Friday, June 16, 2017

Condemnation is Important

Sometimes what is not said is louder than what is said.  Consider this example of a parent with two kids.  One kid hauls off and punches the other kid right in the face.  The punch broke the child’s nose and required surgery to fix.  What would you think the child who punched his sibling would learn if all his parent said was “My thoughts and prayers are with your sibling.  I am glad the EMTs got him to the hospital quickly.”  Do you think that the parent would have taught the child that it was wrong to punch?  Did the parent discourage future punching?  The parent’s failure to speak words of correction has a greater impact than the parents words of sympathy.  Sometimes we have to be willing to say an act is wrong, vile, evil, or hateful.  We just do.

I bring this up in regards to the amazing response of many to the recent shooting of Representative Steve Scalise, a Republican staffer, and some others at a baseball practice.  What is amazing about this response is what was missing.  Remember, this was a Democratic shooter hunting Republican lawmakers.  Let’s look at some twitter responses from leading Democrats.

First Hillary Clinton:

2 sides take the field tomorrow, but we're all ultimately on one team. My thoughts are with the members of Congress, staff & heroic police.


Clinton offers no denunciation of the act itself.  Interestingly, her Twitter statement lacks any hashtag, which seems to imply she does not want it easily found or widely read.  For comparison, here is a Tweet from the day before from Clinton in which she remembers the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting: 

My heart is with the loved ones of the 49 people killed at Pulse, the city of Orlando, & the LGBT community. #WeWillNotLetHateWin


The violent act in this case is a year old.  Clinton does use a hashtag, and calls the shooting “hate.” 
Now onto Joe Biden, former Vice President:

Jill and I are praying for the victims and their families. Grateful for courage of my former colleagues, first responders & Capitol Police.

Again, no denunciation of the act itself.  Prayer and thoughts.  No indication of violence being evil or wrong.  Let’s look at his one year remembering of the Pulse Nigh Club shooting:

We meet unspeakable tragedy and hate with unbound resolve. I stand with the LGBTQ community, today and every day. #OrlandoUnitedDay.


Again this act was “hate.”  And we see that the Vice President understands hashtags, which were absent above. 

Tim Kaine is a senator from Virginia, and the latest VP candidate offered up by the Democratic Party: 

Praying for Steve Scalise and all hurt in the outrageous attack this morning in Alexandria.


Again, no condemnation of anything.  Just prayers for the hurt.  He even uses the word Alexandria, which was the hashtag being used, but fails to make it a hashtag.  If you go to his twitter feed you will see that he does link to an interview he gave with NPR where he says we need better political rhetoric.  So, bonus points to Kaine for at least that much. 

Nancy Pelosi, the highest ranking Democrat Congressman: 

My thoughts and prayers with @SteveScalise, Capitol Police and staff at the shooting in Alexandria, VA this morning.

No hashtag, no condemning.  Now her response to the one year anniversary of the Pulse shooting:


Hatred will never defeat #pride. #OrlandoUnitedDay


That was hate.  It deserves hashtags.  And there is a video message attached where she condemns the attacks even more. 

Chuck Schumer, the highest ranking Democrat in the Senate: 

Saddened by news of the shooting in VA this am. Thoughts & prayers for Rep @SteveScalise & others injured & hope for a speedy recovery.

No hashtag; no condemning the act.  He did have a second tweet later that thanked responders, but again, no condemnation.  On to his Pulse anniversary tweet:

Their names & faces will not be forgotten, nor will our promise to fight hate & intolerance & to honor them w/ action. #Rememberthe49

This one gets a hashtag and is condemned as hate. 

Just in case you are wondering, the Republicans are not much better.  Here is Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House: 

This morning the hearts of the whole House are with @SteveScalise, the brave Capitol police, staff, and all those who were in harm's way.

No hashtag here either, and no condemning it as hate.  He also had a Tweet on the Pulse anniversary:

Join me in taking a moment to remember the 49 innocent lives lost one year ago today in the #Orlando terrorist attack. #OrlandoUnitedDay


Hashtags, but no condemning this one, either. 

Ted Cruz gets closer:

Praying for our friends, colleagues, and all hurt or impacted by today's terrible shooting.


At least he uses the word “terrible.”  The first time we’ve found any sort of denunciation involved. 
Bernie Sanders’s response stands out as different.  The shooter volunteered for Bernie’s campaign, so the political pressure is greater on him, but his response was much better: 

I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society.

His tweet included a link to a speech he made on the floor in which he condemned it even further.  He made a clear statement that shooting political opponents is wrong. 

Sure, many, if not all, of these may have condemned the baseball shooting in their “press releases,” but who ever sees those?  No one.  Who sees Twitter?  Everyone.  It is not hard to recognize evil as evil, at least it shouldn’t be. 

The Bible is clear that we should condemn that which is evil and refrain from doing it.  Killing another person in thought, word, gesture, much less in deed, is forbidden by God.  Yet, governmental leaders appear to have a problem saying such a thing.

This lack of condemnation is loud to my ears.  Add in all the over-the-top rhetoric such as the assertion that the President is like a Nazi/Hitler or the Republicans are going to take away Granny’s healthcare.  Or even the statement that the Republic would be over if Hillary Clinton had been elected.  Such words are taken seriously by many people.  When a citizen takes the call to “resist” to the level of armed violence, then such an action must be condemned, or we can expect it to be repeated. 

Our nation’s leaders had a chance to restore civility, or at the very least to condemn violence in politics, and they failed to do so.  God save us from the consequences. 

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