Many people were uplifted by the show of unity at the Congressional Baseball Game in the wake of the shooting that left Rep. Steve Scalise in critical condition.
The Washington Times reports, however, that some others, who appeared to be congressional staffers, were less affected by the call for unity and booed President Trump at the game:
Dozens of congressional staffers erupted into boos, jeers and even vulgar gesticulations Thursday when President Trump appeared in a video at the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park.
Mr. Trump delivered a message of unity, but some fans in the stands weren’t having any of it.
One man shouted an expletive at the video screen as Mr. Trump was telling the fans: “We are showing the world we will not be intimidated by threats.”
The episode marred what had been a night celebrating those wounded in Wednesday’s murderous attack on GOP players practicing for the game.
When both teams went to second base — the symbolic spot where Rep. Steve Scalise was wounded in the attack at the Alexandria practice field — to kneel and pray, some mocked the prayer, too. The fans appeared to be Democratic staffers, having booed the announcement of several members of the GOP lineup.
Peggy Noonan has a sobering column ("Rage Is All the Rage, and It Is Dangerous") on this kind of attitude in this morning's Wall Street Journal. Noonan writes:
In the early 1990s Roger Ailes had a talk show on the America’s Talking network and invited me to talk about a concern I’d been writing about, which was old-fashioned even then: violence on TV and in the movies. Grim and graphic images, repeated depictions of murder and beatings, are bad for our kids and our culture, I argued. Depictions of violence unknowingly encourage it.
But look, Roger said, there’s comedy all over TV and I don’t see people running through the streets breaking into laughter. True, I said, but the problem is that, for a confluence of reasons, our country is increasingly populated by the not fully stable. They aren’t excited by wit, they’re excited by violence—especially unstable young men. They don’t have the built-in barriers and prohibitions that those more firmly planted in the world do. That’s what makes violent images dangerous and destructive. Art is art and censorship is an admission of defeat. Good judgment and a sense of responsibility are the answer.
That’s what we’re doing now, exciting the unstable—not only with images but with words, and on every platform. It’s all too hot and revved up. This week we had a tragedy. If we don’t cool things down, we’ll have more.
No, of course censorship is not the solution. Violence has always been used in great art (and lesser art). Think of Benjamin West's depiction of the death of Horatio Nelson. Want to ban it? Of course not. But it didn't trigger violence.
The violence arises when too many people have too little self-control and also are ill-equipped to debate issues beyond incendiary slogans.
The problem, it seems, is in the eyes of too many beholders–unstable people, who, as Peggy wrote (and as my boldings highlight), don't have filters or the "built-in barriers and prohibitions that those more firmly planted in the world do."
It is worth noting that congressional staffers should not fall into this category.
Yes, it's a long way from booing the president (we all have the right to do that) to actual violence, but it nevertheless should alarm us that people who appear to be congressional staffers, who presumably are well educated and in positions to influence how policy gets done, don't have built-in barriers to know better than to behave this way when president when he is speaking of national unity (much needed) as a casualty of our national rage lies grievously wounded in a hospital bed several miles away.