What Will Last Week’s Shooting Mean for Civility in Washington?

J. Carlisle Larsen/WDET

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.)

Last week, on the day of the shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, we heard from Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) who was there when the shots rang out. He was clearly and understandably very rattled when WDET’s Pat Batcheller spoke with him just an hour after the violence took place. At the end of the conversation, Bishop said something worth noting, beyond his telling of the horrific scene: “This changes everything.”

What will this violence change? Could it be more civility in Washington D.C.? 

Since the moment the shooting happened, Democrats and Republicans have largely presented a united front, one rooted in care on a personal level, rather than vitriol on a political spectrum. At the charity baseball game there were a few strong images that emerged. One of them was a picture of Rep. Bishop hugging another Michigander, Democrat Dan Kildee.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.) wrote about civility in the wake of the shooting for CNN. Kildee joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to talk about his experience in the past few days and what he thinks will happen moving forward.

I think it demonstrates something that is not well-known,” Kildee says. ”We have relationships across party lines. We don’t celebrate them, they’re not open, and they’re certainly not the subject of much news coverage because it’s not interesting.” 

Kildee says lately the differences between the political parties are being emphasized and magnified. And to a certain extent, he adds, it’s the political parties who are the ones exploiting these differences for short term gain.

He hopes at least one thing will change — Democrats will call out Democrats, and Republicans will call out Republicans when their party crosses the line and gets too outrageous. 

Kildee says that whether or not this incident is a turing point will be determined by individuals choosing to work at it and not just wait for it. He say it will not happen naturally. 

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation. 

Image credit: Dan Kildee

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Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


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