It is futile to request the Tucson tragedy not be politicized as it is inherently political, so even calm, rational discussion can’t avoid the subject. It is also futile to look for proof the killer was motivated by a political cause, even if he has a poster of Marx on his bedroom wall or claims to have been guided by the Tea Party’s 2nd Amendment solution rhetoric. It’s reasonable to assume, even at this stage of available information, that his mental state negates any attempt to blame his rampage on others, regardless of what one might consider specific evidence.
The best possible understanding of his motivations will come after a comprehensive study is written, something comparable to Capote’s In Cold Blood or Cullen’s Columbine. In that, we will be able to explore the vagaries of his mind, the influences of his relationships and the warning signs that seem so obvious in retrospect, but were not properly interpreted or acted upon.
However, there is a definite link between Loughner’s assault and the Tea Party and Conservative media rhetoric; it’s just the nature of that correlation that seems to confuse some people. The salient point is not found in asking how their rhetoric might have influenced his actions; it’s in asking why his insane actions reflect and illuminate Tea Party and Conservative media rhetoric.
This tragic event is precisely how a 2nd Amendment solution is achieved. The democratic will of the people is undermined with the attempted assassination of a Congresswoman; the rule of law and judicial dampening of political passions with the death of a federal judge. This precise link of meaning to event doesn’t allow the Tea Party or the Conservative media manipulators who created and encouraged them to divorce rhetoric and actions from the cold, ugly reality of their threats -- both direct and implied -- whether acted upon or not.
Put simply, because the Conservative media cannot remain silent, their only two options are business as usual -- deflect, draw false equivalencies, create phantom culprits -- or honesty: "Look! An insane man just did what we said we might do if the elections didn't go our way."
We should also ask why our constantly self-congratulating mainstream media networks properly frame Loughner’s assault on democracy as aberrant, but have elevated the Tea Party as a democratic and grass roots expression of voter anger, even though their threats – the 2nd Amendment solution being the strongest expression of intimidation – merely stop just short of action.
It is useless to point out the contradiction to the Tea Party and Conservatives, though, for somewhat the same reason Loughner is probably incapable of aligning his beliefs with reality. Their politics exist inside of a closed loop of self-feeding and affirming propaganda, and where reality conflicts with dogma, the reality is adjusted to fit.
The Tea Party is the latest intimation of a Conservative movement that also should have its life examined to see what event, relationship and deterioration of rationality led a movement founded upon the lofty goal of intellectual political influence to become an aberrant contradiction to that foundational intent.
I will present that examination with the next article I write, but it won’t be an exhaustive examination, as the political traits that have transformed the Conservative movement are well represented in world history. Though similar to some past political movements, it is a unique version that invites comparison to more than one, and adds a very American component.
I’ll leave you with this teaser – it will address, on the whole, that because we know it can’t happen here, it can happen here.