Just like before the Rabin murder, the writing was on the wall before the Arizona massacre as well. Nobody spoke about the gun explicitly and nobody called for squeezing the trigger, yet the music on the political scene played like an invitation to murder.
The Tea Party was established as a popular movement aimed at criticizing President Barack Obama and his policy; it enjoyed the sympathy of rightist parties and mostly the Republicans, and within a short period of time crossed the red lines: The target was marked when rallies held by the Tea Party movement featured Obama’s photo with a caption characterizing him as America’s Hitler. Obama and all those who support his policy, that is, the Democrats, were in the sights.
None of the radical Republicans will now be able to shirk the guilt. Sarah Palin referred to her political rivals as “legitimate targets.” She attached a crosshairs icon to their names that looked like gun sights.
When Obama passed his healthcare reform, Tea Party members called for strong objection to it, referring to the president as the angel of death. They also cultivated the odd campaign charging that Obama is not a legitimate president because he wasn’t born in America.
Palin didn’t silence voicesSarah Palin, the queen of the Tea Party movement, did not silence the voices, while her Republican colleagues cheered the Tea Party on. John Boehner became their patron. Of course, nobody is accusing the Republican establishment of being responsible for the massacre, yet none of them would be able to shirk their responsibility as a party to the incitement.
The moment the Republican establishment cooperated with a protest movement that portrayed President Obama and top Democrat officials as “unpatriotic,” “defeatist,” and “selling off the nation to its enemies,” it was no wonder that a young man, even if mentally unstable, understood the message literally: The establishment marked the targets, and he went out and executed the mission.
It is still early to determine how the massacre in Arizona will affect the results of the presidential elections in 2012, yet Democratic officials estimate – even if quietly and cautiously – that the incident paved the wave for a second Obama term in office. At this time it appears that the collective sense of guilt will serve to reconnect the public to the president after a long period of low popularity, yet as noted it is still too early to decide.
A reminder: Following the Rabin murder in Israel, Peres was expected to easily defeat Netanyahu.
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