- - Thursday, June 15, 2017

The shooting of a senior GOP congressional leader, Hill staffers and Capitol police officers is a sober reminder of how deeply anger and division have penetrated our politics and our culture. We are forgetting the basics, failing to foster civility and respect for one another in America. Both political parties need to take inventory on how to restore civility in our nation and calm the political tension.

It’s easy these days to turn on the television and find ranting debates where liberals and conservatives are ganging up on each other. It makes for good television and high ratings. But after the debate is over, the conversations are similar: How are the kids? What are your summer plans? After the sharp debates, we find a way to be civil.

A sense of darkness and overwhelming negativity in social media are subliminally promoting violence. They penetrate the minds and hearts of angry individuals and incite violence. The negativity pollutes our democracy and undermines President Trump’s ability to govern. One such individual, consumed by hatred for Mr. Trump and the GOP, was so deranged by the poisonous rhetoric that he went on a shooting spree during a Republican congressional baseball practice. For him, the GOP and the president were not the opposition; they were the enemy.

This unfortunate incident is a wake-up call, both for ordinary Americans and those we elect as our leaders.

Our nation cannot survive on division and hatred. We are not each other’s enemies. We are patriots who love this country — even if we can’t always agree on the policy path moving forward. Some individuals have been blinded by their hatred for Mr. Trump, and the resistance movement is quickly becoming a movement that promotes hatred, fear and violence.

With Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise in critical condition, lawmakers from both parties have been sobered by this new reality, by the toxic and harmful environment that brings constant stress of hatred and division for all involved. We need to call out the hateful rhetoric, especially from the left, where images of a bloody, beheaded president and a theatrical performance of violently assassinating the president have desensitized supporters and given them the green light to act on their hatred.

Anyone who knows Mr. Scalise knows that he is a fun, kind and charismatic person. He is respectful to his colleagues even when they disagree.

He got along with Democrats and Republicans — and yet now he is fighting for his life because a deranged individual believed it was OK to target Republicans with his rifle.

Madonna, Kathy Griffin, Rep. Maxine Waters and all the other Trump haters are poisoning the minds of individuals to the point where they find it acceptable to act on their hatred. They may dislike the policies of Mr. Trump and his party, but what they truly detest is Mr. Trump as a person. Their voices are powerful enough to inspire the acts we witnessed this week on a neighborhood baseball field.

Such charged talk has consequences and, at a time like this, is the last thing this country needs as we try — together, for the sake of us all — to promote a new spirit of unity, serenity and civility.

Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News contributor, co-founder of Cove Strategies and former White House director of specialty media under President George W. Bush.

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