Note: Political divisions in our country are threatening the way we live. No one is safe in America where violent political rhetoric translates into actual attacks. The verbal expression of hatred is offensive, but turning that hatred into vicious acts of violence is a horrific sign of how badly our society has been eroded. We risk making our way of life synonymous with mob life.
The recent early morning hammering of 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), proves that no one of us is safe anywhere. Pelosi’s spouse was hospitalized with a fractured skull after a man reportedly yelled “Where’s Nancy?” When he entered the couple’s San Francisco home in the early hours of October 28.
The attempt to kidnap Speaker Pelosi was foiled because she was not home at the time, authorities said. The suspect, David DePape, 42, now faces attempted murder, assault, attempted kidnapping and other felony charges related to the incident.
Violent political rhetoric has consequences, and we see these consequences manifest in tangible acts of terror. As Paul Pelosi recovers from surgery with a fractured skull and other injuries, we should all be ashamed. Is this what we’ve made “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”?
Security is an illusion; the Pelosi attack is proof. We deceive ourselves into thinking that we are somehow protected by locked doors. We know from high-profile events in the past that the opposite is true. Sadly, the problem is not limited to the US.
Just a few months ago in July, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead by a man armed with a homemade gun. Shinzo was shot at close range during an alleged security-filled political event. Abe was taken to hospital by helicopter and pronounced dead.
Perhaps the most egregious breach of security by a political assassin occurred in November 1995 when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot dead at a political rally in Tel Aviv. A right-wing extremist who opposed Rabin’s peace proposal to the Palestinians shot him at close range – despite Israel’s reputation for having some of the best security forces in the world. In the end, it doesn’t matter.
As long as society allows and promotes violent speech, none of us are safe. We must recognize that there are many sick people who will “take the bait” and run away, with disastrous consequences.
The attack on Paul Pelosi reminds us that we need to be careful when we speak and pay attention to what we say, because words have consequences. We must return to a time when dissent is acceptable, not hate speech. Americans should welcome debate. We can have different opinions and in some cases agree to disagree.
Republicans and Democrats may be fundamentally different in charting the best path for our nation’s future without seeing each other as sworn enemies or stoking their political base to score points.
For every conservative Republican in Congress, they spend their time creating hyperbole that pokes Democrats in the eye and irritates their base, and progressive Democrats are doing the same. It’s a shame because it means the silent majority of Americans are decent people who believe in this country and want the best future for our children and grandchildren, and they’re hurting.
To be clear, the problem is not the gun. The problem is people who are willing to do actual harm to someone by lip service across the political divide. Nothing is more fundamentally un-American than the use of violence to influence political outcomes.
We saw this with the attack on the Houses of Parliament on January 6, 2021, which was reprehensible and horrific. The unbridled hatred and destruction that occurred that day was fundamentally un-American. I saw it with my crew reporting the attack on our democratic seat.
We need to return to a time when Americans were able to disagree on policy differences without resorting to personal attacks. We have to do better and we have to start today.
Armstrong Williams (@ArightSide) is the owner and manager of Howard Stirk Holdings I and II Radio and Television, and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. he is”Awaken the virtues. “