Monday, January 10, 2011

Thank you, Patrick

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy spoke with Politico and rebuffed Palin in doing so.

Patrick Kennedy, who lost two uncles to assassins’ bullets, says there’s an obvious connection between the violent rhetoric of today’s politics and the massacre in Tucson.

“When Sarah Palin puts targets on people’s districts? Or you have 10,000 signs on the mall during the healthcare battle saying ‘Bury Obamacare with Kennedy’? When the vitriol and the rhetoric is so violent, we have to connect consequences to that.” said Kennedy, who left congress two weeks ago after serving eight terms representing Rhode Island.[...]

He called Giffords a “very compassionate person, with a generous spirit. She was always asking about me and how I was doing,” in the time just after his father’s death.

After the final vote on health care reform, Kennedy volunteered his services to raise money for Giffords and other Democrats who had voted yes and were facing a tough reelection fight. Kennedy was able to raise about $65,000 for Giffords “virtually overnight,” he said. “She was happily surprised.”[...]

“My family’s seen it up close too much with assassinations and violence in political life. It’s a terrible thing when people think that in order to get their point across they have to go to the edge of violent rhetoric and attack people personally,” Kennedy said during a speech before healthcare providers and union officials in downtown Providence in September 2009, according to the Providence Journal.

“It’s fine for people to debate the issue and attack the issue, but when they go and stoop to the level of the vitriolic rhetoric that we’ve seen this debate turn up, it’s very, I think, dangerous to the fabric of our country,” he said at the time.

“There are consequences to violent rhetoric,” he said. “Some people can see through TV ratings and right-wing talk show hosts that just try to create some theater, but unfortunately, there are some that can’t see through it. And that’s the danger in it. There is definitely freedom of speech, but freedom of speech does not allow yelling ‘fire’ in the middle of a crowded movie theater.”

Kennedy remains optimistic about the future, however, and said he is courting some major corporations to help raise money for veterans returning home with traumatic brain injury.

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