Tea Party 'Endangers
Health' of American Democracy
Republicans manage to put a halt to the expansion of the Tea Party in its ranks,
it will have been quite a destabilizing movement, if an ephemeral one. But
the political responses to the Tucson killings have only just begun, and if the
Tea Party passes the test, there will be more reason than before to fear its
A 22-year-old man, Jared Lee
Loughner, shot Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at close range,
critically injuring her. He then turned his weapon on a crowd of people
attending the rally for Giffords, leaving six people dead and nearly two dozen wounded.
Police arrested the perpetrator of the massacre, but are also looking for an
alleged accomplice [Editor's Note: Since publication, police have reported that they are "100% percent sure Loughner did not have an accomplice"]. For investigators, Loughner appeared to be an “unstable”
person more than a radical militant. Nevertheless, and paradoxically, there was
no doubt about the gravity of the situation, to the extent that the U.S.
political debate has become so harsh that violence can be perceived as an
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
What the attack on Giffords has
meant, however, calls attention to the tension in America, the existence of which
the Tea Party has made its principal and almost singular strategy. Giffords,
40, has been characterized by her defense of the rights of foreign workers in a
state - Arizona - that has tried to turn illegal immigration into a felony. For
months, the congresswoman has been the object of an attack campaign in which
even Sarah Palin participated. On one of her Web pages, the states she wants
to wrest back from Democratic congressmen and senators are marked with bull's
eyes. Giffords’ name is written on this map of objectives, and Palin kept it up
for hours after the attack.
No one in America has dared
to draw a direct link between the massacre in Tucson and the political degradation
that exists in the country, especially after last November's elections in which
Republicans won a majority in Congress. But what seems to be spreading is the awareness
that the time has come to curb excesses, which is something that Democrats and
Republicans furthest from the Tea Party can agree on. This is undoubtedly a
needed consensus, but it still remains to be seen whether the emotions
aroused by the tragedy will be enough to put the evil genie of extremism back
into the bottle, or conversely, only serve to raise another ephemeral barrier
that will finally give rise to demagogy and radicalism.
Even without the attack on
Giffords, the ways of conducting politics introduced by the Tea Party represent
a growing danger to the health of democracy in the world’s leading power. The attack
occurred, and the danger that materialized is embodied by the fact that only
the senior leaders of the two major parties have spoken out forcefully against
violence. If Republicans manage to put a halt to the expansion of the Tea Party in
its ranks, it will have been quite a destabilizing movement, if an
ephemeral one. But the political response to the Tucson killings have only just
begun, and if the Tea Party passes the test, there will be more reason than
before to fear its fanatical influence.
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