An Exercise in ‘Civility’
The horrifying shootings in Tucson, which took place on January 8, 2011, will be forever seared into the heart and soul of every Tucsonan. In addition to the senseless slaughter and life-altering injuries – including the traumatic brain injury suffered by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – the agenda driven in the media and various political circles began weaving a message of ‘civility’ even as events continued unfolding. Ironically, the calls for civility were being made by the same individuals and entities who were quick to assign blame for the massacre to those completely unrelated to the situation. Such accusations resulted in putting even more innocent lives in harm’s way.
And it did not stop there.
There was also a mad rush by political operatives to start raising money on behalf of Rep. Giffords for a 2012 run. Some were ready to assist Giffords in a run for U.S. Senate even as the congresswoman remained in critical condition at University Medical Center in Tucson.
For months, fundraising and speculations were being made on behalf of Rep. Giffords. When the congresswoman announced she would not seek re-election in 2012 and would resign her seat, there was silence on the matter of what would be done with the funds that were raised in her name.
Ron Barber, a former district director and aide to Giffords currently running for Giffords’ former congressional seat, once headed the Civility Fund and has yet to make a statement regarding the monies. The Democrat Party leadership in Pima County has also remained quiet.
It is not the first time Ron Barber has been silent on a matter of importance. Just this week, Barber did not wish to state publicly who he will support for president in November. Barber’s failure to address a simple question at a public debate between himself and Republican Jesse Kelly indicates Barber’s reluctance to be transparent on matters of importance. As one who advocated for increased civility after the Tucson massacre in which Barber was also injured while serving at the side of Rep. Giffords that January morning, it would be in the interest of all Tucsonans to see the funds used in a completely non-political and transparent manner finally making the call for ‘civility’ a substantial act instead of a political move for ‘silence’.
Pima County Republican Party Chairwoman Carolyn Cox sent a thoughtful letter to the office of Congresswoman Giffords with a solution that would do much to heal the wound in the city and go even further by healing the wounds of others who suffer traumatic injuries. Ms. Cox suggested donating the funds to the hospitals responsible for the wonderful care and remarkable recovery provided for Rep. Giffords to help others in need.
For all the empty rhetoric surrounding ‘civility’, an opportunity has been presented to actually demonstrate ‘civility’. Who would or could question distributing funds to the hospitals responsible for Rep. Giffords’ care in order to care for others?
It is time for The Barber of Civil to finally demonstrate his own willingness toward the cause he began advocating last year. It is my hope and prayer he will handle this matter with civility.