'A commonplace ritual of democracy'

Normally you would never find me quoting the Chicago Tribune but in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting that newspaper published an editorial with, for them, some uncommon good sense.

It was a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting. On a sunny Saturday morning in front of a Tucson supermarket, a member of Congress was taking part in a commonplace ritual of democracy: meeting with and hearing the problems and concerns of citizens. No pomp, no security, no big deal.

A commonplace ritual of democracy
; what a deceptively simple description of one of the bedrock fundamentals of a concept of government that our wise founding fathers recognized as such. That is this: the representatives of the people need to know the needs and wishes of those people they represent and the best way to accomplish that is to meet face-to-face with those people. That is exactly what Gabrielle Giffords, God bless her, was doing when she was gunned down by a demented young man who long ago should have shown up as a deadly threat on society's radar. Just as much as any infantryman in Afghanistan, Gabrielle Giffords, a volunteer in service to her country, was fulfilling the requirements of her mission when she was terribly injured by gunshot.

Somehow I see the founding fathers who established this representative democracy shaking their heads in solemn agreement that this is indeed a tragic event, yet one that is part and parcel of a form of government wherein that government is itself part and parcel of the people it governs. While perhaps not widely recognized, just as with service in the military organizations which defend the nation, service in the congressional bodies which govern this representative democracy is not without mortal risk.

That is a truth which those who volunteer to serve in government should keep foremost in their minds. Those among them who are now shrilly and frantically calling for additional protections for their members should stifle such efforts, for any such special protections only serve to set them further apart from those they represent, weakening the representative aspect of representative government. The hysterical Grijalva and his ilk would in their panic undo the good government being practiced by Gabrielle Giffords at the time of her tragedy.

This old soldier believes that, wounded in action, Gabrielle Giffords has most assuredly earned a Purple Heart, whether or not she is eligible under government regulations. I doubt any of us who have served in combat would deny her that simple honorific. Gabrielle is one public servant who has it right: you face the people who elected you and you face the unknown risks for which you volunteered. Her Purple Heart citation should read:

Grievously wounded while in service to her country, in
a commonplace ritual of democracy.

Normally you would never find me quoting the Chicago Tribune but in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting that newspaper published an editorial with, for them, some uncommon good sense.

It was a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting. On a sunny Saturday morning in front of a Tucson supermarket, a member of Congress was taking part in a commonplace ritual of democracy: meeting with and hearing the problems and concerns of citizens. No pomp, no security, no big deal.

A commonplace ritual of democracy
; what a deceptively simple description of one of the bedrock fundamentals of a concept of government that our wise founding fathers recognized as such. That is this: the representatives of the people need to know the needs and wishes of those people they represent and the best way to accomplish that is to meet face-to-face with those people. That is exactly what Gabrielle Giffords, God bless her, was doing when she was gunned down by a demented young man who long ago should have shown up as a deadly threat on society's radar. Just as much as any infantryman in Afghanistan, Gabrielle Giffords, a volunteer in service to her country, was fulfilling the requirements of her mission when she was terribly injured by gunshot.

Somehow I see the founding fathers who established this representative democracy shaking their heads in solemn agreement that this is indeed a tragic event, yet one that is part and parcel of a form of government wherein that government is itself part and parcel of the people it governs. While perhaps not widely recognized, just as with service in the military organizations which defend the nation, service in the congressional bodies which govern this representative democracy is not without mortal risk.

That is a truth which those who volunteer to serve in government should keep foremost in their minds. Those among them who are now shrilly and frantically calling for additional protections for their members should stifle such efforts, for any such special protections only serve to set them further apart from those they represent, weakening the representative aspect of representative government. The hysterical Grijalva and his ilk would in their panic undo the good government being practiced by Gabrielle Giffords at the time of her tragedy.

This old soldier believes that, wounded in action, Gabrielle Giffords has most assuredly earned a Purple Heart, whether or not she is eligible under government regulations. I doubt any of us who have served in combat would deny her that simple honorific. Gabrielle is one public servant who has it right: you face the people who elected you and you face the unknown risks for which you volunteered. Her Purple Heart citation should read:

Grievously wounded while in service to her country, in
a commonplace ritual of democracy.

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