Friday, July 08, 2016
Cleaver: We must put an end to these senseless killings
This has been another week of unthinkable violence in our country. The events that have taken place over the course of these last few days have been deeply troubling and disheartening… police shootings and police officers shot and killed. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, out of chaos, we can find our purpose.
It is going to be my prayer this night and for the next few nights that the Senate and the House of Representatives can see clearly that our purpose is to lead our nation away from the edge of the “mare’s nest” of fear and a response to fear that creates even more fear. We do so by understanding that words matter; words matter, and they can do damage.
Right outside of Dallas, Texas, I grew up in public housing, and in the projects they would say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. It wasn’t true when I was a boy, and it’s not true today. Words can hurt, words can horrify, words can hinder. But words can also heal. And one of the things we need more today more than we have in the immediate past are words of healing, instead of words of hate.
When a nation experiences a tragedy like the ones we have just witnessed, it can either further polarize, weaponize, and fragmentize, or it can harmonize and mobilize. The House of Representatives of the United States must choose the latter. When reason fails, as it sometimes does, in my world it’s time to pray. We have multiple religious affiliations in this body, but all of us believe something that would condemn any kind of violence, even verbal violence. The world is watching what we do, and we shouldn’t waste time watching over our ideology.
One day, a little boy named Bob closed his finger in a door, and he began to cry. His parents ran in, and his other brother, Billy, was also crying, and so the parents thought both of them were hurt. However, when they looked at Billy, they said, “You haven’t been hurt. Why are you crying?” He said, “I’m helping Bob cry.” This whole nation is crying, and those of us here, in our hearts, are helping the people of Dallas cry.
I extend my condolences to the families who have lost the people they love. This has to stop. We must come together regardless of party to finally put an end to all of these senseless killings. It is time to make real change and I hope it starts right here in Congress.