Attention: Political discord in our country threatens to destroy our way of life. In an America where violent political rhetoric turns into actual attacks, no one is safe. Spreading hate verbally is abhorrent, but turning that hate into violent acts of violence is a terrible sign of how depraved our society has become. We risk our way of life becoming synonymous with thug life.
This morning’s 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 after a man asked, “Where’s Nancy?” he screamed as he fractured his skull and went to bed. when he entered the couple’s San Francisco home in the wee hours of October 28.
The attempted kidnapping of Speaker Pelosi was foiled because she was not home at the time, officials said. The suspect, 42-year-old David DePape, is now charged with attempted murder, assault, attempted kidnapping and other crimes related to the incident.
Violent political rhetoric has consequences, and we see these consequences reflected in acts of terrorism. As Paul Pelosi recovers from surgery for a fractured skull and other injuries, we should all be ashamed. Is this what we have allowed to become the “land of the free and home of the brave”?
Security is an illusion; Pelosi’s attack is proof of that. We trick ourselves into thinking we are protected by locked doors. We know from high-profile events in the past that the opposite is true. Unfortunately, the problem is not unique to the United States.
Just a few months ago, in July, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated by a man with a homemade firearm. Shinzo was shot dead at point blank range during a political event that was allegedly under heavy security. Abe was airlifted to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Perhaps the most egregious example of a political assassin occurred in November 1995 when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated at a political rally in Tel Aviv. A right-wing extremist who opposed Rabin’s peace offer to the Palestinians shot him dead at close range – despite Israel’s reputation as one of the best security forces in the world. In the end, it didn’t matter.
As long as society allows and promotes violent rhetoric, none of us are safe. And we must recognize that there are many patients who “take the bait” and run with it, with disastrous consequences.
The attack reminds Paul Pelosi that we must be careful when we speak and be careful about what we say, because words have consequences. Instead of hateful rhetoric, we need to go back to a time when it was okay to disagree. Americans should welcome the debate. It is okay for us to have different perspectives and to disagree at times.
Republicans and Democrats can differ greatly in determining the best path forward for our country without appearing to be a mortal enemy or inciting their political base to score points.
For every conservative Republican in Congress who spends his time creating lavish content, pandering to Democrats and riling up their base, progressive Democrats are doing just that. And that’s a shame because it means that the silent majority of Americans, who are decent people who trust this country to want the best possible future for our children and grandchildren, are doing a disservice.
And it should be clear that the issue is not weapons. It’s about people who are willing to move from rhetoric to actual harm against someone over political differences. And there is nothing fundamentally un-American about using violence to influence political outcomes.
We saw this during the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, which was reprehensible and horrifying. The senseless hatred and destruction that occurred that day was fundamentally un-American. I’ve seen it first hand as the attack on the seat of our democracy takes place along with my crew.
We need to go back to a time when Americans were able to disagree about political differences without resorting to physical attacks. We have to do better and start today.
Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is the owner and manager of television stations Howard Stirk Holdings I & II and the Owner of Multicultural Broadcasting in 2016. He is the author ofRevival of virtues.”