Author Tom Zoellner writes about Gabby Giffords:
I know she would absolutely hate this circus. Anytime somebody assumes a public office, of course, they die to their own selves a little bit and make themselves into a human symbol, channeling the urges of the local interests that put them there.
Gabrielle no longer inhabited Tucson; Tucson instead inhabited Gabrielle. This mission is embedded in her title "United States representative." She had to become a living-and-breathing distillation of everything this portion of the United States wanted her to say and be.
Now she is a silent representative of far more than she ever would have wanted: a symbol of how far we have drifted in the inhumane shallows of political conversation, the uneasiness about living in a polarized and suspicious America, the nihilism of a young man's alternative reality of "grammar control" and the feeling of helplessness to do anything about it that wouldn't cause even more harm and shouting.
My friend has become a public sacrifice to a thousand agendas and slogans. But she is also a wife and a daughter and an utterly decent person who was trying to make the best possible use of the gifts she was given. Gabby is sleeping now. I hope that it is a peaceful sleep. Against all of the drowning noise outside the hospital, one thing seems vitally important to me. I just want to see her again.
Read the whole thing at CNN here.