Playing baseball is a pleasant summer experience. Earlier this week it turned to horror as a man started shooting. Four were injured including the House Majority Whip Steve Scalise who remains in critical condition. The only reason it wasn’t a total bloodbath was because Scalise’s security detail was there. Given the shooter’s background, it was clearly politically motivated.
As the divide between the two parties has increased, the level of hate has grown. Certainly Republicans, especially right wing extremists, have expressed their hatred. However, right now most of it is coming from the Left. This should not be a surprise since the key theme of last year’s campaign was that Donald Trump and Republicans are bad people. Hillary Clinton denounced a quarter of the electorate as deplorable and irredeemable.
Once Trump was elected, the anger exploded. We have seen instances of violence. Social media is full of vitriol toward Trump. Many talk of assassination. A high school yearbook that contained the phrase “Build the Wall” was confiscated but one in which a student hoped Trump would be decapitated was allowed. Most disturbing of all, over a dozen celebrities have talked of killing Trump. Sadly, Democrats in a position of power have rarely denounced them.
We cannot know what was in the mind of the shooter so it is unfair to blame anyone else for influencing him. Obviously a climate of hate can lead to violence. The sharp increase in police shootings is clear evidence.
I applaud Democrats who have denounced the shooting and are calling for more unity. They should follow the example of Ted Kennedy. No one fought harder for their causes yet some of his best friends were Republicans. Hopefully both sides will calm down and work together when they can. That’s how it’s done in a democracy.