Our nation’s third President Thomas Jefferson once said, "God who gave us life gave us liberty." There is no question that within this simple statement are two of our nation’s founding principles — freedom and the value and respect for life. Most of us truly cherish our freedom because, without it, there is little opportunity to use the abilities and talents that God has given us to succeed in a personal way. And what else could we say about the value of life, as this sets us apart from all the savages, past and present who have ever lived. Life is precious and it is truly a gift from God.
In the 240-plus years since we became a nation, there have been four of our nation’s presidents who have been assassinated while in office: Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy. Six others have had assassination attempts on their life: Andrew Johnson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. When this happens our nation mourns, not only because of the high office these men are holding but also because of the value we place on a human life. It is in this spirit that I have some comments to make regarding recent developments in our country.
During my lifetime of almost eight decades, I have never before seen the rancor and bitterness over a political election. The one thing more than any other that has set our nation apart from all the others on the face of the earth is the orderly transfer of power following an election. This is the hallmark of a democracy, where the people rule. When our candidate does not win, we accept it and attempt to make changes in the next election. Sadly, there will always be disgruntled people who are not playing with a full deck that lash out in a violent way, and to be sure, our democracy suffers when they do.
A tragic example of this happened on June 14, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia, when Steve Scalise, a Republican member of Congress from Louisiana, was shot while practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. Three others were also shot before the shooter was taken out by Capitol and Alexandria police officers. To be sure, this was a sad day in the history of our country. What is even more heartbreaking to me is the number of disgruntled people who go so far as to advocate the taking of other human lives because they are not willing to accept the will of the voters.
I hope you understand that, while I am a conservative, I am not a member of any political party and truly have what I believe to be the best interests of our nation at heart. In national, state and local elections I vote for the candidate who I feel is the best qualified and will serve the will of the people, rather than looking for personal gain. If my judgment is not good, then I vote for someone else the next time around. This is the American way and what a true democracy is all about.
While it may not be popular, I have traveled this road today to share a very simple message, TONE DOWN THE RHETORIC. Words are powerful and, while we certainly have the right to express our opinion, we don’t have the right to advocate violence when things don’t go our way. We can’t yell "Fire" in a crowded theatre when there is no fire. I love this country and I bet you do, too. Let’s pull together to make it better.
Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to www.apositivemomentwithjim.com to subscribe.