Bookends

Posted: 10 January 2011 in republicans, terrorism

The world changed the day that Christina-Taylor Green was born.  I’m sure every proud parent would love to say that, but maybe not in this case.  She was born on September 11th, 2001.

In the months following her birth, the nation made rapid knee-jerk reactions to the tragedy.   Lawmakers fell all over themselves passing a bill that gave sweeping and unprecedented powers to law enforcement.  Whole sections of the Constitution were ignored.  Two wars were launched without even having a target or exit strategy in mind.  Anyone who took a stand against it was branded a coward or pilloried as a traitor.  Even people in the same political party, regardless of how supportive they were of the direction the country was headed, were put on notice.

Just after Christina’s first birthday, and again when she was three, the country went to the polls and voted not only for the party that demanded that they were better able to protect us, but against the party that had been tarred and feathered as somehow coddling or, worse, collaborating with those that attacked us.

Finally, economic woes from years of mismanagement and deregulation caught up with the country, and in 2006, people seemed to forget about being scared and got back to thinking about their bottom line.  The “opposition” became the majority.  In 2008, they continued those gains.  But something curious happened: the people who had been telling us for eight years that we needed to give up our rights started talking about how we should stop giving up our rights, and that they were being taken from us.

Not the right to not have the government spy on us.  Not the right to not be held indefinitely without trial.  No, it was essential that we didn’t have those freedoms.  Essential to protect us, they said.  What we shouldn’t give up, they said, was the right to be unable to pay for our own healthcare.  The right to be dropped from our insurance because we lost our jobs.  The right to worry how we were going to put food on our tables after our company outsourced our job to China.  Those were the rights we were losing, and it was a problem!  Now, we’d heard all of this before, but they were saying it with such fervor, with such passion, with such… militancy.  Voting wasn’t going to be enough (but we should do that, too).  In four years, the terrorist-coddlers had done irreparable damage.  If it couldn’t be fixed immediately, we should “resort to 2nd amendment remedies,” and be “armed and dangerous.”  If, at any point, we experienced a setback, we should not “retreat,” but “reload!”

A constant stream of military and hunting analogies spewed forth by political leaders and commentators was appalling.  But even worse was the reaction from the rank and file.  People sent death threats to their elected officials.  People began openly carrying firearms at political events in displays of naked intimidation.  People began vandalizing government offices.  Simply put, the rhetoric helped stoke a wave of terrorism.   And that’s what it was: terrorism.  Threats and violence used to achieve a political end.  Fear as a political tool.  Terrorism.

Unfortunately, it didn’t stop at just threats and vandalism.  It was easy to see the escalation coming.  Toting an assault rifle at a political rally gave way to loading up and heading off to gun down people at a non-profit.  Fortunately, that shooter was stopped before he arrived.

But eventually, the violence became deadly.  Terrorism reared its ugly head again.  A gunman, probably not in his right mind but obviously driven by the violent rhetoric, targeted his local congresswoman.  He shot her in the head, and in the process managed to wound 20 people, killing a federal judge and five others.

Including Christina.

She was born in the shadow of a vicious act of terrorism, one that had a profound (and intended) effect on this country.  She died in the perpetration of a second one.

I can only hope that the end this terrorist was hoping to achieve isn’t reached.

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