Friday, June 16, 2017
Cleaver: Baseball field shooting should be a wakeup call for America
As many of you know, this has been a troubling week. Congressman Steve Scalise, Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, remains in the hospital after a cowardly act of violence. Four others, including two Capitol Police officers, a congressional staffer, and a former congressional staffer suffered injuries as well.
I’ve thought about just how horrific the scene would have been if those two Capitol Police officers were not there. Special agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey are true heroes--putting their lives on the line to protect others. I wish them a full and speedy recovery. I’m also grateful for the response of the Alexandria, VA police and others law enforcement officers who ran into danger to protect my colleagues.
The shooting should be a wake-up call for America. A difference of opinion should not lead to violence. The hate filled language, the vitriol, and the nastiness in Washington must stop. Standing up for your beliefs can be done without stepping down on someone who believes differently. Regardless of political viewpoint or party affiliation, violence is never the answer.
I attended the Congressional Baseball game last evening and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. As the players came onto the field and stood side by side for the national anthem, I was reminded of how important it is for Members of Congress to act as role models for the rest of the country. We must treat our colleagues as friends, not enemies. We must engage in civil dialogue, not name calling. We must show the country that a diversity of ideas leads to the strongest results. This is civility. If America sees that we can get along, that we can compromise, maybe others might follow.
This is a wake-up call America. We must stop the hate on social media, during town halls, and on the House floor. Be passionate and steadfast about your beliefs, but don’t hate the other person who doesn’t feel the same way. It’s time to embrace our differences and treat one another with respect, compassion, and civility.