Let's be Civil

Wisconsin's Capitol  9/27/2014
dwm photo
The recent shooting of members of Congress, some of their staff, and Capitol Police is difficult to digest.

At this writing, only the alleged shooter is dead.  The House majority whip was reported as critically injured.

In searching for a silver lining to this very dark cloud, I was heartened to hear Congressional Democrats and Republicans come together in support of their wounded colleagues and something more important.

I heard legitimate discussion calling for a more civil discourse about our country's issues.

Hear. Hear.

It's ridiculous to conclude incendiary language and accusations via social or mainstream media led the gunman to a softball field last Wednesday morning; however, I believe how the issues are discussed is as vital as the discussion itself.

We can argue points of contention until we are blue in the face.

We might insist the other side is using incorrect facts and we think the conclusion isn't worth the paper it is written on.

But that is where the line should be.

To my mind, the country started down this path with widespread personal insults and name-calling in the early 1990s.  Talk radio hosts couldn't just disagree with a point of view, they needed to say the person with that point of view was worthless (or worse).

Soon, both sides and the variety of forces crafting political attack ads declared those with opposing views were wrong and evil.

Both sides are culpable in this.  It's been a rush to the bottom of the barrel in political discourse.

It does not take a large leap of logic to conclude that if the person whose view I oppose is wrong and therefore evil... shouldn't I take some action to end the argument?  Sadly, early reviews of the shooter's online and personal files infer it might have been a reason he showed up at a game with a gun instead of a bat and glove.

After 9/11 bi-partisanship revived, only to fade in the regular political waves of righteous indignation.

This is another reprieve.  As voters and as Americans - we owe it to ourselves and this nation to demand better from ourselves and the men and women we elect.