In Someone Else's Shoes
Funny how stepping into someone else's shoes can change your opinion about most situations. Yesterday our country experienced another mass shooting that could have turned into a massacre if not for two courageous Capital Hill police officers. I am compelled by decency to discuss the level of dangerous speech in the public arena. Today Newt Gingrich laid blame at the doorstep of liberals mentioning "an increasing hostility on the left" and last night Sean Hannity went into a tail spin with the words "LEFT- WING HATE" in gigantic letters next to his head on Fox News.
Sure. Let's blame the progressives. If you take this path, then you must take a minute to walk in the shoes of those on the other side of the debate. Remember Sarah Palin: "Don't retreat, instead - RELOAD! after circulating a map with crosshairs over lawmakers who supported the ACA. Remember Ted Nugent: Made threats against former President Obama several times in the pasts, including telling Obama to "...suck on my machine gun." Then there was GOP House candidate Rober Lowry who held a campaign event at a Florida gun range in October of 2009, where he fired gunshots at a human silhouette target that had his opponent Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz's initials written next to the head. And finally, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump said on January 23, 2016 that "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."
Outrage over Kathy Griffin's tasteless bloody head of the President is understandable. Yet I point out that the apoplectic response to the current Public Theater's Shakespeare in Central Park forgets that in a 2012 production by The Acting Company cast Bjorn DuPaty as Caesar, an actor who resembled then President Obama. "It" - this one-sided view of the world - conveniently forgets the wrongs committed on both sides of every issue. "It" ignores the fact that most of the time in a painful conflict, two things can be true at once.
In the aftermath of yesterday's horror, Ted Nugent offered on a political talk show on WABC Radio in New York, "I'm not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore." Now if he can talk to his friend Donald Trump? Maybe we could make some progress towards tamping down the incendiary tone in our nation. I would admire President Trump IF he were capable of leading our nation out of this cave and have been waiting since the morning of November 9, 2016.
Alas, empathy is not a quality in high supply in our current government tonight. As Henry James wrote, "Three things in human life are important; the first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." Tonight, decent people in America stand with the injured Republican lawmakers, staff and lobbyists as they heal from shocking injuries. If we are to prevent any further episodes like the one that surprised us yesterday, it would be useful to acknowledge that millions of Americans are going to be hurt by changes in the AHCA. When folks are desperate, they do desperate things and we live in a society filled with guns. It's not hard to imagine that this isn't the end to violence.