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Shots Heard Round the Country

Saturday’s attempted assassination of  U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, in which six people were killed and 13 others injured, has left the country in shock.  This brutal incident reminds us again what a short step it is from the overheated rhetoric of public figures like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and their vehement supporters, to tragic, senseless violence.  The local sheriff, Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, speaking after the incident, warned of the effect the “vitriol that comes out of certain mouths” about “tearing down the government” can have on “unbalanced people.”

“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.... and unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital,” the sheriff lamented. “We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

It's too soon to know whether this event will be a turning point in the increasingly heated rhetoric that has begun to infect our political discourse.  It is not too soon to demonstrate increased civility and respect, even towards those with whom we disagree.

"What Would Martin Do?" Forum

Coming so soon after an attempted political assassination, the ADA Education Fund’s annual forum on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “What Would Martin Do?”, can’t help but take on a more somber cast—and rightly so.  The event, this Friday, January 14th at 4:30pm in Room B339 of the Rayburn House Office Building, will feature a panel of distinguished speakers addressing the question of how Dr. King might approach critical issues facing the country in the 21st Century.  We look forward to hearing from our panelists, including the Hon. Harris Wofford, the Hon. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Ms. Clayola Brown, Mr. Hilary Shelton, and Rev. Douglas Tanner.

IMPORTANT:  Today is the last day to vote for your favorite "What Would Martin Do?" short essay in our ADA Education Fund contest!  The top prize wins $500 in U.S. Savings bonds.  Cast your vote now!

This Week in Congress

House action, including the GOP’s scheduled vote on repeal of last year’s health care reform law, has been postponed due to the events in Arizona.  The vote is largely symbolic anyway, since repeal will not even be taken up in the Senate and is obviously opposed by the President.  Even so, the delay gives the American people more time to tell their Representatives that they want to keep the hard-won reform that has already made a positive impact on millions of lives.   Send your Representatives this message in less than a minute!

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