The terrible events in Arizona on Saturday should remind us of the sacrifices made by those who serve the public. The shooting of a member of Congress is shocking because it happens so rarely. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is only the fifth Congressman to ever be the victim of this kind of violence in the history of the United States. We have a right to be proud that violence against our politicians happens so rarely.
In this country, we live by the rule of law, not the rule of violence. This has been because we have always been tolerant of different points of view, with the shared agreement that we would use the courts, or the ballot box, to settle our differences, rather than violence.
However, that tolerance for other people's views seems to be fading daily.
We hope that this latest event will cause those who trade in fear and division to rethink the effects of their rhetoric and change the nature of our national conversation for the better. Violence is never the answer.
With "stimulus" and "bailouts" discredited as methods of jump-starting the economy, President Barack Obama plans to use new approaches this year, a top White House adviser has said.
Hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending have left the unemployment rate at 9.8 percent. Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, says that means new tactics are needed. Among them will be focusing on investment, exports and innovation, he said a few days ago.
Unfortunately, Goolsbee's comments are open to a variety of interpretations. For example, "innovation" could mean enormous new taxpayer subsidies for impractical technologies favored by Obama.
What the White House should be doing is slashing federal spending, providing tax relief, reducing the burden of regulations - and otherwise getting out of the private sector's way. That, not more government tinkering, should be the White House economic strategy for the new year.