By Wayne William Cipriano
Another instance of attempted murder has occurred against some of our elected officials. When Repre-sentative Gabby Giffords was shot our nation was shocked for a while –– promises were made, resolutions sworn, new attitudes attested –– all lasting a day or two. This recent shooting on the ball diamond, being second, horrified us for a day, tops. The next one? Maybe a couple of hours. And, the next? Buried below the fold in the corner.
And, what of the promises to “lower the rhetoric temperature,” to reach out to others of different parties who possess good hearts but see things differently, to band together as Americans desiring the same good ends obtained merely by separate approaches? They seem to have faded even more quickly.
One might say, with a cynical turn of mind, that only the nearness of the attack, professionally speaking, as with Representative Giffords, actually brought it to the attention of those lawmakers we sent to Washington. Only their vulnera-bility, the chance that one of them might be harmed next time caused them to look once more into the chaos some of us in certain neigh-borhoods, without Congressional protection, see every day.
I’ve heard that one immediate response of these elected officials was to request larger expense budgets to cover the cost of enhanced personal security. Will there be a rush to assemble phalanxes of bodyguards, generating competition amongst lawmakers to see whose is bigger? Will this second attack in several years, like the attacks some residents of troubled areas suffer every day, enable our elected repre-sentatives to erect even higher, even more sturdy barriers between them-selves and us, their constituents?
And will there be a recognition by these officials of the damage they do by so vociferously, so radically denying to themselves the most basic comity, most superficial civility just to assure they won’t be “out hated” by some nut job way out on the extreme edge of their party during the next primary? Probably not. Because these statesmen we elect think we voters are so shallow, so prejudiced, so unfazed by facts, truth, correctness that we will join the march toward even more radical division, even more crushing disharmony, even more hate as soon as the opportunity to do so is offered to us.
Can they possibly be right?