What is wrong with us? Rep. Shamed Dogan posed the question at the end of a tweet slamming fellow Republican Missouri House member Warren Love.
Many Missourians are wondering the same thing about our state lawmakers.
Love, from Osceola, said on his Facebook page that vandals who desecrated a Confederate memorial in Springfield should be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”
Love’s comment came two weeks after Democratic State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said that she hoped President Trump is assassinated.
Both comments drew swift bi-partisan outrage and condemnation, as well as calls for the lawmakers to resign or be removed. Both politicians apologized, expressed regret and indicated they weren’t stepping down.
Gov. Eric Greitens said that he didn’t feel either lawmaker should represent the people of Missouri and both should face the same consequences.
We agree. Chappelle-Nadal and Love are an embarrassment. They both should go.
Some will dismiss that position as overly harsh. Afterall, all of us do and say things in the heat of the moment we later regret. Both have offered the requisite apologies.
Moreover, you can argue, as Love has, that his comments don’t rise to the level of Chappelle-Nadal’s remarks.
Our view is that when a public official endorses violence, they should forfeit their right to serve in office.
The divisions in our country are profound and becoming more pronounced. The hate and bigotry on display in Charlottesville is chilling evidence of this reality.
More than ever, we need politicians who can set aside their bitterness and hostility to work on finding common ground and solutions. We need mature, thoughtful leaders who aspire to bring people together, not cause more divisions through hate-filled rhetoric.
When politicians cultivate violence and hate by fanning the rhetorical flames to make their point, they erode the public’s confidence in our representative system, as well as all of the individuals involved. The divide widens and democracy suffers.
Vitriolic and hate-filled rhetoric by political leaders is one of the reasons so many of us are asking ourselves, “What is wrong with them?