Gifford’s refreshing story of courage and hope

Ten months after the shooting that claimed the lives of six and injured 13 others, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is walking, speaking in short sentences and serving Thanksgiving dinner to troops in Tucson.

Her remarkable and steady recovery from a gunshot wound to the head at point-blank range is covered in a new book entitled “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope,” which is mainly written through the perspective of Giffords’ supportive husband, Mark Kelly.

The book chronicles the couple’s relationship, as well as Giffords’ political career, before and after the tragic event.

Giffords and Kelly’s heroic resolve to be “tough, tough, tough” in the face of a challenging rehabilitation, as Giffords repeated in a recent interview with Diane Sawyer, is refreshing and inspiring for every American.

Politicians and citizens alike can learn from Giffords’ relentless push to return to full physical and cognitive capacity. According The Arizona Republic, Giffords has not officially voiced that she will return to Congress, though doing so would fit her determined personality.

The behavior that has led to continuous bickering and procrastination in Congress is still as unacceptable as it was before the shooting. Following the event, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., listed and decried a series of inappropriate shooting and violence-related comments made by politicians in campaigns, according to Talking Points Memo, an online political magazine.

As an experienced rifleman, Dingell said he knew what putting crosshairs on someone meant; former Alaska Gov. and GOP darling Sarah Palin did just this.

During last year’s midterm elections, Palin put out a highly criticized map where she put crosshairs over Congressional districts that housed vulnerable Democrats. Giffords’ district was on the misguided visual hit list. All this said, it is important to note that the accused gunman is mentally unstable, and acted independently of Palin’s graphic.

The fact that Democrats and Republicans alike spent more time trying to pin the blame on each other for the failed budget supercommittee than coming up with much-needed, though unpopular changes earlier this month shows we have made little progress.

As for arguable extremism in citizens, the Occupy movement’s dissolution should not be seen as a defeat; it gives us an opportunity to reflect on how to effectively make something of strong sentiment.

The Tea Party's 15 minutes of fame has been up for quite a while, but it proved last November that the goal of any political idea is action through voting.

Giffords’ story is inspiring and, in some ways, symbolic of our nation, which has the power to overcome the heated climate of frequently malicious and immature rhetoric.

Like Giffords, we must have a tenacious resolve to leave the now-standard inflammatory imagery and useless name calling of political discussion behind so we can begin to effectively cooperate to solve our problems.

We, too, can learn how to talk again.

 

Reach the columnist at jlgunthe@asu.edu Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.


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