Last summer, Rep. Steve Scalise came within a hair’s breadth of being killed by a left-wing lunatic who, judging by his social media diet, appeared to have been radicalized online. Scalise was shot at a congressional baseball game practice, and was listed as one of several Republican targets found in the killer’s possession. The media covered this near-tragedy like it was just another bump in the road of our politics; since it was “just” Republicans in harms’ way, there was certainly no reason to give a whole lot of publicity to this shocking moment of political violence. It wasn’t like that awful time a black guy got punched at a Trump rally, after all!
In any case, Scalise penned a powerful essay this week calling on leaders in Washington to tone down their rhetoric and condemn political violence in all its forms.
“No Americans should feel intimidated or at risk of violence for speaking their mind, or even doing something as simple as sharing their political party affiliation,” Scalise wrote. “Let me be clear: there is absolutely no place for violence or threats in our political discourse. We need a higher level of civility in our political debate. And it starts with us.”
Without naming any names, Scalise skirted right up to the edge of calling out Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters, who has publicly encouraged her followers to harass Trump administration employees wherever they can be found.
“The number of attacks and death threats against government officials has been increasing at an alarming rate,” he wrote. “There are many examples of this. These include: my own experience of being shot and seriously wounded; Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai receiving threats on his life and the lives of his family; and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders being shouted at and compelled to leave restaurants.
“This has to stop,” he concluded.
Scalise’s op-ed comes just after reports have come in that Sen. Susan Collins has received death threats and even rape threats from liberals who want her to vote no on Brett Kavanaugh. And just days after a Republican congressional candidate was nearly stabbed by a loon at a California fall festival. Every day in every way, Democrats are raising the rhetorical bar in an effort to make Trump and the Republicans seem like an existential threat – not just to the country but to the planet. And the crazier this rhetoric gets, the more crazed the responses will be.
Democrats need to listen to Steve Scalise, tone it down, and restore civility before a true tragedy unfolds.