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PORTSIDE  January 2011, Week 2

PORTSIDE January 2011, Week 2

Subject:

Shooting of Jewish Congresswoman Giffords Is Not Just a "Tragedy"

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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Date:

Mon, 10 Jan 2011 21:48:19 -0500

Content-Type:

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (138 lines)

Shooting of Jewish Congresswoman Giffords Is Not Just a
"Tragedy" 
Rabbi Michael Lerner
Saturday 09 January 2010

http://www.truth-out.org/shooting-jewish-congresswoman-giffords-not-just-a-tragedy66685

It's part of a right-wing assault on government and the
liberals and progressives who support it.

Liberals and progressives are hated in many Red States
because they support government policies that put
restrictions on corporations; challenge the racism,
sexism, homophobia and hatred of foreigners that has
been part of the traditional conception of what male
power; and tend to be insensitive to the legitimate
fears that many have about the collapse of families,
religious traditions, and the triumph of materialism
and selfishness. This last set of concerns is totally
valid, and the willingness of liberals and progressives
to only see the hateful side of right-wing ideology
infuriates many who are drawn to the right not because
of hatred of government or because of the various
hatreds, but because they feel that their legitimate
concerns about the selfishness and looking out for
number one are never heard by the Left. Yet, there are
a core of haters in the Right, we've seen them not only
on Fox t.v., Glenn Beck and company included, but also
in the faces of some who were attracted to the Tea
Party or who now rally around the anti-immigrant
movement.

When right-wingers create a climate of hate against
liberal government, and then individuals act on that
hate as they did in blowing up a Federal Building in
Oklahoma City and now this premeditated murder of
several people (we are still praying for the survival
of Congresswoman Giffords) in hate-filled Arizona
(where she had been attacked viciously but not
physically for her support of health care reform), the
state whose racism has made it famous around the world
for profiling Mexican immigrants, there is no call to
investigate and protect ourselves from these right-wing
hate mongers. Similarly, when Yitzhak Rabin was
murdered by right wing Jews, the right-wing
ultra-nationalist community in Israel's West Bank
settlers never faced any serious investigation of their
role in creating the hateful climate that helped
produce the murderer.

Why does what Hillary Clinton once quite accurately
described as "the vast right-wing conspiracy" get a
free pass when its rhetoric can easily be seen to
contribute to the climate of hate from which the
actions of this "lone gunman" can be easily understood
to have emerged? Isn't it time for us to demand that
our government investigate the violence-generating
discourse of the racist and the haters? Why, when the
House of Representatives was in the hands of Democrats,
did they not have any committee or subcommittee at work
holding pubic hearings to explore what kind of
legislation might help protect us citizens and our
liberal and progressive representatives from the kind
of violence that exploded in Arizona earlier today?
Because if there is no such larger exploration of how
to stop the haters and to uncover the full dimensions
of those who are committed to destroying, one way or
the other, the non-military functions of our
government, t hen ordinary people are going to be more
afraid to participate in the democratic process or come
to any public events--and that is a decisive step
toward allowing fascism to triumph in this country. So
don't think of this action as a mere "irrational
event," because it fits very well with the agenda of
those who want to give the country back 100% to the
corporate powers and their Republican agents in
Congress while scaring those who might wish to
participate in helping build any kind of progressive
alternative.

And don't underplay the anti-Semitic elements either.
According to Ha'aretz newspaper, the killer's website
had Hitler's hate book Mein Kampf listed as one of his
favorite books! When Jews are targeted, it's rarely "by
chance." Right-wing haters particularly hate Jews,
since Jews were the most consistent non-African
American constituency for the Democratic Party , in
2010 voting 70% for Democrats. If the rest of the
country voted like Jews we'd have a liberal Democratic
Congress. And this is not lost on the right-wingers.
Just listen to the tapes of Nixon and you see how
extreme the hatred of Jews is revealed to be by the
"moderate" Nixon, and now we have the more extreme
elements of the Right coming to power. Jews are, in the
minds of these haters, the same as liberals or
progressives--maybe even the worst of them. And then,
the sexism of the right manifests dramatically in
attempting to kill a woman--the perfect symbol of
uppity femini sts who dare to take power away from the
male chauvinists who thought that "their" country was
about white male Christian power. You won't hear the
media dealing with these dimensions of the reality--but
they are central.

Most immediately, I invite you to join us in prayer for
Representative Gabrielle Gifford and all those wounded
and their families! May she receive a refu'ah shleymah,
a healing of body and a healing of soul, and speedily
return to our community fully healed.

--Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun Magazine and
author of 11 books most recently a national best seller
The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the
Religious Right (Harper, 2006) He can be reached at
www.tikkun.org or [log in to unmask] Source URL:


All republished content that appears on Truthout has
been obtained by permission or license. 

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