PAUL RYAN TO CONGRESS: “AN ATTACK ON ONE OF US IS AN ATTACK ON ALL OF US.” BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US?
It was vintage Americana. Baseball practice on a summery morning. Players clad in white pants, baseball jerseys, caps and batting helmets. Grown men, but overgrown little leaguers. They had pot-bellies and white hair, but on that diamond, they were boys looking to have some fun.
Americana, like apple pie. And the fireworks that happened next: a gunman, life-threatening injuries, terrified citizens running for their lives, first responders heroically preventing a full-blown massacre. After that, hospital visits, trauma, a baseball diamond that never feels completely safe again. Lifelong repercussions.
And speeches. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan took to the House floor: “An attack on one of us” he said, “is an attack on all of us.” Every single member of Congress rose to their feet. They clapped. And they clapped. And they clapped. “For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family” Ryan said.
While touching, it was a moment that stood in stark contrast to one a year ago, when Ryan refused to allow a vote on the most sensible kind of sensible gun legislation: that people on the terrorist watch list should be prevented from buying guns. Ryan’s “family” in Congress held a sit-in to demand a vote. They clutched photos of gun violence victims from their districts. But Paul Ryan was unmoved. He spoke then of the “dignity and decorum” and labeled the fight for the safety of the American people a “publicity stunt”. The vote was not allowed and the safety of the American people was neglected. Again.
When our loved ones are taken away from us by gun violence; along with the peace of our cities, towns, workplaces, schools, places of worship, shopping malls, movie theaters and parks why don’t our representatives stand with us? They, by definition represent us. Why is an attack on us, not an attack on them?
Our hearts go out to the victims of the congressional baseball shooting. We, the American people, feel a collective and familiar sorrow at the suffering and trauma that the victims, their families and colleagues are experiencing.
And we pray that every lawmaker will stay in the game. We pray that they will knock the dust off their cleats and look deeply at the gun violence in their districts. We pray that they will feel for the victims and witnesses and first responders outside the halls of Congress (which is a gun-free zone). And we pray that they will represent these American people, by standing up in unity with them.
Because an attack on one of us, is an attack on all of us.