By Shireen Qudosi and Darrel Nerove

Alexandria Shooting America Matters
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“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.”

– President Abraham Lincoln, March 4th, 1861

On Wednesday morning, Republican members of Congress were practicing for an upcoming charity baseball game when 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on the lawmakers. In a shocking and extreme display of hate, Hodgkins specifically asked Congressmen whether they were Republican or Democrats before he started shooting to kill. The attack injured several, leaving GOP Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition.

The attack comes at the heels of politically charged and emotionally heightened rhetoric across the American landscape. America Matters is saddened to see that this horrific incident did not result in a desperately needed pause for reflection or temper people’s language. Language tolerant of violence continued, and has continued, with vehement disrespect for the Office of the President, and for each other as Americans with regards to the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion and more.

America is truly the land of the free. America Matters encourages everyone to get involved, make your voice heard, join in peaceful protests and demonstrations, and other forms of free speech. This is the way we ensure our voices and opinions are heard; and our leaders know how the American public feels about given topics. These are good, healthy activities of a well-functioning democratic society.  

There will be disagreements! But that is OK. We should be able to discuss topics and have meaningful dialog and debate over topics without becoming offensive, disrespectful, or harmful to one another—violence and calling for violence is never the answer and should never be condoned or encouraged.

During this time, it is important to remember that our greatest strength is our ability to have respectful dialogue, and we cannot abandon this strength as passions and frustrations escalate. We must resolve political differences peacefully and respectfully. America Matters strongly supports people’s rights to thoughtfully protest and demonstrate, but these actions must remain peaceful and continue to respect the rights of others.