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.

Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing a series of columns on timely issues for today. All three ran in the 14th Congressional District primary.

(19) comments

Carlos Ponce

"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."
"[James T.] Hodgkinson's own descriptions on social media portray him as an avid consumer of political shows. His favorite television shows were listed as 'Real Time with Bill Maher;'[HBO] 'The Rachel Maddow Show;'[MSNBC] 'Democracy Now!' and other left-leaning programs.
His favorite movie? The documentary 'Inequality for All,' featuring progressive economist Robert Reich."
Did these programs stir up his hatred?
Did a viewer or listener of FOX News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, etc. ever go and attempt to assassinate a politician?

Gary Scoggin

It's always interesting to see people politicize the actions of a madman. Do Maddow, Maher or Reich advocate violence? No. Do Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin or Beck? No. Neither side has a monopoly on incendiary rhetoric. Implying that one side or another does just shows the weakness of your argument.

Carlos Ponce

The fact that Hodgkinson viewed these Leftist programs shows there may be validity to this. And so does the fact that NO assassination attempts came from viewers of the Right.
And may I add that the collegiate Leftist who performed acts of violence in recent months were more than likely Bernie supporters.

Gary Scoggin

The fact is that people of all stripes try to assassinate politicians. There were numerous attempts on the lives of Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton not to mention the almost successful one on Reagan. And these are the ones we know about. I'm confident many others were thwarted that we have never heard of. The common element among almost all of these attempts is that they involved someone mentally unstable that was led to a bad place. Some were led by conservative media, some by liberal media, some by voices in their head. But to try to extrapolate the actions of any one particular madman into a general trend is either sloppy thinking or political hackery.

Carlos Ponce

There were three attempts to assassinate Obama:
1. A Syrian plotted at the Alliance of Civilizations summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
2. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, a nut job who claimed he was Jesus Christ fired at the White House. Non-politically motivated. The man was crazed.
3. A letter laced with ricin was sent to Obama by Everett Dutschke. Similar letters were sent to Senator Wicker, a Republican, and Judge Sadie Holland. Everett Dutschke first ran as a Republican for public office, lost then ran as a Democrat. He was arrested for child molestation. He's a nut job.
"Some were led by conservative media..." Who?

Jim Forsythe

Just as Gary said "There were numerous attempts on the lives of Presidents" These are some that Obama had . I am sure Bush had a bunch to.

Jerry Blanchard, an accountant from Charlotte, North Carolina, was indicted for threatening to kill Obama during a July 15, 2008, breakfast at a Charlotte Waffle House.  Two customers said Blanchard told them, "Obama and his wife are never going to make it to the White House. He needs to be taken out and I can do it in a heartbeat." The customers contacted the Secret Service, who questioned Blanchard. He denied making the threats, but allegedly told the Secret Service agents he believed Obama was the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible. The Secret Service later got a second call from an employee of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Charlotte, where Blanchard was overheard in the lobby restroom saying into his cell phone, "I'll get a sniper rifle and take care of it myself. Somebody's got to do it ... We both know Obama is the anti-Christ
Raymond H. Geisel was charged with making threatening statements against Obama during a bail-bonds training class on July 31, 2008, in Miami, Florida.  During the course, Geisel referred to Obama with a racial epithet and said, "If he gets elected, I'll assassinate him myself."
Three men allegedly discussed shooting Barack Obama, then the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nominee, during his acceptance speech on the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Cousins Tharin Gartrell and Shawn Adolf, and their friend Nathan Johnson, allegedly came to Denver specifically to kill Obama, and discussed in their hotel room how they could assassinate him
Paul Schlesselman and Daniel Cowart, two men with strong white supremacist beliefs, allegedly planned a murder spree of 88 African Americans (14 of which they were planning to behead)  in Tennessee, many of whom were to be young students at an unidentified, predominantly African-American school. They allegedly planned to end the spree by driving their vehicle toward Barack Obama as fast as they could and shooting at him from the windows
On December 9, 2008, 29 year old James G Cummings, a wealthy white supremacist, was shot dead by his wife, 31 year old Amber Cummings in their Belfast, Maine home. When police arrived at the scene, they discovered components and instructions for making a dirty bomb, and notified the FBI, who sealed off the scene. The FBI discovered four 1-gallon containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon as well as literature on how to build “dirty bombs” and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60, radioactive materials
According to his wife, James Cummings was not happy that Obama was elected president, and planned to set the bomb off at his inauguration
Kristy Lee Roshia, 35, called the Boston office of the Secret Service on November 10, 2009, and told them she planned to "blow away" First Lady Michelle Obama while the family visited Honolulu, Hawaii, for a Christmas vacation 
In 2012, a case was brought against four U.S. Army soldiers in the U.S. state of Georgia claiming that they formed a paramilitary militia, called the FEAR militia, within the U.S. military with plans to overthrow the U.S. federal government: Private Isaac Aguigui, Private First Class Michael Burnett, Sergeant Anthony Peden, and Private Christopher Salmon.  The group purchased $87,000 worth of guns and bomb-making materials, conspired to take over Fort Stewart, bomb targets in Savannah and Washington state, and assassinate the president 
In 2013, two men from upstate New York were arrested after building a "death ray" x-ray device and plotting to use it against Muslims, and other perceived enemies of the United States and Israel,  including Obama. The men, Glenn Scott Crawford and Eric J. Feight, were arrested by the FBI after a 15-month operation involving FBI agents posing as co-conspirators. A court affidavit described the device as "a mobile, remotely operated, radiation emitting device capable of killing human targets silently and from a distance with lethal doses of radiation
One attempt was made in April 2013 when a letter laced with ricin, a deadly poison, was sent to President Obama along with other government officials.  Another attempt was made in June 2013, when another ricin-laced letter was sent to President Obama by actress Shannon Richardson. The letter contained a threat to kill anyone attempting to take away the sender's guns or impair their "constitutional God given" right to bear arms

Jim Forsythe

Andrew Jackson
Illustration of Jackson's attempted assassination
January 30, 1835: Just outside the Capitol Building, a house painter named Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot Jackson with two pistols, both of which misfired. Lawrence was apprehended after Jackson beat him severely with his cane. Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to a mental institution until his death in 1861.

Carlos Ponce

Still no reply to
"Some were led by conservative media..." Who?

Doyle Beard

hell Madonna thought.about blowing yp the white house . that action would have killed many people. I did not hear anyone from the left say anything against it.
All violence should be condemed by both right and left.

Pete Nanos

Tell me Gary. Do you see republicans or conservatives rioting , burning buildings and cars, stopping freedom of speech in meetings and college campuses? No, it's all left wing radicals with encouragement from left wing media and left wing politicians. Hate breeds hate. You reap what you sow. What happened last week was covered on page two by this paper. An attempt to assassinate congressmen on page two? The hate is way to one sided, too bad you're too blind to see that.

Jarvis Buckley

What this country needs is more civility.

Kelly Naschke

Gary.....Hannity has compiled a compilation of various leftists that call for violence and blood in the streets. Including your own Loretta Lynch. Not to mention the vile hateful rhetoric from our favorite morons that make thier living by PRETENDING they are other people Your comment is totally baseless and 100% incorrect. I would challenge you to find a similar montage that comes from the right.

Gary Scoggin

"Your Loretta Lynch" - LOL -- just because I don't buy into the Hannity stuff doesn't mean I buy into Maddow's as well. Anyway...to your point, here's a list of 150 right wing terror attacks in the US over the past 25 years. Over 60 were directed at government employees or institutions. Read some of the particulars and tell me if you think the perpetrators were routine MSNBC watchers.


Paula Flinn

The Alt-Right has stirred up some members of White Supremacy groups to commit crimes. Most of the threats and crimes against minorities and LGBTQ's are due to Right-wing rhetoric and actions. The President set a precedent for stirring up the Right with violent rhetoric and encouragement of violence during his campaign. Leadership comes from the top. The buck stops where ???

Carlos Ponce

Who formed the KKK? Democrats.
Who was Hillary's mentor that was once Exalted Cyclops of the KKK? senator Robert Byrd -Democrat.
Members of which party owned slaves? Democrats.

Raymond Lewis

This could have been at least a workable and non partisan article had you three gentleman included the president in your final paragraph of those that must realize the impact of our rhetoric. Missed opportunity to address the premise of your editorial (in my opinion that is).

Gary Scoggin

Raymond, don't you realize that to RINOs like Hannity and his acolytes the President is immune from criticism and his rhetoric is always true and helpful? (Except when his aides say not to take him literally.)

Doyle Beard

man is the hypocrisy flowing here.?

Jarvis Buckley

All about nothing Pres. Trump will lead our country for the next 8 years.

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