Changing My Tone

Sometimes it takes a horrible incident to make one stop and take a look at how they are doing things. The early morning shooting at the Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria Virginia on June 14th was that event for me.

It is no secret that I stand in opposition to almost everything President Trump and the Republican Party stands for, and I have been vocal in my opposition, but I must confess that at times I went for the cheap shot rather than the sensibly argued position. It is possible to resist, with every fiber of your being, but still, do it in a way that ensures we do not have to dip down into the mire.

The shooter was killed, and so we will never truly know the reasons. Sure, the shooter was angry, and that is proven by the social media posts he made before the incident. We can get mad, but when anger turns to fanaticism, regardless of the ideological side you are on, then we stray into some very dark territory. After the shooting, I spent part of the day reflecting on how I might have contributed to the climate that has developed over the last several years, and I believe we all have to own up to our part in that climate.

We are Americans, and most especially as human beings, as at our best when we are coming together. We do not always have to agree, and we can fight for what we believe in, but it should never, ever, turn to violence.

As I started writing this, a church member came into my office and asked when it was all going to end. I told him that I was not sure, but I said I am going to modify my part in it and hope that by doing so I might influence another to do the same and that change might just spread out like ripples on a pond. We are responsible for our actions, and I need to own my part and modify my behavior and become an example for others.

I will continue to protest, I will continue to resist, I will continue to stand up for what I believe is right and I encourage you to do the same thing, but at the same time I need to monitor my tone and my actions and remain civil in my discourse in person and especially on social media platforms where it is so very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the issue of the day.

As citizens of this great land we have an obligation to participate in and hold accountable our government and it is important that our voices are heard in the debate and the public square, but that voice always needs to be tempered by reason and our accountability that is the essence of the freedom we cherish.

As I sat and watched the events unfold and the President's speech from the White House, I was encouraged by his words especially the part of the speech regarding unity;

We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because, above all, they love our country.
We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace, and that we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.

I sincerely hope this can happen our future relies on everyone working together and pledge to do my part.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.