trying it. It is okay for interest groups and organizations to have limited liability but unlimited campaign financing and lobbying rights. It is ok to use a national network , Fox News, which espouses `fair and balanced` reporting to foment dissent and disaffection while using not just dark shadings of the truth but utter false hoods. – all this to fan the flames of discontent with the Democrats.  NYTimes columnist and Nobel Prize Winner Paul Krugman has been decrying the move of the US to a Banana Republic economically. Now it appears that Paul Krugman stopped well  short – politically the US is moving onto Banana Republicanism.

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