An Old Fashioned Ribbing


Jason Gay wrote in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal about the Congressional Baseball game going forward in spite of the horrific act of terror the day before in which a gunman shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R., La.) and three others. The Democrats won the game, and then Gay reports:

After the final out, the Democratic team manager, Re. Mike Doyle (D., Pa.) accepted the shiny Congressional game trophy – and then, without hesitation, handed it over to Barton, the GOP skipper.

“Joe, I talked to my team, and what the Democrats would like to do is give you this trophy to put in Steve Scalise’s office, until he’s back on his feet,” Doyle said.

Barton took the trophy, and promised to do exactly that. “We congratulate our good friends on the Democratic side,” he said. “We won’t be this nice next year. We’ll put this in Steve’s office.”

Said Doyle, “Tell him once he’s healthy and gives us trouble again, we want it back.” 

A good, old fashioned ribbing. We need more of this on Capitol Hill, on college campuses, at our family reunions, in our politically divided churches, and across the country.  

The state of demonization and vitriol in our national dialogue is beyond disgusting and increasingly violent. This is unacceptable.

It was Alexis de Tocqueville who remarked, “The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”  

America is ill. The essential functions in a thriving democracy, like debate, dialogue, mutual inquiry, and policy formation, are being performed by too many paltry and weak citizens making America more sick.

One cannot critique the sexual revolution unfolding around us without being shouted down as a homophobe. Social scientists tip toe through their research awaiting accusations of racism, patriarchy, or worse. We have lost the ability to dialogue, consider, entertain, employ logic and reason while pursuing truth. 

This past week we saw Senator Bernie Sanders dismissively ridicule a Trump cabinet appointee for his religious beliefs, even though the Constitution states (Article 6, Sec. 3) that, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Our info-tainment journalism now parades every event as ‘Breaking News!’ CNN’s Jake Tapper is appalled on a daily basis, and NBC’s Chuck Todd whines weekly about journalists getting picked on. 

And finally, the highest office in the land is held by a man whose main weapons are denigration and disdain in 140 characters or less.  

The exchange above between Doyle and Barton, sadly, would have not likely happened were it not for the shooting the day before. Congressional diatribes and unfair characterizations are both a reflection of our divided country and an additive to the rage in the country.

We need more old fashioned ribbing that is based on a deep mutual respect, acknowledgement of difference paired with dignity, and an agreement to play hard, but play fair. 

Every sector of our society could use better citizens, and I’ll start with myself. Better citizenship entails agreement on our rights and freedoms, and the liberty to exercise such rights and freedoms. We need more respect for difference and patience amidst the feelings of indifference.

de Tocqueville also wrote, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” We are getting too close to the edge, my friends. Too close.




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