Reps. Kevin Yoder and Emanuel Cleaver are firmly on opposite sides of the aisle in the House of Representatives, but they took the opportunity to call for greater civility and collaboration between people of all political stripes in the wake of the mass shooting at a congressional baseball practice in northern Virginia Wednesday.
Yoder and Cleaver jointly authored a piece published on CNN today that acknowledges the deep political divides in this country, and calls for unity. Here’s an excerpt:
[T]he blame for this violence and bloodshed lies solely with the attacker. No political rhetoric in America, no matter how heated, advocates or condones violence.
But if our political arguments are based on the premise that one side is right and the other is evil, it makes it much easier for twisted minds to justify violence.
And we cannot deny that coming together to find compromise solutions to our nation’s biggest problems is much harder if we take this approach.
How can you compromise with evil?
We’ve always believed that civility is a vital element of our democracy, but in today’s heated climate, we need it more than ever. It is this belief that has motivated us as chairmen of the Congressional Civility Caucus.
You may not find two members of Congress who disagree more on issues. We represent neighboring districts in Kansas and Missouri as Republicans and Democrats, but if you ask our constituents at home about the nature of our relationship, you’ll hear that we are great friends.
We often spend our periods of district work doing joint events, promoting the idea of civility and bipartisanship.
For us, it’s the norm. For too many, it’s shocking.
In light of Wednesday’s attack, now is the time to prioritize civility and tone down our rhetoric. If people are resorting to violence, we’ve clearly gone too far.
America is at its greatest when Republicans and Democrats are working together to move our nation forward, because at the end of the day we all pledge allegiance to the same flag and sing the same national anthem before every baseball game.