While Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise remains in critical condition needing several rounds of surgery following the shootings at a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday, political leaders have quickly severed their brief coming together in wake of the violent occurrence.
Both Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi seemed to unite their colleagues and the country in heartfelt speeches on Wednesday, but the tide has now swiftly turned on both sides of the aisle. Pelosi went on the GOP attack Thursday morning when questioned about the shooter who was allegedly targeting Republicans because he hated the Trump presidency.
The reporter asked the Minority Leader if the baseball diamond shooting could be used against members of the Democratic Party when it comes to election time. Some Republicans are blaming the shooting on the rancorous rhetoric that Democrats have encouraged against President Trump and conservatives.
Pelosi would have no part of that and unleashed a scathing portrait of the country’s GOP and the lengths they will go to try and destroy Democrats who are working hard in Congress.
How dare they is what Pelosi said to the media, citing that she has been a longtime target of the right and suffered a number of hateful accusations as the GOP constantly tries to impugn her character.
Pelosi went on to say that this vitriolic behavior is beneath the decorum of Congress. Just because the shooter hated the GOP and President Trump, Pelosi suggested that conservatives are trying to act self-righteous about the incident when these kinds of horrible tragedies affect people on both sides of the aisle. It shouldn’t matter about the gunman’s political preference because the act was heinous enough, she implied.
Pelosi also scolded President Trump and the choice of words he has often used in public that divides the country and creates an atmosphere of growing resentment.
That’s the way the nation seems to have operated in the last decade or so when both parties malign another who does not agree with them politically. Playing nice and respectable appears to have gone out the window, and the voting public agrees with that assessment. Instead, intense partisan animosity is alive and well, and the vitriol explodes on social media sites like Twitter.
In 2016, the famous Pew Research Center conducted a survey on that very issue of partisanship. The poll revealed that voters from both sides of the aisle contain extreme dislike of the other and that the opposing party makes them feel frustration, fear and anger.
For example, The Pew survey found that 45% of Republicans now view Democratic policies as a threat to the nation, up from 37% in 2014. In addition, 41% of Democrats say the same about the GOP, and that reveals a 10% increase from two years ago.
Remaining highly negative of the opposing party seems to be working for those who serve in Congress. The public is tired of it but seems to get caught up in the conversation or fired-up, if you will. The electorate seems to be following the trend and holding those polarizing views. Plus, the voting public keeps sending these politicians to Washington to represent them.
None of this will change unless the people demand something better and stop rewarding the act of disrespect given to those with opposing views.
In the meantime, the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, 66, died from injuries sustained when he was shot by police. Hodgkinson had shot Scalise and four others during a practice for the annual charity Congressional Baseball Game. The event was not canceled and went on Thursday evening.