House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said he is shutting down the house of representatives, in response to the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others. One might think, and commenters have said, that shutting down congress for a week, is a clear way to let the lone gunman win.
Last week after a snow storm that dropped over a foot of snow in Philadelphia, outgoing Governor Ed Rendell, who also does a lot of time on sports TV, commented that the NFL and the stadium where the Eagles were to play a game the night of the snow storm were "wussies" for canceling the game. For the first time in over 40 years, an NFL game was played on a Tuesday.
You might consider that Cantor is being sensitive, or even being a "wussie" by canceling any legislation.
I don't think that's why Cantor is doing it.
I'm taking a guess, but I believe the motivation is ugly and crassly exploitative.
The legislation that the GOP was planning to work on this week was showcase legislation with no possibility of passage. They were going to vote to repeal Obama's health care bill. With all the media coverage of Gifford's, Judge John Roll, the nine year old child and the other 15 victims horrible experience, any political theater would be overshadowed.
America deserves better. I hesitate to use the word "terrorist" to describe the mentally disturbed young man who allegedly perpetrated this crime, though Homeland Security has described people who fit his profile as domestic terrorists.
The fact is, the right is raising up a new generation or iteration of McCarthyism voices and accusers. This ugly, shameful period of American history is being sustained by overuse and abuse of the idea of domestic terrorism. Legislation has been passed that makes it far too easy to accuse people who are, in reality activists of conscience who are patriotic citizens, law abiding except for engaging in civil disobedience.
By canceling legislation for a week, Cantor crassly exploits the horrible event in Arizona and uses it to strengthen the resurrection of a new wave of McCarthyism that uses the word and idea of Terrorism instead of Communism.
Such exploitation of congress is hard to imagine. But I can't see it being anything else. I'm no congressional historian, so I'll wait to see if others can cite past incidences where a lone gunman was able to shut down congress by shooting people. Assassinations of a president or attorney General are one thing. The murders in Tucson were tragic, but I just don't see reason to shut down congress over them.
Of course, we can expect that in that week, we will see right wing radio citing the alleged shooter's reading of the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, and a few tweets from purported friends suggesting he was a lefty blasted loudly over the right wing echo chamber, also politicizing this tragedy. Those on the left are suggesting that words he used in his writings closely echo Glenn Becks, and Sarah Palin had a poster on her sarahpac.com website that had Giffords literally in gunsites. Even so, I believe we don't yet have enough information yet to draw conclusions on the shooter.
But when it comes to Eric Cantor, the picture is much clearer.