The fundamental problem is Republicans have identified the Democratic Party as ‘other’, which means whatever is done to us is OK because we aren’t legitimate in their eyes.
Like classic school yard bullies, they begin with our name. Republican Senators and Representatives consistently refer to the “Democrat Party”, delegitimizing us by demeaning our name every time they say it. It’s a petty slight, but one that is rooted in a dogma of superiority that necessitates a chain of action that cannot end in anything other than violence.
It establishes a climate that it’s not our ideas that are wrong, but our very existence. We aren’t “real Americans”. They are the only ‘true patriots’. They aren’t battling with us as equals in a fight over ideas. We are a priori inferior, and because of that a danger to the ‘homeland’.
We are in effect heretics, and apostates are outside the law, and can be – must be – treated as such. Pat Buchanan laid out the way at the 1988 Republican Convention, “There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.”
Religious wars are far more savage than wars of conquest. Just ask the victims of 9/11, the Irish during Cromwell’s time, or the Jews during World War II. Our country was founded by people who rejected those religious wars that haunted the Continent they left. Men who believed in the Enlightenment, and the triumph of ideas, logic and civil government over the tyranny of violence.
Unless we call the Republicans and their media allies on their culpability in the shoot of Rep. Giffords, I think this will just get worse. It is time to take back our country and make it again a democratic republic based in the rule of law, not a jihadist state where violence is substituted for the ballot box.