Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Detour On The Long Road Back

On her Facebook page today and in this YouTube annoucement, Arizona Democrat Rep. Gabby Giffords announced she is not only not running for re-election, but stepping down from office this week.

It's pretty heart-rending, and in the end the decision is 100% hers to make. She feels she needs more time to recover and that it's better for Arizona and her constituents that she does step aside.

But part of me is angry that this happened. What it means is that this particular "Second Amendment remedy" was ultimately effective in getting her out of office, and the GOP will take her retirement as a gift, and do everything it can to take her seat. If that one seat ultimately determines which party controls the House this time next year, then the repercussions may last for a very long time.  Arizona state law says that since the vacancy in Congress is occurring more than six months before the general election, a special election has to be held in the next three months, with a primary election within the next two months, so at least GOP Gov. Jan Brewer can't just appoint a Republican and be done with it.

I understand there's nothing I can do to change her mind, nor should I try. I'm not her constituent. I understand that the people of her district deserve to be represented fairly and capably by someone who can discharge the duties of office. I understand that, as she says in the video, "we can't change" what happened to her in the past. Most of all, I understand that I wasn't the person shot for being a politician and that I have no right to judge her decision. None of us do.

But I can express my anger at the events and their outcome. It was too much to hope that things would be business as usual for her. I accept it. I don't have to like it.

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