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Today, I responded to a diary by Deoliver47 about comments I made in the wake of yesterday's tragic shooting in Tucson.  I also sent an email to my supporters nationwide that expanded upon those comments, and I feel it is important to share that letter with the Daily Kos community.

Dear Friends:

Yesterday’s tragic events in Tucson have left many of us shaken and numb.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, the other victims of this madness, and their families.  While we mourn the departed, we are relieved to hear that the medical staff is cautiously optimistic about Congresswoman Giffords’ recovery after surgery, and we hope for a full recovery for all those wounded.

Our country must pull together in this terrible time and remember that, while we may have our differences, we are all privileged to call this nation home and live in the company of each other.  The human element is often overlooked in the fiery rhetoric that has dominated the political discourse for the past few years. The pervasiveness of hyperbole and outlandish accusations, designed to obfuscate the line between reality and twisted fantasy, inhibits a rational discussion of issues, differences and common ground, and the best way to move forward together.

We need to set the example.

We can disagree in a way that is not mean spirited, hateful and so full of anger that people feel that they have some sort of permission to treat their elected officials as expendable.  How we debate, and how that discourse happens, must contribute to a place where civility and tolerance help us rise above that which divides us.

We must not allow our humanity and our civility to be marginalized by vitriol and abuse. If our empathy and appreciation for each other disappear from our discourse, our society and our future will be at risk.

President Obama has asked that tomorrow, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time, Americans observe a moment of silence to honor the victims of this tragedy.  Please keep all those hurt in yesterday’s tragic events in your thoughts and prayers.


I only have a few minutes to stick around for comments right now, but I'll be back tomorrow to read and respond to your thoughts. Additionally, I look forward to doing a live blog soon so I can answer more of your questions and talk in depth about what lies ahead in the 112th Congress.

Originally posted to Raul Grijalva on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 07:20 PM PST.

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