Molly Prince, DCNF
Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana wrote an opinion piece on Thursday emphasizing the importance of free speech in America, blasting those who abuse that right by promulgating political violence and urging his fellow politicians to condemn anyone who participate in the upheaval.
“Let me be clear: there is absolutely no place for violence or threats in our political discourse,” Scalise wrote. “We need a higher level of civility in our political debate. And it starts with us.”
In the piece, which was published by Fox News, the congressman discredits attacking opposition as a tactic of a dictatorship and a sign of an inability to defend one’s own viewpoint.
Scalise was notably the subject of an assassination attempt after a left-wing activist open fired while Republicans were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. He was shot in the hip and gravely injured during the attack.
Scalise touched on his own experience, but also listed a plethora of other recent examples of political violence and threats of violence. Interestingly, all of the examples listed were inflicted upon members of the right.
“We are a country of diverse viewpoints and that is what makes America great. We are able to discuss those differences freely and resolve them at the ballot box,” Scalise continued. “But no one has the right to harass, threaten, or incite violence against someone with different opinions or beliefs. That is, frankly, un-American and contrary to the very principles this country was founded upon.”
Scalise also called out the members of congress who urged their supporters to harass the opposition party and pleaded for them to help assuage the tense political environment by denouncing violent speech and actions regardless of who they support.
While Scalise refrained from naming names, Rep. Maxine Waters of California has vocally called for harassing officials working for President Donald Trump’s administration and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey recently demanded his constituents “get in the face of some congresspeople”.
“Unless more leaders speak out against this violence, it will only continue. Instead of calling for harassment, we need more leaders in both parties to condemn this rhetoric and the violent actions of their supporters,” Scalise wrote. “I am calling on everyone, whether Republican or Democrat, to call out violent actions and violent rhetoric.”
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