Attention: Political divisions in our country threaten to destroy our way of life. No one is safe in America, where violent political rhetoric has become a real-life attack. The verbal spewing of hate is abhorrent, but the transformation of that hate into brutal acts of violence is an ominous sign of how far our society has eroded. We risk making our lifestyle synonymous with gangster life.
The recent early morning hammer attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is proof that none of us are safe anywhere. Pelosi’s wife “Where’s Nancy?” After shouting, he was admitted to the hospital with a fractured skull. when he entered the couple’s San Francisco home in the early hours of October 28.
Authorities said an attempt to kidnap Speaker Pelosi was unsuccessful because she was not home at the time. The suspect, 42-year-old David DePape, is now facing charges of attempted murder, assault, attempted kidnapping and other crimes in connection with the incident.
Violent political rhetoric has consequences, and we see those consequences manifest in acts of terrorism. As Paul Pelosi recovers from surgery for a fractured skull and other injuries, we should all be ashamed. Are we what we allow to become “the land of the free and the home of the brave”?
Security is an illusion; Pelosi’s attack is proof of that. We delude ourselves that we are somehow protected by locked doors. We know the opposite from the high-profile events of the past. Unfortunately, the problem is not limited to the United States.
A few months ago, in July, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot and killed by a man with an improvised firearm. Shinzo was shot and killed in the open during a political event with security. Abe was airlifted to a hospital, where he died.
The most shocking example of a political assassin breaching security 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 proposals for the Palestinians shot him dead at close range despite calling him Israel’s best security force in the world. In the end, it doesn’t matter.
None of us are safe until society allows and promotes the rhetoric of violence. And we have to admit that there are many sick people who will “take the bait” and run with it, with catastrophic results.
The attack on Paul Pelosi is a reminder that we must be careful when we speak, because words have consequences. Instead of hateful rhetoric, we need to return to a time when it was acceptable to disagree. Americans should encourage the debate. We may have different views and sometimes agree to disagree.
Republicans and Democrats can fundamentally differ on how to create the best path for our country’s future without portraying each other as mortal enemies or promoting political bases to score points.
For every conservative Republican in Congress, progressive Democrats who spend their time creating bombastic content, poking Democrats in the eye, and strengthening their base do the same thing. It’s a shame because it means a disservice to the silent majority of Americans who believe in this country, decent people who want the best future for our children and grandchildren.
To be clear, the problem is not the weapon. The problem is people who are willing to go from rhetoric to actual harm against someone because of political differences. There is nothing more fundamentally anti-American than the use of violence to influence political outcomes.
We saw this during the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, which was reprehensible and horrific. The hatred and destruction that took place that day was fundamentally un-American. I watched him and my crew witness the assault on the seat of our democracy.
We need to go back to a time when Americans could disagree on political differences without resorting to physical 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 & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcaster of the Year. Is she “Reawakening the virtues.”