When anger over Obama's healthcare law led protestors to break the windows of Gabrielle Giffords' offices, she called for "outbursts of violence" to come to an end and for leaders of both parties to say that they "can't stand for this [violence]." She wanted the world to know that the "rhetoric and firing people up... have consequences."
At the time, Giffords' desires were not met. In fact, Sharron Angle, the then Republican senatorial candidate from Nevada, claimed that if she were not elected, citizens might have to take "second amendment remedies." Jared Lee Loughner used his second-amendment rights to buy a gun.
At the beginning of this year, Loughner shot Gabrielle Giffords during a devastating massacre that killed six people and injured many others. This sad day led to politicians on both sides of the aisle coming together to defuse some of the vitriol in Washington. Congressmen and senators sat with members of the other party at the State of the Union in honor of Giffords and calmed down their rhetoric in the following weeks.
However, at some point since then, it seems politicians and the media have forgotten the lessons the Arizona massacre taught. The fight over raising the debt ceiling has been among the most heated arguments in Washington. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have been yelling at, arguing with, and threatening members of the opposing party. Furthermore, at many points during the debt-ceiling negotiations, politicians stopped talking to each other and ended negotiations because they couldn't agree on small aspects of the bill (such as the corporate jet tax).
It only took six months for politicians to go from asking members of both parties to cool down their hatred to having them hold Americans hostage because they were unable to compromise until absolutely necessary.
And then, last night, ironically, the House of Representatives welcomed Giffords back to Washington, where she placed a vote on raising the debt ceiling: something that has once again created an environment in Washington where politicians honestly seem to hate one another.
Seeing Giffords' strength led the other members of the House to clap for her, but I doubt that any of them took a moment to remember that the atmosphere they created and the hatred between the two parties that was so prevalent in this fight over the debt-ceiling is what was responsible for her getting shot.
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