First off, I am a Canadian, so I obviously am not involved in American politics in any way. However, Canadians and Americans share a lot of tv channels and the vast majority of the North American continent. We’re neighbours whether we like it or not.
Also a lot like neighbours, it’s hard not to notice when things are going on next door.
Admittedly, Canadians don’t like to be mistaken for Americans – there are a lot of American stereotypes we don’t want to be associated with, but we’re usually good natured about it. We’re all people, after all, and we can usually find common ground. We have a decent fence, which the Americans usually respect (except in the Arctic and a few odd things like the Pig war). We can respect each other’s differences, and move on.
However, the tea party fears me with fear. They’re exactly the kind of neighbour you don’t want. In a weird way, it makes me think I’m living next to a couple with an abusive child. Most of the time, not much happens, but you can see the way the abusive child treats his (or her) parents. There are derogatory remarks, there’s a constant shifting of blame, and a serious disrespect for the family members. And, of course, there’s the occasional screaming match when the child threatens violence.
In this case, the tea part is involved in exactly the same relationship with it’s political opponents – and when the violence starts, there’s a serious denial of responsibility. It’s always the parents fault – they shouldn’t have made the curfew that the child broke! And, if they’d just given the child the money he (or she) wanted, then they wouldn’t have had to hold up the gas station…
Right. Anyhow, you get the idea. Honestly, I feel that your right to free speech ends the moment it incites violence against someone else – a crime that the tea party is guilty of, regardless of how you want to interpret “2nd amendment remedies”, or painting cross-hairs on an opponents face. No matter how much you want to hide behind your rhetoric, you are responsible for your actions – and your words.
Anyhow, I hope some of the more violent members of the tea party come to their senses with the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords. When you suggest violence, even if your hand isn’t on the gun, you are promoting a crime – as the “hate-radio” broadcasters in Rwanda found out. (I suggest Ferdinand Nahimana as a case and point.) Your responsibility for your words doesn’t end when someone else does what you tell them to.
Before this goes any further, I hope my American neighbours can rein in the violent talk long before it boils over.. any further.
In the meantime, I hope Gabrielle Giffords pulls though and is able to recover and continue her work.