Home Opinion Letters to the Editor What’s Happening to America?

What’s Happening to America?

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 By Arthur Cola
June 14, 2017

Today as my wife and I were preparing to leave for the hospital to visit our newly born granddaughter, the news began to flash about the gunman opening fire on Republican members of the Congress and their staff who were practicing for the bipartisan Democrat vs Republican annual baseball game for charity in Washington D.C. scheduled tomorrow. Majority Whip Rep. Scalise was shot, as were one of his D.C. police protectors and others, his police security, though both injured, brought the gunman down before a bloodbath could occur.  The quick appearance of Alexandria VA police and Fire Dept. first responders aided in the quelling of the chaotic scene and would-be murderer.

As reports flowed in and presented on the news coverage, it became quite apparent that this James Hodgkinson of my home state, Illinois, had asked a Congressman, who was leaving the practice field, about what was taking place and whether or not they were Republicans or Democrats. Then when learning that it was the Republican team, minutes later he opened fire on those on the field. Blood spilled and chaos ensued until he was brought down. It was later learned that his motive was political in nature as he blamed the current GOP leadership and even the late President Reagan for not taxing the rich enough. He was also a volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign. Naturally, the Senator immediately condemned such action.

Then President Trump addressed the nation and leaders of the House (Speaker Ryan and Rep. Pelosi) and Senate (Senators McConnell and Schumer) did so to their membership. Rightfully, they all condemned such violence and called for coming together to prevent such acts in the future. But the one line in the President’s speech touched me personally, as I reflected on the future of my now seven grandchildren. The President said that our children have the right to grow up in a nation of peace and safety. Only through unity can we be strong enough to make this happen.

But then I began to think about the reality of that call for unity. How can my grandchildren or those children and grandchildren of my fellow Americans hope to experience such an environment where discourse can be different yet civil, where beliefs can be different yet respected when all they hear day after day on every late night TV show, even news outlets, at Award Show presentations, at concerts and plays and also social media daily, words of hate. Even more than that they can see comedians showing the severed head of the President or late night talk show hosts using graphic and vicious words and actions against the sitting President of the United States and dramatic performances which show the assassination of the president in the guise of a Julius Caesar production. How can they hope to grow up in a nation in which we can have differing opinions and yet sit across from one another and discuss these issues with civility and respect and not stand on the floor of Congress delivering speeches which virtually call for anarchy or at Town Halls or on college campuses either participating in violent protests against the speaker or President.

Are we reverting back to 19th Century America where such demonstrations of violence and murder were common in the political arena? I certainly hope not; for then our grandchildren shall have no hope of enjoying a safe and peaceful America.
So I plead with those of you out there who see violence as a legitimate act to think about not only your future but those who are just born and yet to be born. What kind of nation are you seeking to develop; One of Peace and Safety or Chaos and Violence.
The misguided man who attacked the Republican Congressional Team harbored such hate that he chose to try to kill off the lawmakers with whose positions he disagreed vehemently. And he was beyond middle age and into what would be his soon to be retirement years. He was not a young person whom we usually attribute such violent politically motivated acts.

If then that such hate has spread across generations; what hope is there for America to continue to be a nation blessed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Life isn’t being respected as seen by today’s event and on the stage and TV programs when it comes to the President and Political leaders. Liberty to freely speak our minds is being threatened by acts of violence which in many cases has literally burned college campuses and desecrated the symbol of our nation, its flag. And how can our children and grandchildren ever hope to be “happy” in their endeavors at a career or education if they feel threatened in their very classrooms for holding views of faith and love for their nation?

The one person who also hit upon what is happening to America was Congressman Rodney Davis of Illinois. His plea to end the hatred as one who was on that ball field when the shots were fired was not only touching but also a call to all Americans to stand up for what they believe but do so with passion and conviction not anger, hatred and violence.

America, we are a nation made one from the many “E Pluribus Unum.” Let us not lose that as we strive to bring up our children in an environment of Peace and give them safety to enjoy life as a free American as they pursue their dreams.

 

The Journey

The Journey Starring Colm Meany

2017 June

May 2017

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