There is tremendous political division in our country, combined with a lack of compassion and decency, and it appears to be getting worse rather than better.
Recently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s 82-year-old husband was assaulted in their home by a hammer-wielding attacker. The assailant fractured Mr. Pelosi’s skull with a hammer, while asking, “Where’s Nancy?” Clearly, a horrific ordeal for Mr. Pelosi, and a frightening attempt to harm or kill someone in one of the top positions in our government. Or perhaps I shouldn’t say clearly horrific, because the seriousness of those two points seems to be lost on some in a toxic show of politically motivated lack of compassion.
Apparently, some people in politics have found this particular episode of violence to be something to mock. In Hunterdon County, New Jersey, a man running unopposed for the local school board, decided that a homemade Halloween costume t-shirt echoing the attacker’s question, “Where’s Nancy?”, would be a hilarious idea. Which is just a normal, decent thing to do – making fun of the victim of a violent attack as a fun, kooky costume idea.
Remember the year that Democrats dressed up as Ronald Regan with bullet wounds? It was hilarious to see people who disagreed with him politically mocking his attack. Oh wait, that didn’t happen? Perhaps some douchebag somewhere did it, but certainly not people in public, political positions.
Dressing up as the victim is not the same as dressing as the assailant, which would be in keeping with the long tradition of facing our fears by dressing as monsters, real and imagined, on Halloween. This is a very different scenario, where some level of compassion has been breached, and in certain circles, it has become acceptable to condone violence against political rivals, and now even against their family members.
If someone put your grandfather in the hospital with a fractured skull, would it be funny to see someone lampooning his attack on Halloween? Even if Grandma is a public figure and the one the attacker was looking for, is it funny? Say your wife was attacked by a disgruntled employee in your company. Would it be funny to see someone at a rival company reference it in his Halloween costume? Of course not. Of course not!!
So why would any decent person find it acceptable to mock the attack of a family member of a political figure, no matter how much you may dislike the figure? Why is this lack of empathy being seen more and more? When people are emboldened to mock violent attacks, we have certainly crossed a line.
Of course, the Board of Ed candidate felt emboldened to wear a shirt like that, but when questioned, acted like he didn’t know what it referred to, or who the Nancy in question was. So, this particular douchebag isn’t strong enough to do physical damage himself, but he tacitly approves of those who do. As a person even remotely in charge of the policies in a school district, he is a terrible role model. As a human being, he is certainly missing the compassion that should be found in a political figure. As one of a tribe of people who just may root for and embolden the hammer-wielding violent members of society, this person is emblematic of where a large section of society is heading.