To the editor:
As the shock wears off and the facts become clear, I realize that the attack on Gabrielle Giffords was really an attack on the very concept of America.
Extreme violence was used in an attempt to nullify an election and prevent an elected representative from communicating with those she represents.
We will never know what the gunman was thinking or why. That doesn’t really matter. What matters are the objective facts and their impacts. What matters is that this attack was against the most basic principles on which America was formed.
Our representative democracy is the source of all that makes America great. It is the mechanism that provides “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
The House of Representatives is our closest contact to our federal government.
Each representative has a constituency small enough to really stay in touch with and to really represent. Congresswoman Giffords was engaged in this process when she was attacked.
This was, therefore, really an attack on each of us and our ability to engage in our representative democracy.
How can our Congressman be expected to stay in touch with us if he or she may be attacked for doing so?
It is ironic that Congresswoman Giffords’ district includes the OK Corral — a classic example of violence being used to settle differences.
We have our own similar, if lesser known, examples here.
We, as a country, have to decide whether we want our problems resolved peacefully using a representative democracy or to allow the use of violence to resolve matters. We may not prevent such tragedy in the future.
However, if we as a society strongly believe that violence has no place in resolving our differences, we make tragedy less likely.
Do we want to use the principles on which America was founded to make our decisions, or will we tolerate violence?
I would prefer to be truly American.
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