On the morning of June 14, 2017, a 66-year-old man from Illinois entered a baseball park in Alexandria, Va., and began shooting. Among the five people shot was Congressman Steve Scalise, a member of the Republican leadership in the United States House of Representatives. Upon opening my Facebook to follow this story, something glaringly obvious beyond these basic facts nearly jumped off my screen: An explosion of laughing emojis mocking the Congressman and his political party as well as a procession of thousands upon thousands of rainbow flags posted in apparent celebration of this horrendous act. It seemed that those opposed to Scalise and his party’s traditional worldview could hardly wait to wave their banner of victory over the bleeding body of the Congressman.
Question: How can anyone who pretends to be a decent human being celebrate and laugh at such terrible news?
Answer:. Hatred and intolerance.
Every day we see it. Those waving the flag of “love,” “inclusion” and “tolerance” actually show themselves to be purveyors of the opposite much more so than those they oppose. Their response to the shooting of someone who simply disagrees with their politics and their sexual worldview is proof enough. This is literally hatred on parade. This is intolerant. This is shameful. This is sad.
What would we say if a Jewish man was the victim of a shooting and Facebook was flooded with swastika emojis? What would we say if a black man or woman were the victim and there was a torrent of KKK emojis along with those signifying laughter and celebration. What if Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer were shot and those suspected of being in agreement with the “Tea Party” responded by posting hundreds of thousands of “Don’t Tread on Me” flags”? What would our reaction be? Wouldn’t we condemn such disregard for our fellow human beings? Wouldn’t we call out such a vindictive spirit for what it truly is? Wouldn’t we label such juvenile attitudes of comeuppance malicious, mean-spirited and simply wrong? If so, (and I do believe that our culture still would) why do we remain silent while score upon score of those who tout the slogan “love trumps hate” waive their flags in celebration and laugh at the shooting of a man they despise simply because he’s a Republican?
The words of Martin Niemoller come to mind — First they came for the cake baker and I did not speak. Then they came for the photographer and I remained silent. Then they came for the pizza shop owner and still I said nothing. Then they came for the Republican congressman and I hid in the shadows while everyone laughed. When they came for me, alas, my country yawned as there was no one left to speak for me.
Pascal once said “When everything is moving at once, nothing appears to be moving, as on board ship. When everyone is moving towards depravity, no one seems to be moving, but if someone stops, he shows up the others who are rushing on, by acting as a fixed point.” The time is long over due for someone to break ranks with this pretentious parade of intolerance and hate and shout, “Stop! Laughing at someone who has just been shot and waiving your flag over his bleeding body is not is not love. It is not tolerant. It is not inclusive. It is ugly and it is wrong. God help us! We are better than this!”
Dr. Everett Piper is president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. His book, Not a Day Care: Why a Coddled Nation is a Crippled Nation, will be published in August.
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