In light of the continued disintegration of civil discourse and current hyper-partisan environment–and especially in light of last night’s events in Las Vegas–Rep. Kendrick’s remarks as published in Georgia’s Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News (and elsewhere) ring so true:
While most Americans would agree the current political climate is unsustainable, finding a sense of national unity and reversing the problematic rhetorical trend toward violence is no simple task. In Missouri, Kendrick said the first step involves setting a higher standard for elected officials by disciplining Chappelle-Nadal and Love.
Kendrick often finds himself at odds with his Republican colleagues on policy issues, but he said the matter of punishing the two lawmakers should not come down to partisanship. Kendrick worries that insufficient punitive action will lead to the normalization of hateful and divisive rhetoric in Missouri’s political arena.
“If the General Assembly and members of the public accept this rhetoric as part of ‘politics as usual,’ then yes, I would be very concerned,” Kendrick said. “That’s part of the reason there has to be strict and severe consequences for rhetoric like this, so it doesn’t become a normal part of politics in America and Missouri.”
Beyond enforcing harsh disciplinary measures, Kendrick said lawmakers on the state and national level must commit to engaging in civil discourse before the country descends into an irreversible state of division.
“Calls for political violence happen somewhat regularly in Third World countries. The United States is not a Third World country,” Kendrick said. “Missouri deserves better. The United States deserves better. This country is severely divided right now, and we need to demand that the elected officials are the ones bridging those divides and not using rhetoric that’s going to continue to fuel the flame.”