By James Thompson

Although the background to the tragic events in Arizona of 1/8/11 is still unfolding, some facts appear fairly clear.

Congresswoman Giffords is fighting for her life in an Arizona hospital after a shooting incident in Tucson. While attempting to meet with her constituents in a very public forum outside a grocery store, a 22 year old man approached her with a semi-automatic pistol and critically wounded her as well as killing Federal Judge John Roll, a 9 year old child and killing and wounding many others.

Giffords, a Democrat, was also the first Jewish person to be elected to public office in Arizona. Her office was vandalized immediately after she voted for the landmark health care legislation sponsored by President Obama and viciously opposed by right wingers across the country. Sarah Palin had put Gifford’s district on the “crosshairs” on her website as well as 20 other Democrats, but pulled this posting down after the Congresswoman was critically wounded. Judge John Roll, a Republican, was killed by the assailant’s bullets and he had drawn the ire of the Republican right wing for some of his progressive rulings.

The American people are not as stupid as the right wing seems to think. For years now the mainstream
TV airwaves have been filled with the images of red faced, ranting, right wing commentators calling for all manner of violence and assault on anyone and any organization that does not agree with them. Indeed, some have advocated the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government if they do not get their way. These hate filled messages have now taken a very fatal toll.

Is it that important that working people should not have access to health care that these people should be wounded and/or killed? Are the interests of the wealthy more important than the lives of public figures and little children? Should racism and hatred continue to permeate our culture?

It is important to analyze this important historical event and recognize the obvious racism, to include anti-semitism. Racism, including anti-semitism is a horrible “pollutant” to our country and our socio-economic system as former CPUSA chairman, Gus Hall, used to say. The vile ravings of these well paid commentators are the fuel to the fire of ugly violence.

It is time to put a stop to this horrible scourge.

We can do it if the people unite and demand legislation which would outlaw advocating violence as well as public displays of hatred based on race, political views, gender, immigration status or sexual orientation. Advocating white supremacy as well as anti-semitism and male chauvinism should be a crime punishable by law. Use of racial slurs should also be punishable by law.

If Nazi Germany had been bound by such laws, perhaps the Holocaust would never have happened. If such laws had been in effect in this country perhaps we would never have seen the lynchings, persecution of the jews and discrimination against women, homosexuals and various ethnic groups to include arabs and Asians. Perhaps this horrible tragedy would never have happened had there been legislation outlawing racism and violence.

Violence and racism have no place in a democracy. Although Free Speech is important in a democracy, Free Speech should not include Hate Speech.