Last night, while correcting homework and cleaning up from dinner, I groaned as I heard, between these things and the general mayhem surrounding our children on a school night, a familiar and tired theme drumming out from the television in the other room where my husband was watching the nightly news. Lots of folks in Congress are complaining about some rough calls and voice-mail messages left for them in the last few weeks. I bet there were some! Did they think they could conduct themselves in the way that they did and not
stir up some angry and heated passions? Some--both Republicans and Democrats--have even complained of death threats and requested security protection. Of course, the focus of this "report" on TV was Democrat members and the dangers to them presented by "fringe" groups such as . . . "the Tea Partiers
So isn't it interesting that this
news about a shooting at Eric Cantor's
office is the actual news I woke up to hear about today?
Fringies and unstable people abound in EVERY political movement and, sadly, they abound in nearly every permutation of every political movement. Nuts should be called out. But barring evidence of a clear-cut call to violence, it will not do if, in an effort to stave of the fringies (which, by the way, is a futile mission), we begin to condemn and call out for condemnation the larger political opinions and thinking that seemed--for whatever reason--to be a part of some particular nut's move to violence. If we do that, we end all rational discussion. We stifle debate. But worse, we risk losing our Republic.
Both sides of this (and every) debate in American politics should do what they can to call back their dogs. But they should also learn to hold their tongues and resist the too easy temptation to condemn the opinions of their opponents because of the insanity of a few of their fans.