When a gunman opened fire on a GOP baseball practice, it served as a sobering reminder of just how bad our politics have become. No longer were the two sides simply debating ideas, disagreements over policy were now resulting in violence. Our system was set up in a way that we could resolve these disputes peacefully, but suddenly that tradition feels threatened.
Of course, there was a silver lining to this tragic event. As shocking as it was, it caused many on both sides of the spectrum to realize the importance of unity. We may not always agree, but at the end of the day we’re all Americans.
That’s why it was announced in a bipartisan press conference that the game would go on as planned. We would not be scared into ending one of the few traditions of bipartisan cooperation left. It seemed, at least for a moment, that we were going to be able to put our differences aside for one night.
For the most part, everything went as planned. Despite the media’s attempt to spin the shooting into a political narrative, Republicans and Democrats came together to play a game with mutual respect. Sadly though, that mutual respect suddenly went out the window when President Trump made an appearance on the ballpark screen.
Thursday night’s Congressional Baseball Game was hailed as the ultimate sign of bipartisan unity, but dozens of Democrat staffers reportedly cursed, booed, and jeered when President Donald Trump appeared on the video screen at Nationals Park to deliver a message of unity.
According to a Washington Times report, the “staffers erupted into boos, jeers and even vulgar gesticulations” while Trump was saying, “you are showing the world we will not be intimidated by threats.” One person reportedly “shouted an expletive” at Trump while others even mocked the teams when they gathered near second base in prayer.
“As you all know tonight’s game has taken on a much deeper level of meaning, beyond anything that we would have thought,” Trump said in the video. “By playing tonight, you are showing the world that we will not be intimidated by threats, acts of violence, or assaults on our democracy.”
Let that sink in for a second. Just days after a gunman opened fire on innocent people over political differences, the President of the United States was booed while delivering remarks about putting aside political differences.
Democratic staffers couldn’t put their policy gripes aside for one night, and show the country that our nation is governed by adults. Instead, the mere site of the leader of the opposing political party elicited a childish response.
It is exactly this attitude that has led to our current political climate. A climate where people are driven to violence in place of reasonable debates. Democrats had an opportunity to show they were above such animosity. Sadly, some of them failed.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]