Tone Rhetoric And Violence Follow Policy

Because the Alexandria Shootings of a Congressman, other government officials and law enforcement personnel this morning is believed to have been inspired by our nation’s white-hot political rhetoric, there is much comment and wringing of hands in and about the nation’s Capital today about tone — political tone.

Of course there is no excuse for violence for any reason but there is every logical reason for excessively harsh political tone, and it is not because all sides are equally to blame. That kind of muddy the waters argument always plays to the advantage of the bad guys.

Paul Ryan came to the house floor all worked up, which he had every right to be, because his House collogue and friend Steve Scalise and others were shot in conjunction with a Republican Congressional baseball practice. The speaker lamented the hostile tone between Democrats and Republicans in Washington and around the nation, blaming it at least in part for the violence. Tone, however, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Tone follows policy.

How in the world can Ryan gleefully expect to push legislation that jeopardies the lives of millions of Americans and think that there must be some rational way to a find a more polite path to political discourse? It simply is not possible.

What he and his GOP associates are pushing on behalf of the super privileged against the poor and the elderly is just as violent as any street assassin. Indeed, one party can’t continuously be working to throw average Americans under the bus, using political gimmickry — voter suppression, Russian collusion, gerrymandering and every other dirty trick in the book — and then expect that by some magical means a way to a more gracious discourse can be found.

Stop exclusively serving the donors and other fat cats and start serving average people and political tone will take care of itself. There will always be rational disagreements about how best to serve the people but overtly and covertly sticking it to them ain’t no way to be running a government that is supposed to be for and by the people.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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