Given the abysmal hate speech that is so frequently engaged in by Donald Trump, I should not be surprised to see that others in the Republican Party are following suit. Values, kindness, tolerance are all principles that few in the party have managed to maintain in this Trump-era. But the latest, to me, qualifies as an all-time low.
That, folks, was U.S. Representative Mo Brooks from Alabama. And yes, he stooped so low as to attempt to profit by using the tragic shooting of his fellow congressman, Representative Steve Scalise, in his political advertisement. When I heard he had done this, my jaw dropped and my first thought was, “are there no limits? Is there no shame?” And the answer to those questions, of course, is “no”. Wondering if perhaps I was simply being overly sensitive, I went in search of the reactions of others.
“The day of the shooting, while waiting at the hospital, I avoided the news/audio/video as much as possible. This makes my stomach turn.” – Brett Horton, Scalise’s chief of staff
“I guess some people have their own ideas about what’s appropriate.” – Chris Bond, spokesman for Scalise
I expected outrage from some of Brooks’ fellow members of Congress, but I found none. I guess I should not be surprised at this point, to find them all either completely lacking a conscience or else too lacking cojones to say what they think. But the outrage from the public was what I expected …
When asked if he would consider removing the ad, in light of the criticism, Brooks responded …
“The truth is always appropriate. It’s one thing to talk about defense of the Second Amendment, it’s another thing to have lived through an assassination attempt and to reaffirm your commitment to the Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
Brooks is currently running to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.
Let us also remember that Mo Brooks was the one who, earlier this month, said of the Senate health care bill, “My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.”
You know … Trump & Co., along with some number of republicans have eschewed ‘political correctness’ and Trump himself has said, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either.” I see political correctness as nothing more or less than politeness. We are all well aware that Trump has neither the inclination nor, I believe, the ability to speak rationally, to speak with kindness and compassion. His supporters have chosen to not only accept that character flaw, but to embrace it. But why does that mean that the rest of the GOP must follow suit?
In my opinion, every member of Congress needs to speak out against Mr. Brooks’ terribly poor taste, poor judgment, his downright cruelty. If they do not, then they are as guilty as he. And to the good people of Alabama: If you do not stand against this man, if you elect him to the Senate, then you get what you deserve. Sadly, you also subject the rest of the nation to it.