Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic Member of the House of Representatives for Arizona's 8th District. Image Source: Blog for Arizona.
The terrible and tragic shooting of American congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as well as several others (with six people killed, including U.S. District Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old girl, Christina Greene, who was born on September 11, 2001, was recently elected to her student council in third grade, and wanted to talk to Gabrielle Giffords about American government) in Arizona today, has provoked soul-searching among America's law-makers, officials and journalists. It has also sparked a storm of debate across the political spectrum about the extreme tensions between left and right political factions in America (while true, much of this boils down to perpetuating that very problem through more political finger-pointing; see here, here and here).
The clearing out of the political centre was a result of post-9/11 stress. It did not just occur in the United States, but in Canada, Britain and across Europe - and I would guess, further afield. It also reflected deep uncertainties in the west during the first decade of the Millennium. This is not just about world affairs. It seems we believe western society is on the verge of collapse because we live at the turn of a millennium. There is a subliminal sense that a great revolution is taking place - a change over to a new order, with a new dominant culture.