Suspicious packages addressed to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Time Warner Center (offices to CNN) were intercepted by law enforcement officials, the Secret Service said Wednesday.
Our leaders need to unite against political violence
The acts of terrorism Wednesday targeting CNN, the Clintons and the Obamas are inexcusable and un-American. Unfortunately, they are only the latest in a series of attacks on our political system that seem to have escalated in recent years.
Just more than a week ago, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, received a suspicious letter; earlier this month, President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson were sent ricin (a poison); and more than a year ago, there was an attempted assassination of multiple Republican congressman during a charity baseball practice.
Although these attacks might be predicated on political differences, we need to keep in perspective what this is truly about. These aren’t attacks on Democrats or Republicans; these are attacks on our democracy and our American way of life.
Allowing the conversation to skew toward this being a partisan issue is a grave mistake that will only result in encouraging more rogue actors to threaten the very foundation of our nation. Doing so would give these domestic terrorists an excuse to attempt to push us closer toward a modern civil war, where violence usurps free speech and where fear determines how one votes to make decisions for our collective future.
Talker: Is voter suppression happening in Georgia? Just ask disenfranchised voters
Sign up for Today's Talker newsletter here
This shift has already begun. Just a little more than a decade ago, a terrorist act on American leadership would have been thought to come from a foreign entity, we now automatically assume it to be from a fellow American. We can’t allow this to go any further.
As much as politicians, now less than two weeks away from contentious midterm elections, will make statements like "there is no easy solution to this problem," there really is.
If you want to stop political terrorism in this country, leadership from both sides of the aisle need to put their egos aside, unite and condemn it together — not in separate tweets or news conferences, but actually standing together.
There needs to be a call to end the violence, harassment and threats that have plagued our society since the 2016 presidential election. These calls need to be from the leaders who aren’t lined up on their blue and red teams, but rather as Americans who are simply against what’s going on.
At the end of the day, we can all argue ideas, yell at each other, and vote for what we believe in. The moment we allow political violence to become the new normal and accept it as part of the way we now are, we lose America and everything that makes us great.
Tim Young is a political comedian and author of the book "I Hate Democrats/I Hate Republicans." You can follow him on Twitter: @TimRunsHisMouth.
What our readers are saying
Reader comments taken from Facebook:
This seems like a weird time to still be harboring hostility for the Obamas or the Clintons. Misdirected anger, most likely, as well. Wonder whether it's the same crazy person who sent the package to businessman and Democratic Party donor George Soros on Monday.
— Matthew Farmer
President Donald Trump, Fox News and all other right-wing news media should be held accountable for any domestic terrorist attacks against the Clintons, the Obamas or even Soros.
— John Bertelson
Hard to say what is going on, but whoever sent these didn't know that all these people's mail is checked out before ever getting to the intended person because of this exact scenario. Makes me think it could be all for show, to influence something.
— Marsha Luthenauer
The people who keep insisting this is some kind of Democratic plot to make the poor, misunderstood Republicans look bad need to take a breath and start paying attention to what is really going on in our country.
— Kathy Pease
What others are saying
Vice President Mike Pence, Twitter: "We condemn the attempted attacks against former President Barack Obama, the Clintons, CNN and others. These cowardly actions are despicable and have no place in this country. Grateful for swift response of Secret Service, the FBI and local law enforcement. Those responsible will be brought to justice."
Adam Best, Twitter: "In the past few days people have tried to bomb: the Clintons, the Obamas and George Soros, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was recently confronted by a mob. This is no coincidence, as these are the four biggest targets of dangerous right-wing rhetoric. Conservatives are (probably) going to get someone killed."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, statement: "I stand with all Americans in condemning today’s attempted acts of domestic terrorism. As we continue to learn more, Americans are united in gratitude for the first responders — the Secret Service, the Postal Service and other law enforcement — who protect our leaders and public figures from such unconscionable acts."
Chris Hayes, Twitter: "During a news cycle in which conservatives have been arguing the Democrats are a 'mob,' we've seen ultra right-wing street thugs beat people on the streets of New York and bombs being sent to Soros and the Clintons."
To join the conversations about topics on USA TODAY, email [email protected], comment on Facebook, or use #tellusatoday on Twitter.