CON­GRES­SIONAL TEAM­WORK

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The ball­park gun­man didn’t stop con­gres­sional aide Zach Barth (left) and Rep. Roger Wil­liams, Texas Repub­li­can, from at­tend­ing the an­nual Con­gres­sional Base­ball Game on Thurs­day. De­spite the bi­par­ti­san spirit on the field to raise money for charity, law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill wasted no time point­ing fin­gers in ven­omous de­bate.

The shoot­ing of a se­nior GOP con­gres­sional leader, Hill staffers and Capi­tol po­lice of­fi­cers is a sober re­minder of how deeply anger and di­vi­sion have pen­e­trated our pol­i­tics and our cul­ture. We are for­get­ting the ba­sics, fail­ing to foster ci­vil­ity and re­spect for one an­other in Amer­ica. Both po­lit­i­cal par­ties need to take in­ven­tory on how to re­store ci­vil­ity in our na­tion and calm the po­lit­i­cal ten­sion.

It’s easy these days to turn on the tele­vi­sion and find rant­ing de­bates where lib­er­als and con­ser­va­tives are gang­ing up on each other. It makes for good tele­vi­sion and high rat­ings. But after the de­bate is over, the con­ver­sa­tions are sim­i­lar: How are the kids? What are your sum­mer plans? After the sharp de­bates, we find a way to be civil.

A sense of dark­ness and over­whelm­ing neg­a­tiv­ity in so­cial me­dia are sub­lim­i­nally pro­mot­ing vi­o­lence. They pen­e­trate the minds and hearts of an­gry in­di­vid­u­als and incite vi­o­lence. The neg­a­tiv­ity pol­lutes our democ­racy and un­der­mines Pres­i­dent Trump’s abil­ity to gov­ern. One such in­di­vid­ual, con­sumed by ha­tred for Mr. Trump and the GOP, was so de­ranged by the poi­sonous rhetoric that he went on a shoot­ing spree dur­ing a Repub­li­can con­gres­sional base­ball prac­tice. For him, the GOP and the pres­i­dent were not the op­po­si­tion; they were the en­emy.

This un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent is a wake-up call, both for or­di­nary Amer­i­cans and those we elect as our lead­ers.

Our na­tion can­not sur­vive on di­vi­sion and ha­tred. We are not each other’s en­e­mies. We are patriots who love this coun­try — even if we can’t al­ways agree on the pol­icy path mov­ing for­ward. Some in­di­vid­u­als have been blinded by their ha­tred for Mr. Trump, and the re­sis­tance move­ment is quickly be­com­ing a move­ment that pro­motes ha­tred, fear and vi­o­lence.

With Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, law­mak­ers from both par­ties have been sobered by this new re­al­ity, by the toxic and harm­ful en­vi­ron­ment that brings con­stant stress of ha­tred and di­vi­sion for all in­volved. We need to call out the hate­ful rhetoric, es­pe­cially from the left, where images of a bloody, be­headed pres­i­dent and a the­atri­cal per­for­mance of vi­o­lently as­sas­si­nat­ing the pres­i­dent have de­sen­si­tized sup­port­ers and given them the green light to act on their ha­tred.

Any­one who knows Mr. Scalise knows that he is a fun, kind and charis­matic per­son. He is re­spect­ful to his col­leagues even when they dis­agree.

He got along with Democrats and Repub­li­cans — and yet now he is fight­ing for his life be­cause a de­ranged in­di­vid­ual be­lieved it was OK to tar­get Repub­li­cans with his ri­fle.

Madonna, Kathy Grif­fin, Rep. Max­ine Wa­ters and all the other Trump haters are poi­son­ing the minds of in­di­vid­u­als to the point where they find it ac­cept­able to act on their ha­tred. They may dis­like the poli­cies of Mr. Trump and his party, but what they truly de­test is Mr. Trump as a per­son. Their voices are pow­er­ful enough to in­spire the acts we wit­nessed this week on a neigh­bor­hood base­ball field.

Such charged talk has con­se­quences and, at a time like this, is the last thing this coun­try needs as we try — to­gether, for the sake of us all — to pro­mote a new spirit of unity, seren­ity and ci­vil­ity.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A gun­man shot at law­mak­ers dur­ing a con­gres­sional base­ball prac­tice in Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, Wed­nes­day. Rep. Steve Scalise was in­jured in the at­tack.

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