In the wake of this morning’s (6/14/2017) senseless shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) held a joint news conference on the congressional baseball practice shooting, updating reporters and assuring everyone that the annual game will go on as scheduled. Their extemporaneous and poignant reflection is something that should give all pause.
Rep. Doyle: “IT SHOULDN’T TAKE AN INCIDENT LIKE THIS TO BRING US TOGETHER. I KNOW IN TIMES OF TRAGEDY WE AS AMERICANS DO THAT. BUT JOE AND I HAVE BEEN REFLECTING A LOT LATELY JUST ON HOW WE CAN STILL MAINTAIN OUR PRINCIPLES AND OUR LEGISLATIVE AGENDAS BUT IN A MORE CIVIL WAY. AND WHEN THE LEADERSHIP OF THIS COUNTRY IS CIVIL TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER, MAYBE THE PUBLIC WILL START BEING CIVIL TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER, TOO. AND THE NEWS MEDIA WILL BE CIVIL TOWARDS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND THE PUBLIC. AND WE CAN CHANGE THE MOOD IN THIS COUNTRY SO THAT PEOPLE DON’T GET FILLED UP WITH THIS KIND OF HATRED.”
Rep. Barton: “IT’S A DIFFERENT CLIMATE TODAY THAN IT WAS IN 1985 WHEN I FIRST GOT ELECTED AND PART OF IT IS TECHNOLOGY AND THE ATTACK POLITICS AND THE 15-SECOND ATTACK ADS AND THINGS LIKE THAT. MEMBERS ARE NOT LOOKED AT AS PEOPLE ANYMORE. WE’RE KIND OF LOOKED AT AS, I DON’T WANT TO SAY TARGETS, BUT PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN COME TO OUR TOWN HALL MEETINGS AND SAY JUST THE MOST OBNOXIOUS THINGS AND WE NOT FEEL IT PERSONALLY. I CAN ASSURE YOU, EVERY MEMBER OF CONGRESS IS A PERSON. HE HAS FAMILY.”