If I Spoke to the House

Published: November 22, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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If I were a member of the House of Representatives, here’s what I would’ve said to my colleagues last week.

A member of this body recklessly posted an animated video that depicted them killing another member.

We all know the difference between right and wrong. We all know what action we would take if any of our sons or daughters would post anything on social media that exhibited such reprehensible behavior.

If we do not hold ourselves accountable while we are members of this body, who will?

However, the problem we face is much deeper.

For too long now, manners and customs of decorum and respect have been ignored in this House. For too long, too many choose intolerance over respect, recklessness over duty not only to our constituents but the country we are here to serve.

We’re supposed to be better than that.

We are the United States House Representatives duly elected and charged with working to solve issues important to all American people. Despite our differences, we are charged with being an example of unity and leadership.

What happened to that unity?

There was a moment, not long ago, where we became that example, where we all stood together.

The images on C-Span on the evening of September 11, 2001, were shaky, much like those of us standing on the steps of the Capitol that day, much like the entire country was that day.

After the attacks against our institutions and ourselves, Senators and Representatives, Republicans and Democrats, and Independents stood on the steps of the Capitol that showed the best we could be. In that moment of unanimity and resolve, we showed the country and the world that we would not be defeated. It was a moment to remember.

We are now faced with another moment to express our commitment to this Democratic Republic by standing together and showing what we stand for:

That we will not be defeated by division and discord but be the example of unity and leadership that is called for.

Who among us will have the courage to change?

Who will step forward, redirect our purpose, and steer us away from division and return us to reason?

Who will lead us back into the light of decency and democracy?

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