The New York Times' columnist Frank Rich reflects today on the simmering violence in our political arena. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords foreshadowed the violent act done to her back in March 2010, referring to the now infamous "crosshair" symbols, saying "they've got to realize there's consequences to that action." As Rich notes, no one listened to her at the time. He says:
"This isn’t about angry blog posts or verbal fisticuffs. Since Obama’s ascension, we’ve seen repeated incidents of political violence. Just a short list would include the 2009 killing of three Pittsburgh police officers by a neo-Nazi Obama-hater; last year’s murder-suicide kamikaze attack on an I.R.S. office in Austin, Tex.; and the California police shootout with an assailant plotting to attack an obscure liberal foundation obsessively vilified by Beck.Keep in mind that, leading up to the 2010 elections, the rage on the right was focused on defeating Obama's legislative proposals and individual members of Congress. Now, as they gear up for the 2012 Presidential election, it will be on the man they've vilified and depicted as a usurper, as the emblem of everything they despise -- culturally, politically and racially. So if you think they'll "tone it down," think again.
Obama said, correctly, on Wednesday that 'a simple lack of civility' didn’t cause the Tucson tragedy. It didn’t cause these other incidents either. What did inform the earlier violence — including the vandalism at Giffords’s office — was an antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s."