Several months ago, a good friend of mine suggested that violence was an appropriate response to thwart the Republicans that had been voted into to power during the last national election. He felt incredulous about the election results. He believed the Republicans were going to ruin everything that the Democrats had worked for during the previous eight years.
I readily admit that my friend’s comments left me speechless.
Generally, he is balanced, tolerant and open minded. Although he and I do not see eye-to-eye politically, we have always had a tremendous amount of respect for each other. We can discuss world or national events without becoming rhetorical or demeaning each other. He is certainly not someone I ever expected would condone random acts of violence to topple a legitimately, elected government.
Since then, I have been taken aback by how many good and intelligent people have allowed their raw emotions and political frustrations to dominate what would normally be civil and constructive discourse. There are many examples in social media of self-inflicted annihilations of those who went “too far” with their commentaries these last six months, most recently, Kathy Griffin.
This morning, around 7:09 a.m. EDT U.S., in Alexandria, VA, we learnt that a shooting had taken place at a congressional baseball practice. Five people, including Congressman Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana and the third highest ranking House Republican, were injured. It would appear this violence was directed at the Republican Congressmen on the field.
Obviously, an investigation will follow that will determine motive.
Today’s events in Alexandria should viewed be a wake-up call to all of us.
Our words matter. Our actions (and in-actions) have consequences. Our leaders are elected to represent all of our citizens, not just those with whom they may agree.
Those who intend to divide us, demean our pluralistic democracy and diminish our representative republic.
“The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.” T. S. Eliot