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Chris Rainwater: Enough is enough America

I may have to make an appointment to see my physician for ever-worsening pain in my jaw resulting from so many jaw-dropping incidents of gross incivility and violence in American culture today. In the last few weeks, I’ve watched and/or read about incidents in our great country that truly cause me to gasp in disbelief.

In Kentucky, a 16-year-old girl assaulted a fellow student who dared to wear a “Make America Great Again” hat. She was arrested after also assaulting her English teacher who tried to intervene to protect the student who was assaulted initially.

In San Antonio, an adult who similarly attacked a high school student dining at a burger place and who threw a drink in the teen’s face and left with his MAGA hat was indicted for his violent actions.

In California, Rep. Maxine Waters openly called on those who oppose the President to physically confront officials in his administration wherever they find them — a call to commit actions that invariably lead to more violence.

I’ve been relatively active in our great democratic experiment since Ronald Reagan was elected. I’ve never missed a vote. Even while serving in the military in the Middle East and Europe, I cast my ballots.

I’ve always been keen to study and understand the issues, know the candidates’ positions, ask questions and yes, write about disagreements with elected officials when I disagreed with them. But in all of the years that I’ve been a participant in our system, I’ve never seen such unacceptable behavior committed in the name of opposition to the president/party in power.

There will always be a party in power — the majority — and a party in opposition —the minority. Our Republic is designed to encourage debate and discussion, and the final resolution of issues is ultimately determined at the polls.

Those in the opposition have the complete right to peaceful protests, and I am encouraged by such protests — a healthy American tradition. None of us — not a single American — has the right to turn to violence as a tool of protest. Violence in any form degrades our culture and is ultimately destructive to our representative form of government.

I’m getting a little older, and so perhaps, I’ve crossed over into the category of “old fashioned”; however, I still believe that respect for the office, if not the officeholder, is appropriate. I still maintain that being an informed voter and voting is the best way to make a difference in our society.

When I disagree with officials from my own party, I waste no time in making them aware of my position through calling and/or writing them. Those citizens who support candidates and positions different from mine aren’t my enemies; they’re my fellow citizens and are worthy of respect.

All of us have a duty to promote a civil and intelligent discourse on the issues that define our lives. The all too familiar refrain that “He started it” is childish and beneath the dignity of an intelligent and mature electorate.

Surely, there is plenty of blame to go around regardless of one’s political views. Instead of blame, let’s make deliberate decisions to de-escalate the rhetoric, lessen the opportunities for violence and help to restore a civil discussion that truly lends itself to a more perfect union.

Chris Rainwater

Steamboat Springs


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