Hatred or Healing?

JEWISH LIGHT EDITORIAL

What will happen this time?

After outrage and anguish surrounding the shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and others during practice for the congressional baseball game, will calls for a renewed emphasis on responsible controls on gun violence lead to real progress?

Or will they wither away, just like they did in the wake of other shootings, from Jim Brady to Gabrielle Giffords to the thousands of lower-profile victims whose lives are lost or permanently altered every day?

The reaction of officialdom properly, if somewhat predictably, lamented the vicious atmosphere that pervades political discourse these days. President Donald Trump expressed the hope that the violence “may have brought some unity to our long divided country.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Anat Cohen at The Sheldon

Locally, U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., echoed the sentiment of many: Violence has grown out of the increasingly vehement language used by both sides in Washington and across the nation. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Wagner told her colleagues:

“It is time for us to move away from this hatred and this vitriolic rhetoric.” 

It’s also time to move toward not just kinder discourse but concrete action that can bring increased understanding and acceptance of personal and political differences. The fact that victims on the baseball field were helped by Crystal Griner, a lesbian member of the Capitol Police whose lifestyle is too often blasted by some public officials, should make everyone who engages in hateful rhetoric or actions— from Alex Jones to Kathy Griffin — step back and see the need for more common sense and common purpose.

Often, progress starts by simply looking in the mirror. In times like these, the phrase “enough is enough” is a frequent lament. Let’s hope that this time, it comes true.