Many interacting factors caused the Giffords assassination attempt. No single factor suffices to explain it. However, the acts and omissions of the U.S. Congress and the nation's two major political parties are among the most significant of these interacting causes. They include the following:
- Congressional refusal to pass campaign finance reform legislation to prevent elections from being dominated by special interests, like the National Rifle Association, and U.S. politics from being dominated by vitriolic diatribes between politicians and pundits aimed at raising special interest campaign funds and inflaming and dividing the electorate in order to win elections;
- Congress's legislative agenda which puts the interests of special interest campaign funders, like the National Rifle Association, ahead of the safety and welfare of their constituents, such as by allowing ordinary citizens to carry assault weapons;
- The rigging of elections by the Democratic and Republican parties via the gerrymandering of Congressional election districts to create artificial party majorities that deny voters a real choice of candidates and lead to the re-election of major party incumbents backed by special interest campaign financiers;
- Democratic and Republican-inspired state election laws that prevent third parties and their candidates from contesting their monopoly of elections that they have attained through gerrymandering and campaign finance laws;
- Congressional refusal to raise adequate tax revenues to fund essential services, Congressional expenditures on costly and counter-productive foreign wars, and Congressional deregulation and bailout of insolvent banks and financial institutions. These irresponsible actions have caused huge federal, state and local budget deficits, and resulted in cutbacks in essential services for mental health services and substance abuse assistance to troubled individuals like the gunman who shot Giffords and 20 other people using an assault weapon.
The Giffords assassination attempt is significant primarily because Congressional dereliction of duty to protect the public, and the rigging of elections by the two major parties whose representatives dominate Congress, has resulted in an assassination attempt on the life of a member of Congress. Previously, the members of Congress themselves have been to avoid the dire consequences of Congressional failure to protect the American people from life-threatening risks.
Even though poll after poll has demonstrated that the American people hold both major parties and the large majority of their Congressional representatives in utter contempt, these politicians have been able to escape from the consequences of the turmoil in which they have placed the country. Unfortunately, the much respected and beloved Representative Giffords became a target for the hatred that has been engendered in the country towards a government that has done far too much for special interests and far too little for mainstream Americans.
Even in the face of this despicable attack, there was virtually no hue and cry within Congress to accept Congressional responsibility for failing to pass laws that remove corrupting and inflammatory influences from U.S. electoral processes, re-empower voters to exercise their sovereignty in U.S. electoral processes, and provide assistance to despondent and troubled individuals before they engage in violent rampages using weapons that can kill dozens of people within seconds.
I have little confidence that Congress or the two major parties are capable or motivated to reform themselves or modify their lock-hold over the electorate and U.S. electoral and legislative processes. As I have written before, the only way I know of to prevent Congress from completely destroying the country is to empower voters at the grassroots to take over electoral and legislative processes using the collective action power of the Internet and web technologies like the Interactive Voter Choice System (IVCS).
When this system is fully developed and deployed on the Re-Inventing Democracy website, it will enable U.S. voters to protect themselves from the political and financial predators who now stalk the land. It will empower them to get control of political parties and all electoral processes related to legislative agenda setting and candidate nomination, so they can decide who will run for office, who gets elected, and what policies will be enacted into law.
A quick overview of IVCS is available on Facebook.
I have written about IVCS in the following:
2012: The Game Changing Implications of the Interactive Voter Choice System (IVCS), Re-Inventing Democracy, November 19, 2010.
How Voters Can Unrig the 2012 Elections with Transpartisan Voting Blocs and Electoral Coalitions, Re-Inventing Democracy, November 11, 2010.
The "Missing Mandate" in the 2010 Election Results: Let This Be the Last Time, Re-Inventing Democracy, November 4, 2010.
Third Party Rising?, Re-Inventing Democracy, October 15, 2010.
2012: How U.S. Voters Can Wrest Control of Congress from Special Interests, Re-Inventing Democracy, September 12, 2010.