09/14/2018

A Crazed Gunman Nearly Killed Me -- Leaders Must Do More To Keep Violence Out Of Politics

Steve Scalise, Fox News

There is no place for violence in politics. Period. 

One of the greatest rights we share as Americans is our unparalleled freedom of speech and expression. As part of our democracy, the Founding Fathers ensured that our country was founded upon key principles, including the freedom of speech and expression. That right, enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution, has shaped and strengthened our democracy.

We encourage free and open debate, and we need engaged citizens. That is our responsibility as Americans.

If we do not vote and take an interest in the issues important to the future of our country, our democracy is weakened. So I am glad to see people taking such a strong interest in the future of our country; however, in this free debate of ideas, there is absolutely no place for violence or threats.

No Americans should feel intimated or at risk of violence for speaking their mind, or even doing something as simple as sharing their political party affiliation. 

After my own personal experience of a crazed gunman attempting to assassinate Republican members of Congress on a baseball field, I have become more vocal in calling out violence and threats against people in both parties. 

Let me be clear: there is absolutely no place for violence or threats in our political discourse. We need a higher level of civility in our political debate. And it starts with us. 

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. 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.

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