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June 15 2017

GOP Leaders Commendably Avoid Playing Blame Game after Shooting of Rep. Scalise

by Charlotte Hays

No, of course, we don't blame Bernie Sanders, and we should be proud of the general tenor of the response from the conservative side of the aisle for refusing to do so, despite suggestions to do otherwise.   

Sanders himself released an excellent statement condemning James Hodginson, the deranged Sanders supporter who opened fire on an early morning GOP baseball practice yesterday in Alexandria, Va., wounding Rep. Steve Scalise, who remains in critical condition, and Hill aides and Capital police yesterday.

A shooting with political overtones usually provides an opportunity to play the blame game. The Wall Street Journal had a good editorial on the GOP restraint in by and large resisting this temptation (the editorial also praised  the brave Capital police officers who took down shooter, who died later at the hospital):

Politically motivated attempts at mass murder aren’t common but they do happen and too often they’re exploited for partisan ends. The good news is that on Wednesday most political leaders rose to higher ground.

President Trump offered gracious condolences to the wounded, praise for the officers, and a call to national unity. Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi united to denounce the attack, and Mr. Sanders disavowed and denounced Hodgkinson. Mr. Ryan said the baseball game will go on as scheduled—to a thunderous ovation.

These are divisive political times, when verbal abuse and physical harassment are all too frequent against political opponents. The duty of political leaders and the rest of us is to keep the divisions in the perspective of our shared values of free debate and democratic consent.

One way to contribute to a better political climate would be to stop claiming as a reflex that victory by the opposing party is illegitimate, and another would be to stop portraying political assassination as entertainment.

So let's praise everybody for civility--especially the Republicans, whose congressional leaders and aides were under attack--and who have been blamed by Democrats for violence in the past, ever how farfetched and vicious such accusations might have been.

This speaks well of a commitment to principle and civility. However, even if we know that only one man, the shooter, is to be blamed, we still notice the viciousness that now pervades American life, much of it emanating from people who simply refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election.

Members of The Resistance might want to take this shooting as an opportunity to take stock of their descent into hate-filled rhetoric. The Resistance should also realize that millions of Americans don't agree with them, were thrilled at the outcome of the election, and it is these people whom you insult daily. 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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