Over the past year we have seen a growing anger in our country. We saw it at the polling places in November where voters lashed out at election workers who were there to serve every voter who walked in the door. In anticipation of this anger we cautioned our election workers to not take such outburst and rude behavior personally and to do everything possible not to elevate the emotions of the moment. In some cases it was frustrating for those who were angry when election workers refused to take the bait and respond in kind, but in the end that was the best way to deal with angry people and bullies. It’s hard to have a fight with a person who refuses to respond emotionally.
Back in the day we witnessed heated debates on Capitol Hill where Republicans and Democrats argued over policies and for positions on issues. Then that evening, if you went down to the Hawk and Dove (a local pub on Capitol Hill) you were likely to see these same people socializing together. Yes they fought for their positions but it was always about policy and not about personal attacks.
This past week we’ve seen a couple of examples of how things have changed in Washington. In one instance, we watched Democratic Senators in the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing pummeling Attorney General Jeff Sessions with innuendos about his honesty and integrity as part of the Trump administration; and regarding his recusal from the Russian investigation.
In another case, we watched with horror as a former Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer, took his hate to its ultimate conclusion. He went to a baseball field where Republican Congressmen were practicing for the annual Republican/Democratic charity baseball event and started shooting them.
The ongoing story line by the mainstream media — along with those who cannot bring themselves to accept that President Trump won the election — is continuing to stir up the emotions and hatred in our nation. We remember there were those who didn’t like President Obama either, but you didn’t see them trying to make a sick joke of holding up a severed head of the president. Nor did you see them taking out a gun and shooting at people with whom they disagreed.
We need to seriously consider where our nation is heading. We need to back away from the incendiary rhetoric and to realize that words have power. We have written weekly columns for the over four years now. We have had readers praise what we’ve written and we’ve had those who don’t like what we’ve said; some of whom who have posted derogatory comments. For our part, we have never taken such comments personally. Every person has a right to believe what he/she wants to believe.
What needs to happen now is for all of us (including the media) to consider what we are saying and to realize the impact of incendiary rhetoric. Stand for positions but don’t stir up hatred with public character assassinations.