My article will be appearing on several websites next week, including TeaPartyNation.com. As always you’re welcome to voice your opinion.
By Robert Amoroso
Within the last week there has been a steady rise of reported threats and violence against members of congress. Obviously, the healthcare debate and its subsequent singing into law, has spawned a rash of violent acts towards lawmakers.
And while these reprehensible and seemingly random acts of violence caught most lawmakers off guard, in truth the atmosphere on capital hill within the last several years has continued to be extremely toxic and unpredictable, and while many lawmakers on the left went on a media blitz to decry recent events, in truth this type of assault on our elected officials began long before Obama-care, with President Bush, who was perhaps the most maligned president within the last 30-years. The verbal assaults and crude behavior, by lawmakers against the Bush Administration, has been well documented.
Of course there is no excuse for violence, no matter how impassioned the debate…no one can ever justify acts of terrorism against our elected officials, and there is a line that should never be crossed by either citizen or lawmaker. We are a free nation and a nation of laws and no matter how egregious a policy or act may be, we have the ability through the ballot box, to vote out those that don’t measure up to our ideals and to reclaim the principles set forth by our Founding Fathers.
However, those that seek to politicize the current climate of discontent through inflammatory language need to pause a moment, and rethink those misguided attempts to score political points.
I was especially surprised and somewhat disappointed at DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, targeting the opposition once again, and telling them to”tone down their rhetoric”, as if Republicans or any party is responsible for the crazies within our society. I suspect if one would expand on Kaine’s convoluted logic one could suggest that if it wasn’t for passing one of the most divisive bills in American history then there would have been no threats…how’s that for convoluted logic?
However Kaine didn’t stop there, he continued “Republican leaders are themselves engaging in actions and rhetoric that previously would have been limited to fringe elements of the Republican Party. Sarah Palin has invoked health care ‘death panels’ and has now placed gun sights on 20 Members of Congress who supported reform. House Minority Leader John Boehner used overheated language and tone of the floor of Congress to denounce the health insurance reform vote. Off the floor, he said that passing health reform was ‘Armageddon’ for America and that a Democratic Congressman in an adjoining Congressional District would be a ‘dead man’ for voting for reform. A Texas Congressman yelled “Baby Killer” on the House floor while a Democratic Member was speaking”.
He went on to suggest, “Republican leaders must disassociate themselves from this deplorable behavior, they must condemn these acts decisively and, most importantly, they must tone down their own tactics and rhetoric to set a better example for their supporters and the country. I call on them to do so”.
What is troubling is that this type of inflammitory rhetoric reminds me once again of the Bush years and only magnefies the potential danger that exists within this charged atmosphere, and leaders like the DNC Chairman, should know better.
Crude, rude and unaccepital behavior within the hallowed halls of congress have sadly always been a part of the American scene. Who can forget the bazzar rant by freshman Democratic congressman Alan Grayson, who brought several large signs into the chamber and declared in a booming voice, as he read off each sign that ”If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly. That's right -- the Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick."
He continued, as his voice echoed throughout the hall; "Remember, the Republican plan: Don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly."
Obviously, if one watches Congressman Grayson long enough, one would get the impression that he has perhaps more then a few personal issues to deal with, However, I don’t remember hearing anything from the DNC Chairman; in condeming Congressman Grayson’s antics…perhaps I’m wrong.
It’s safe to assume however, that this type of hate speech by an elected official in the hallowed halls of congress, only insights and perhaps even justifies in the minds of those crazies that violence is an acceptable form of protest.
However, violence isn’t a one sided issue as Republican Eric Cantor, can attest too. In the early hours on Tuesday, a shot was fired through a window at his campaign office in downtown Richmond, luckily no one was injured.
A few days later congressman Cantor went before the media with a brief statement, outlining the incident and warned against politicizing violence.
“I have deep concerns that some — [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] Chairman Chris Van Hollen and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine in particular — are dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon,” Cantor said.
He continued, “Security threats against members of Congress is not a partisan issue and they should never be treated that way. To use such threats as political weapons is reprehensible.”
Astoundingly, rather then lowering the heat, Brad Woodhouse, communications director for the DNC, shot back “Let’s be clear: Calling on Republican leaders who have contributed in part to this anger by wildly mischaracterizing the substance and motives of health reform to condemn these acts is entirely appropriate,”
Perhaps I’m missing something or maybe my memory is fading, however I do recall that mischaracterization, name calling and inflammatory rhetoric against the Bush Administration by key Democrats was also considered entirely appropriate. Well, at least Mr. Woodhouse is consistent, in his inconsistency.
I suspect it all depends on what side of the aisle you’re on. However from my perspective when lawmakers can’t even agree on the fundamental differences between honest civil discourse and debate and inflammatory, crude rhetoric, then we are indeed a nation divided, and God help us all.