The GOP’s Congressional baseball team had their first practice since the June 2017 shooting that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) clinging to life, and for a moment stopped the partisan hatred that had seen the GOP targeted by violent leftists.
Sadly, the camaraderie was soon over and the Democrats returned to their violent rhetoric and their hateful vitriol before Scalise even left the hospital.
On Wednesday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) who was on the field that fateful day in June, was being interviewed because the GOP baseball team was once again gathering together for practice.
CNN wondered what it was like for the Republican players to be playing on that field in Alexandria again.
Speaking of the field conditions itself, Brooks said, “It was wet. Not ideal conditions for baseball.”
But then he got down to the heart of the matter.
“On a more serious note, it was mixed emotions. on one hand it was good to be with our comrades as we try to put together a baseball team to compete with the Democrats…
But we raised over a million dollars for local charities
On the adverse side, remembering what happened on that field the last time we were there. Five of our colleagues got shot — one congressman and four other individuals, including a Capitol Police [officer]. And the assailant was dead behind home plate, near the stands. So, very mixed emotions.”
No doubt, it must be difficult for the GOP players to gather together on that field. I’m sure there were more than a few times that the players glanced back over their shoulders, unconsciously worrying who might be standing over the ridge watching them field ground balls.
However, what the return to practice makes me think of is not the violence from June but of the harsh division between our political tribes.
I don’t say parties here, because I don’t mean just Democrat and Republican. I mean those on the extreme of either side who “otherize” and demonize their opponents. Those who call Donald Trump “racist,” or call Ted Cruz “evil,” or call any other Republican or conservative, “homophobic,” “islamophobic,” xenophobic,” “hatemonger,” and any other ugly thing. By using these terms the Left “otherizes” us and makes it easier for their most troubled followers to think of us as less than human, and worse.
As we on the right fight to defend free speech, let us remember that we should be defending the liberty of all people – on the right and the left. Let’s no otherize our opponents, let’s not make politics more important than our humanity.
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