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Civility

Let us us hope we never become numb to what real horror, what the real blood of patriots looks like when it’s spilled. — Jon Stewart, Jan. 10, 2011

Maybe it’s inappropriate for me to quote Jon Stewart when we’re still grappling with a national tragedy.  I am not an expert on when its “right” to quote a guy who usually is all about satire.  I do know it’s time to open up more civil dialogue.  Stewart does have a way of sobering us up, putting our thoughts into words and touching some grain of truth, especially when times are tough.

We’ve already highlighted the importance of words and rhetoric in light of the shooting in Arizona on our blog.  I won’t hash over it again, and you’re free to disagree with me which is exactly why America’s awesome.  We can all have different opinions and drive on the same roads, work in the same offices, live in the same neighborhoods and use the same internet.

If nothing else, last weekend’s events might give us pause about the words used with political leaders, staff and with our elected officials.  Unfortunately, this has not yet happened in Nebraska.

State senators on the judiciary committee are working with the state patrol to investigate an email urging them to pass AZ-like legislation.  It was not the body of the email but the signature that disturbed lawmakers and their staff.  

“[W]e shed blood to build this country[,] and we will shed blood to take it back”.  –Andy Schnatz

There are no results in my first two pages of google searches that turns up any famous rhetorician as the source for this, so I will assume it’s the personal thoughts of the author of the email, Andy Schnatz.

The Omaha World Herald says Schnatz, later emailed an apology to state senators, according to Susan Smith of the conservative Nebraskans Advisory Group.  She was defending him since he used to be part of her group, and they worked together on passing the Fremont immigration ordinance.  Apologies can be good.  We’re human and make mistakes, so forgiveness comes with our condition.

However, an apology should not have been necessary in this case because this is not the first time Mr. Schnatz has been confronted about his email signature.  He also sent an email to a citizens’ group over the summer with the same phrase.  They are now working with Chairman Ashford and the proper legal authorities to address the issue.

Nebraskans will not tolerate discourse like Mr. Schnatz’s, who also makes it clear, “We have two battles going on right now, the Muslims and those south of the border.  If our country gets taken away from us, I’ll fight for it.”

There has already been enough bloodshed on American soil since our inception.  Calls for or threats of more bloodshed are unacceptable.  There are so many ways to be politically involved in our country that political violence is an affront to our democratic system.  After the shootings at Westroads, Millard South and now Tucson this weekend, we’re through with even metaphors of violence.

We may not agree on how to move forward with the immigration issue in Nebraska, but this is exactly the wrong way to talk about it.  So please, let’s leave the anger and the vitriol at the door (we’d prefer you didn’t carry it around at all, but we understand everyone has their baggage).  If you can, use facts and statistics to support your position, not pure emotion.  Don’t have a position?  Do some research.  Email us if you need help.

Then maybe, just maybe, we can discuss politics with civility and move our state forward.

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208 S. Burlington Ave., Ste 103, Box 325, Hastings, NE 68901