The State of the Union address is about how the president would like to lead the nation, and social media is how we learn about the state of mind of every individual every day. The state of mind that we should strive to achieve for ourselves is more critical to the success of our republican democracy than any other “state.”
We must refrain from insults and complaints about “outrages” and remember that caring about one another and helping one another are far more important than trying to convince other people that they are wrong about a political point.
A criminal with a weak will and no concern for others opened fire on Republican law-makers at baseball practice in a park in Alexandria, Virginia. The shooter had no thought for the people or bystanders in the park or his own family. The lawmakers were practicing for a bipartisan charity baseball game to be held against a team of Democrats.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others were wounded in an act of anger allegedly sparked by the policies of President Trump. The shooter was killed in a gun battle with police. This insanity may have been fueled by anti-Trump rhetoric but it was insanity nonetheless.
The shooting has been called a result of the bitter political rancor which is dividing America. One pundit called the shooter “a consumer of far-left anti-Republican media” as if assassins should be expected to show up to baseball practices to express frustration with bloodshed and violence after reading political propaganda.
This creature was a weak-willed coward who could not deal with life so he chose to concentrate pathologically on political rhetoric as if that was more important than anything else.
How can we redirect attention to what is most important, which is protection of liberty, enjoyment of liberty and working together to bring the most happiness to the most people in a responsible way?
We can choose to be divided or choose to be respectful when we disagree over political beliefs. These lawmakers were participating in a bipartisan philanthropic activity! The charity game was played on Thursday night at Nationals Park as planned.
We can and must eschew hate even when we cannot agree. Republicans and Democrats line up on both sides of the debate of whether President Trump is carrying out his duties properly but both sides select facts and sources based on whether they agree with the source.
Social media compounds this selective fact-finding and actually creates the problem of “fake news” since after something is “reported” on the Internet with no oversight, it is repeated as if that adds some kind of legitimacy. President Trump issues instantaneous public statements via Twitter which exacerbates this problem.
He and we should resist being goaded into emotional reactions and overreactions just to be responsive because this does little to move debate over any issue toward resolution.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced the election probe would include the possibility of obstruction of justice by the president. He tweeted: “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history … led by some very bad and conflicted people!”
Mr. Trump cannot control himself and continued, “Despite the phony WITCH HUNT going on in America, the economic & jobs numbers are great. Regulations way down, jobs and enthusiasm way up!”
He also tweeted: “The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media – over 100 million people! I can go around them … ”
He should have merely reminded the people that he ordered the appointment of Robert Mueller so that whispered accusations could be laid to rest. He should have merely taken credit for the creation of over 800,000 jobs since his election. His emotional reactions do not help him and merely encourage other people to do the same.
The United States has lived through wars, a civil war, assassinations, a civil rights revolution and political rancor that once led a vice president (Aaron Burr) to shoot and kill a bitter political rival, a former secretary of the treasury, (Alexander Hamilton) over 200 years ago.
We are not in that place today and we will not go down that path but we must be mindful and remind each other of our “sameness” and that our strength rests upon our solidarity not upon our disagreements.