Flags at half mast in front of the US Capitol.
By now, I’m sure you have all read about the shooting that took place over the weekend that claimed six lives and wounded 14 people. As we learn more about the victims and those affected, it is clear that they all had one thing in common – they cared deeply about our nation. These were individuals who dedicated their lives to improving the lives of Americans.
I actually had the pleasure and privilege to work with Congresswoman Giffords on the House Science Committee. I remember when we met - we had great discussion about solar energy and it was not until later that I realized I had been speaking with a Congresswoman. She is without a doubt, Congress’s expert on solar power and she has always recognized that initiating new policies for solar development and deployment are good for Arizona and good for the country. I found her to be one of the most dynamic and personable representatives on the Hill.
The assassination attempt represents an attack upon democracy. It was an assault upon the free society that is core to America. It raised questions of why this happened, how it happened, and what the country should learn from this great tragedy. We have already heard calls for a more civil political dialogue, one that avoids the vitriol that has colored recent campaigns and elections. This is not the first time that a concerted call for civility has been made. It wasn’t long ago that John Stewart convened the Rally to Restore Sanity on the Mall in Washington, DC.
It is difficult to say just what lessons the country will take away from this event. Without a doubt, the country needs more moderated and grounded voices that can shift the discourse from one of political retribution to reasoned compromise.